The Value of Research & Development in Precision Machining
Making a part for the first time is always exciting. Anytime our team has the opportunity to create something original, step outside our comfort zone, and build new skills, we’re up for the challenge!
But diving into a new project doesn’t mean going in unprepared. To ensure that every customer order results in top-quality parts, we perform intensive research and development to help us gather as much information as possible before machining even begins.
Our Research and Development Process
There’s a reason customers come to Peerless Precision for new and complex parts, and it’s not just because we excel at holding extremely tight tolerances. We’re also committed to figuring out the intricacies of every part we make. Our thorough R&D process goes from conception to completion:
The true success of a CNC machining program relies heavily on the preparation completed beforehand. This preparation involves defining operations, sequencing machining orders, and performing all the necessary calculations to make sure parts are machined correctly.
At Peerless Precision, we don’t stop until the CNC programming is right—because when the programming is off, the project is doomed to fail.
Whether your part requires aluminum, stainless steel, titanium, or something more exotic, we’re committed to doing all the necessary research to tackle the job. From studying material properties to experimenting with different feeds, speeds, and tooling, we learn everything we can about any new material we’ll be working with.
The smaller and more complex the part, the more internal research and development is necessary for precision machining. Customers looking for aerospace machining services often come to us for mixed assemblies, which require the utmost precision.
For example, we’re uniquely equipped to machine piston and sleeve assemblies and valve and sleeve assemblies to the tight diametrical clearances required for fuel injection systems in airplanes and helicopters. The stakes are high for these projects because if the tolerances are off by just one millionth of an inch, the engine could fail.
But thanks to our thorough research and development process, we’re prepared to machine these assemblies to spec with scrupulous precision.
Take our longtime customer, who had an issue with the pin and sleeve matched sets that they were receiving from another supplier. None of the pins and sleeves had the match fit that the customer had called out on their specifications, so the engineer was stuck sanding them down at their desk to make them fit.
When the engineer was referred to Peerless, we asked them to send us the pin and sleeve sets that were not matching: not only did we bring them to spec through honing and match lapping, we ensured that all the pin and sleeve sets were interchangeable.
Additionally, we offered to make 10 interchangeable sample sets from scratch. If the parts worked for the customer, only then would we bill them for the parts. We were willing to take the risk because we knew we could deliver exactly what the customer wanted—no additional sanding required. Thanks to our diligent R&D process and precision machining capabilities, all 10 sets matched perfectly and were within tolerance range. Now if something happens to either component, the customer can easily pull a replacement from stock, confident that the pin will fit the sleeve and vice versa.
Once we have a clear idea of how to machine your part, we then build it out for confirmation. Our top-of-the-line machines and inspection equipment ensure we’re holding tolerances to spec and meeting all quality requirements. We’re also AS9100D and ISO 9001:2015 certified, so you can be certain that we’re in compliance with the most exacting industry standards.
Research and development starts before machining begins and continues until after it’s finished. The final phase of the R&D process is testing to ensure we’re handing over a high quality part that functions flawlessly.
When proving out a new concept, we make several parts in our Massachusetts machine shop specifically for testing. (Don’t worry, we never charge customers for these extra parts!) We then test the parts for consistency and functionality using our in-house inspection equipment.
We’re always willing to go the extra mile for customers, no matter what level of testing they require. Take the pin test we developed for the coldfinger weldments we manufacture for another customer. We machined a pin gauge, then worked together with the customer to design a drop test. To pass the test, the pin gauge needed to drop down the sleeve shaft freely, without touching any sides. We perform the pin test before parts leave our shop, and our customer performs the pin test once parts arrive onsite. We check in every 6 months to reevaluate the function of the pin gauge and recalibrate it if necessary.
Research and development should be a given every time a manufacturer makes a part for the first time. The key is to find a shop that goes above and beyond your expectations to ensure they get it right.
Trust Peerless Precision to put in the work. Request a quote today to get started.