Categories
CNC Machining

Metal Prototype Machining and Other Options

Simply put, prototype machining produces a small number of parts before generating a bigger batch. Most businesses opt for prototype machining for appearance and testing purposes.

The former checks how the part will look after production, while the latter is more concerned about the performance of the part and whether it will perform its intended purpose.

To get a reliable turnaround, you need precision capabilities. Getting a dedicated business to handle such precision is no walk in the park because talk is cheap. At Glenn Metalcraft Inc., we provide unmatched prototype designs that give you a high ROI.

What is a prototype? 

A prototype is an early version of a product that is created to test its concept and performance. Ideally, you can’t produce a part in large quantities before testing it, and the best way to do it is through prototyping.

A prototype allows you to evaluate a product and improve its accuracy, quality, and design. Prototypes often fail during testing, and it’s usually a good gesture because designers can detect defects early, correct them, and produce a reliable final product.

When are prototypes used? 

Prototypes come in handy during the design process. Industrial engineers can test products through prototypes before they can begin mass production. Additionally, prototyping can be used to evaluate an existing design or product and improve its precision.

Most of the time, theoretical tests don’t provide real-life solutions. As a business, the only way to stand out and serve your clients beyond expectations is to ensure your product is well-tested in the design stage. 

Through prototyping, errors in the final product are not passed directly to consumers. The process is also cost-effective for businesses.

The prototyping process

The prototype machining process provides quick feedback to the engineers on the performance of the design. Through feedback, the engineers can go back to the drawing table, improve the prototype, and have an effective final product.

However, the prototyping process has some crucial steps to obtaining optimum performance. They include:

Design review

The first step engineers undertake is to review the design using a 3D CAD system in molding. At this stage, engineers can get an insight into the most efficient design features and make adjustments before the model is produced.

Engineers can plan and ensure that every prototype can be produced efficiently on a large scale because some prototypes are difficult for mass production.

Creating a 3d model

Creative company professional digital engineer modeling 3D mesh while improving geometry. Asset creator optimising polygon count while using CAD

After engineers have correctly mapped the design review process, the next step is to create a 3D model. The molded prototype is then sent to a machine shop for production using a CAM program.

Engineering the prototype

The last step is to engineer the prototype. CNC prototyping can be used in this process; however, it’s not cost-effective compared to 3D printing, especially if you need to cut expenses in the prototyping stage.

The design roars to life after the prototype is finally produced. After that, the prototype can be put into mass production.

Benefits of prototyping

Different prototype parts play different roles, all in harmony to have an efficient final product. A lot goes on during the product development stages, and we can’t truly appreciate prototyping without listing its benefits. They include:

  1. You get to receive feedback from end users, such as customers
  2. You get to discover design problems early and correct them.
  3. You get a precise estimate of the production cost
  4. You’re able to test and determine if the product is durable
  5. You can improve the product
  6. You can raise funds and find investors because you have a working prototype to demonstrate.

What are the advantages of metal prototypes? 

Metal Prototype Machining

Metal prototypes are made using metal manufacturing techniques such as CNC machining, sheet metal forming, and casting. Although you can use plastics for prototypes, metal is preferred because it closely mimics the final products.

Some of the advantages of using metal prototypes include the following:

  • You get better functional and mechanical performance
  • You get precise, accurate testing
  • You get better aesthetics
  • You get a higher chance of convincing an investor
  • It’s easier to move to the next phase, which is the production

What methods are available for making metal prototypes?

The available methods for making metal prototypes differ in mechanical results achieved, costs incurred, and the time taken in production. To get a better glimpse, we will take a look at some of the methods.

Metal machining

CNC machining uses instructions from a computer to cut a metal block. The method is relatively affordable because you can make duplicates easily or share the design with other parties. However, the subtractive nature of the prototype machining process leads to material wastage.

3D printing

3D printing, just like CNC machining, uses design input from a computer. The 3D-printed prototypes stand out from the rest because of their complex features, especially in the internal sections. In addition, you also get the design at a low cost, although the surface finish may not be impressive.

Metal casting

During metal casting, you pour hot liquid metal inside a mold. When the mold cools down, it becomes a part. Metal casting parts are solid and high quality, but quality comes at a price. You require specialist equipment, which is quite expensive.

Get the best metal prototyping services.

Getting the right shop for prototype machining can be a daunting challenge. At Glenn Metalcraft Inc., the expertise gained since 1947 will provide you with prototype designs forged on quality. Contact us today.

In addition, we have extended services offered by our parent company, Elemet Group, at your disposal.

Categories
CNC Machining

High Precision Machining Methods Ensure High Quality Parts

At its bare bones, machining removes excess raw material from a bar stock, typically metal. High-precision machining uses high-performance cutting tools combined with sophisticated software and engineering talent to achieve highly accurate levels of machining.

Modern tools with incredibly tight tolerances reach mind-blowing limits of design feature creation. The materials used in these precise machining processes allow engineers to produce parts that meet specifications and tolerances. These high tolerance levels make high-precision machining stand out from every other machining process.

Learn more about high-precision machining methods from Glenn Metalcraft. The company is a leader in the precision machining industry.

Their collection of modern tools uses the latest software, and the manufacturing atmosphere is regulated to enable the production of precise prototypes and production parts. Some high-tech machining methods include robotic welding, metal spinning, cutting, and other machining tools in their extreme heavy metal spinning processes.

High precision manufacturing process

Defining High Precision in Machining

High-precision machining is critical in developing most machines, equipment, and parts today. In principle and execution, the process must ensure machined parts meet specifications and fit precisely. The quality of the machined parts forms the core parts of the process – perhaps even more important than the speed and volume of production and costs.

Modern CNC technology in high-precision machining has significantly evolved over the past decade. The industrial engineering tools required to produce high-precision parts use advanced software and are produced using ultra-precise tools. These machines follow particular engineering blueprints made using computer-aided design or manufacturing (CAD or CAM) programs such as TurboCAD and AutoCAD.

The sophistication of modern-day CNC and other high-precision machining tools makes it easy to produce parts by feeding the machine with a ready-design blueprint. The blueprints are typically 3-dimensional diagrams or outlines of the tools, parts, or objects to be machined. In some cases, engineers can feed hand-drawn sketches and rough designs of precision parts directly into the machine and still produce exact details.

Tools Used in High Precision Machining

Tools Used in High-Precision Machining

There are various types of milling and cutting tools used in precision machining. These tools are designed and made to meet strict tolerance stress resistance requirements.

The most common tools used in precision machining today are:

Modern precision machining is done using a heavy CNC machine. CNC stands for computerized numerical control. As the name hints, this is a computerized manufacturing process that uses programmable software and code to control the movement of machining tools. It is because of the computerization of the process that modern precision machining can produce high-precision results.

Common Applications of High-Precision Machining?

The subtractive process of precision machining is used to create a wide range of items, products, and parts from different materials. Since the parts require strict tolerance ranges, there is no room for error. The components of small and large objects we rely on in our day-to-day lives are prototyped and produced through precise processes.

Products, parts, and components that need incredibly tight tolerances are the driving forces for precision machining. The process of precision engineering and machining ensures that only parts that meet the set manufacturing tolerances are produced.

CNC high-precision engineering is also used to repair tools and components that wear out over time. For instance, machine components with moveable parts may wear out and get loose over time. Engineers may use re-calibration, welding, and grooving processes to restore the parts to their original state.

Another common application of high-precision engineering is producing automated production lines and test fixtures. This application is more prevalent in the electronics, medical machine production, and automotive assembly industries.

Quality Inspections on High Precision Machining Methods

Quality Inspections on High-Precision Machining Methods

The primary reason to choose CNC high-precision machining is that it ensures high productivity and fewer errors than traditional machining. However, despite the system’s reliability and processes, quality inspection is still a necessary part of the process. Engineers must carry out inspection and quality control at all stages of the machining process.

There are three quality inspection levels in the production process:

  1. Checking machine tool accuracy – This includes optimizing the accuracy and centering of the machining tool. It also covers testing other tool parameters, such as the orientation of the axis and spindle.
  2. Testing part or product size and position – This test also includes checking geometric and dimensional tolerances and may vary based on the requirements of the tool or application.
  3. Monitoring and controlling the machining process to avoid errors – Many factors can influence the precision and accuracy of the machining process. Process monitoring must be carried out at every stage of the product lifecycle, from ideation and design to prototyping and mass production.

Note that quality control and inspection differ from quality assurance in machining. The latter refers to the efficiency of the quality inspection set by the company carrying out the machining process. Quality assurance often includes external non-machining factors such as related documents and product delivery.

 

What to do to Ensure Quality Precision Machining

Here are five critical things every engineer, designer, or company must do to ensure quality high-precision machining:

  1. Choose the best precision machining tools for the job at hand
  2. Use the right high-precision machining methods for the part
  3. Set and maintain a quality assurance system at every stage of production
  4. Establish tight tolerances in all operations from design to machining
  5. Check the raw materials before beginning the machining process

Get the Highest Quality Parts

The rapid evolution of CNC high-precision machining technologies has empowered manufacturers to put higher precision requirements for their prototypes and products in place. In recent years, the machining industry has been developing faster, making it possible for anyone with design software to access high-precision machining wherever they are.

Are you interested in high-precision machining? Need a prototype or a full production run that would benefit from high-precision machining methods? If so, go to GleenMetalcraft.com to get the right answers from the experts.

Categories
Plasma Arc Machining

What are the Typical Applications of Plasma Arc Machining?

Plasma Arc Machining (PAM) can sound so alien and sophisticated to those who do not know what it means. However, it is a simple process that began in the 1960s to use less energy for arc welding. 

PAM has revolutionized the material used in arc welding over time. It also has a host of other advantages that other processes lack. For instance, it can be used with almost all types of metals and requires less energy and maintenance, among other benefits. This article discusses the benefits and limitations of PAM and its applications.

What is Plasma Arc Machining?

Plasma Arc Machining (PAM) refers to a process that uses a high-velocity jet of high-temperature gas to melt and displace material on its path. It involves metal cutting with a plasma arc or tungsten inert gas arc torch. This torch produces a high-velocity jet of high-temperature ionized gas that cuts metal and removes material from the workpiece. The material you work on with the PAM is called the workpiece.

The temperature in the plasma zone range from 11000 to 28000℃ (20000 to 50000 F). PAM is occasionally used as an alternative oxyfuel gas cutting process that melts and vaporizes metals using high temperature electric arcing. 

Depending on the material you are using, various gases can be used. The most common gases used are Nitrogen and Hydrogen. However, other types of gases can be used in Plasma Arc Machining. For superior machining and metal cutting services, you can contact Glenn Metalcraft Inc today.

Construction of PAM

CNC PAM

Plasma Arc Machining consists of a plasma gun. This gun has an electrode made up of tungsten situated in the chamber. This tungsten electrode is then connected to a negative terminal of the DC power supply. 

Hence, the tungsten acts as a cathode while the positive terminal of the DC power supply is connected to the nozzle. The nozzle of the plasma gun then acts as an anode.

Advantages of PAM

There are various reasons why Plasma Arc Machining stands out among its peers, and here are some of the reasons.

  1. Its ability to cut different types of metal materials makes it unique. While steel and aluminum are the commonly used metals, other tough and delicate metals are perfect for PAM.
  2. Using high-velocity gas allows the machine to eat away the material that should be cut and is not as hard on the machine as it would be on others. Importantly, since it uses gas, there is no actual contact between the actual plasma gun and the workpiece itself.
  3. The use of PAM results in more experienced and skilled workers who will find that their productivity and accuracy have increased due to the use of this tool.
  4. PAM has a cleaner operating style and uses almost no chemicals to operate. This makes it much safer to handle by the workers since there are no harsh chemicals that can jeopardize a worker’s well-being.
  5. Plasma arc machining requires less maintenance compared to similar tools that need regular and costly maintenance. This is because it does not create a ton of extra debris or get damaged by the chemicals used.
  6. Although expensive, plasma arc machining requires less energy to conduct operations, which means it is cost-effective in the long run. Its high-temperature gas allows it to work on more materials without extra effort.

Disadvantages of PAM

For everything that has advantages, it must have its disadvantages. Here are some of the limitations that bound plasma arc machining.

1) It is complicated to use thereby limiting the number of workers trained. The fact that it is expensive to acquire PAM limits the number of persons who can use it and get an acceptable return on investment. Additionally, the need for extra training limits the number of workers able to use these machines.

2) Plasma Arc Machining is not ideal for larger jobs. This is because it has high gas consumption rates despite increasing workers’ productivity. As such, it requires the purchase of additional gas.

3) The bulkiness of the machine often gets in the way of the worker, making it hard for them to see where the plasma arc is cutting. This greatly impairs the resulting products leading to losses in some instances.

4) The gas fumes and the high temperature used in the process can damage the workpiece, leading to losses in some instances, as well.

The Industrial Applications of PAM

PAM Industrial Uses - Plasma Arc Machining

  1. a) It is used for profile cutting.
  2. b) It is used for turning and milling hard to machines materials.
  3. c) It is used for cutting alloy steels, stainless steel, titanium, copper, cast iron, nickel, aluminum, and alloys of copper and nickel.
  4. d) It is also used in uniform thin film spraying of refractory materials on different metals, plastics, and ceramics.

Call on PAM

Plasma Arc Machining is an ideal metal cutting process that uses less energy to do more. It is also characterized by increasing the efficiency of workers. 

So are you in search of machining or metal cutting services? Look no more; Glenn Metalcraft Inc. has got you covered. Contact us today to inquire about the services we are offering.

Categories
CNC Machining Welding

TYPES OF MACHINING EQUIPMENT — A QUICK TOUR

Machining is the art of processing metal, wood, ceramic, or plastic into products of the desired shape, weight, density, and length. However, most industries limit the use of this term to mean producing metal products of different shapes and sizes to suit various industrial needs. In this blog, we’ll be introducing to you the types of machining equipment as well as their processes.

Numerous products can be produced through machining, including automotive parts, bolts, screws, nails, rails, metal rods, and frames. These products are essential in various industries, such as the automotive and construction industries.

Types of machining processes

There are many types of machined components produced from different machining processes. However, modern engineers have adopted five main types of machining to summarize the entire lot. These are:

Drilling 

Drilling refers to making holes into metallic products. This is common on products such as rails that have to be fitted together using a screw. Drilling is also performed on bolts and nuts. Modern machining companies utilize automated systems to drill accurately and effectively according to the client’s demands.

The automotive industry requires a lot of drilling as the manufacturer must fit different car parts together. Heavy-duty construction companies also need a host of drilled materials for construction purposes. You can also think of railway construction companies relying on this technology to create screw gaps in the thick rail system.

Turning

Turning is a machining process that rubs and presses a raw material against a sharp surface, shaving it off. The raw material is spun by an automated tool against a harder material which shaves or cuts it off into the desired shape.

Milling

Milling tools work in almost a similar fashion to drilling tools, only that it works by rotating around the object and shaving it into the desired shape. The object is clamped into a fixed position, and a computer-controlled miller is rotated around it, cutting off the upper layer into the desired pattern.

Welding

Industrial Welder With Torch

In most cases, machining may involve joining two or more pieces of metal together through welding. Welding allows you to craft artifacts of different patterns and shapes and reinforce metal piece connections that bolts and screws cannot.

Cutting

Metals, being super hard, require professional metal cutting tools available at top machining operations centers. This process is essential in trimming down metal sizes into desired lengths and shapes that can fit into different spheres of construction.

Automated machining tools are often programmed with special parts that perform several machining processes simultaneously. This equipment is made up of different machining tools pooled together. Here are common machining tools;

Common machining equipment

Several machining tools are designed to perform various processes. They include:

Turning tools

These tools are designed to grasp the raw material and rotate it against a fixed milling or cutting blade.

Milling tools

Technicians use millers in ingraining patterns against metal surfaces. These are a connection of sharp and hard blades that scrape off the layers of the raw material to a desired shape or pattern. Milling tools are mostly fixed onto the machining robot, but you can get small portable ones for domestic use.

Drilling tools

Drilling tools are essential when making holes on metal surfaces for screws and fittings. A drill should be made up of hard material that can withstand the pressure against the raw material being processed. Drills come with chisels of various diameters allowing you to customize the holes to fit the size of screws at hand.

Cutting tools

Cutting tools are mainly used in construction to finely and accurately cut metals. Automated cutting machines use integrated lasers for precise accuracy in high-tech metal products.

Boring tools

Boring is the process of enlarging already drilled holes. This is often done whenever there is a need to use larger and more robust screws to secure the joints. Sometimes, drilled holes may be of small size and may require enlargement.

Computer numerical control (CNC) machining

types of machining equipment: Technician works on large CNC computer numerical control cutting machine

Most machining processes are repeatable and can be cumbersome if done manually. Computer numerical control (CNC) incorporates computer hardware and programs that perform repeated commands several times. CNC also enhances the accuracy and efficiency of machining processes while reducing waste in raw materials and the workforce.

Hybrid CNC machines can be manually or automatically operated, ensuring continuous processing even if the system is down. Additionally, these machines are fitted with all machining tools and can perform multiple tasks simultaneously, significantly saving time and workforce.

Machining applications

Machining products form the core of industries such as engineering, manufacturing, automobile, and construction, among other sectors. For instance, the petroleum industry requires fine measurements of pipe sizes, hammerheads, drill bits, and structural elements such as beams and rebar. This is why machining has a versatile application accommodating needs from limitless fields. 

Key Takeaway

Machining tools are essential in running the operation of businesses in various sectors. Your business can thrive better if you partner with a reliable machined products supplier in the US. One machined product dealer is Glenn Metalcraft, which supplies various machined components across the United States.

Glenn Metalcraft is part of the Elemet Group and offers various machining services, including drilling, spinning, cutting, and welding. We also offer fabrication and finishing services under our parent group, Elemet Group. Contact us through our website or visit our offices in Princeton, Minnesota, and Fort Worth, Texas.

 

Categories
Uncategorized

Are Your Precision Metal Cutting Needs Ready to be Re-shored?

Precision metal cutting is a challenging process that requires skilled workers, specialized equipment, and cutting-edge technology. In today’s global economy, it’s not uncommon for companies to outsource their precision metal cutting needs to foreign suppliers to save money or meet other business requirements.

However, you might consider re-shoring your precision metal cutting operations back into the United States for several reasons. These may be a desire for better quality control, concerns over rising costs, and mainly due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global supply chain.

The Impact of Covid-19 on Global Shipping

Precision Metal Cutting Needs Ready to be Re-shored: The Impact of Covid-19 on Global Shipping

The impact of Covid-19 has taken a significant hit on the global shipping industry leading to a direct effect on the precision metal cutting industry.

The availability of new ships has reduced drastically due to COVID-19 outbreaks around the world. As a result, vessel capacity has become more limited than ever before – which means that there are fewer available ships for shippers looking to transport their products across oceans.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it considerably impacted container shipping flows and global supply chains.

For example, it reduced the available capacity due to port closures or slowdowns, pressure on equipment availability, possible congestion in specific ports, and extra related costs (such as bunker surcharge).

This can further delay shipments moving through these ports – whether overseas or domestic destinations – making it hard for companies like yours who rely on timely deliveries from overseas partners.

Given that Covid-19 exceptionally hard hit some industries, companies that can source and make their products locally might be in a better position to recover and grow than those in favor of sourcing overseas.

Complexity and Tolerances of Precision Metal Cutting

Many companies choose to re-shore their precision metal cutting needs to keep their costs low and avoid the hassle of managing overseas suppliers. But it’s more than just that.

Knowing the factors determining whether that’s the right decision for you is also essential.

Two main factors determine whether a project is a good fit for re-shoring. The first is complexity, which refers to the number of parts and their interrelationships. If you have a simple task with few unique or interacting parts, it may be possible to find an overseas provider that can do it quickly and cheaply.

On the other hand, if your project has many unique components and tight tolerances, it will take longer and be more difficult for an overseas company to complete without sacrificing quality or efficiency.

The second factor determining whether re-shoring makes sense for your precision metal cutting project is tolerance requirements: how precisely each part needs to perform its function within a given range of acceptable performance (or “tolerance”).

For example, suppose all parts have specifications that are 0.1 mm off from perfect alignment. In that case, any error in manufacturing will translate into errors in assembly, which could lead to a product that won’t work correctly when you install them on-site—and that’s not something you want.

You want to find a company that can handle your project with precision and accuracy—which means having experience working with tight tolerances on parts manufactured overseas.

Supply Chain Issues

Precision Metal Cutting Operation: Supply Chain Issues

If you’ve ever shipped a large order or re-shored your operation, you know how much of a hassle it is dealing with supply chain issues.

These issues can arise from natural disasters, factory closures, and even poor weather conditions. While these things are sometimes unavoidable, they can significantly impact your business if not handled properly.

With offshore manufacturing, there can be longer lead times for parts based on increased shipping time and customs clearance issues. There is also a greater risk for errors due to quality control issues and communication barriers between you and the manufacturer.

Current supply chain issues make it more challenging to find suppliers who can handle overseas large volume orders or smaller domestic ones. Now may be the perfect time to re-shore your precision metal cutting operation. As a result, you will get to serve your customers quickly and more efficiently than ever before.

Quantity Minimums

By re-shoring your precision metal cutting needs, you can avoid the larger quantity minimums often required when dealing with offshore manufacturers to make it worth their time. This is especially beneficial to a small-scale business that is just starting, as it gives them more freedom in terms of budget and capacity.

In addition, by using the services from an onshore manufacturer, you can be sure that they will do your work on time and follow the specifications you set forth.

What Can a Domestic Manufacturer Offer Over a Foreign Manufacturer?

Domestic manufacturers can offer several advantages over foreign manufacturers, including:

  • Faster turnaround time – As a domestic manufacturer, you are closer to your customers and often have shorter delivery times. You also have easy access to the manufacturing facility in case any questions or problems arise during the process.
  • No language barriers – If you need to communicate with your supplier on an ongoing basis, it’s essential that you can speak a common language fluently to prevent misunderstandings between parties. For example, if you call with a question about your product and they can’t understand what you are saying due to their language barrier (or vice versa), this could lead to delays which can negatively impact your bottom line.
  • No shipping delays for metal cutting services- When working with overseas suppliers who aren’t close by, there is usually some delay when shipping products back and forth between countries due mainly to customs issues or exchange rate fluctuations between currencies. This will increase costs significantly as well as affect delivery times which may result in missed deadlines for orders placed by clients who expect quick turnarounds from their suppliers/vendors.

Do You Need a Partner Who Can Deliver a Turnkey Solution?

We are your best option if you need a partner who can deliver a turnkey solution. Glenn Metalcraft provides a one-stop shop for precision metal cutting. We are one of the largest precision metal cutting services providers in the United States, offering our clients speedy turnaround times with high-quality workmanship at competitive prices. Our service includes everything from repair and refurbishing to new production lines for your business needs.

Our highly trained technicians and engineers can easily handle even the most demanding of precise cuts. We offer fully supported rapid turnaround on prototypes and small parts requiring tight tolerances with our in-house precision metal cutting services.

If you need any help with your cutting projects or have questions about what we can do for you, don’t hesitate to call us.

Categories
Welding

What Is a Weldment Fabrication?

Have you ever sought a one-stop metal fabrication shop that offers machining, heavy metal spinning, cutting, welding, fabrication, and finishing services but didn’t know where to look? You’re in the right place. 

Among the wide-ranging metal manufacturing techniques and disciplines is a service referred to as weldment fabrication. Keep reading to find out:

  • What weldment fabrication is
  • Different metal fabrication processes
  • Various types of welding in metal manufacturing
  • List of industries that commonly use welding in their fabrication process

Contact Glenn Metalcraft if you need weldment fabrication services.

What Is Weldment Fabrication?

 

In metal production, welding is the process that applies heat to metal parts and then uses a filler to form a joint. Weldment fabrication is joining two or more metal pieces into one cohesive piece. Having an adequately tested design prototype helps determine the kind of weldment required.

The performance of a welded structure is tested by checking and correcting common faults, such as:

  • Improper metal fusion
  • Porosity in the weld metal
  • Undercutting on the base metal

Typical Metal Fabrication ProcessesAdobeStock 83134625

Raw metal passes through a few operations before the final product is client-ready. For example, before an automobile frame reaches the assembly plant, it typically goes through some, if not all, of the following metal fabrication processes:

  • Cutting freshly-made pieces of metal or pre-shaped bars into desired sections using such items as high-tech laser cutting machinery or plasma torches.
  • Folding sheet metal using a press brake or an auto-robotic bending machine that manipulates it into specific angles for the desired shape.
  • Welding is a process that uses heat application to join metals and separate pieces of sheets or panels.
  • Punching involves sandwiching sheet metal between a die and punch-through to create customized contour shapes or holes, sometimes using a process referred to as nibbling.
  • Shearing utilizes a blade controlled by a squaring arm to create precision cuts on metal materials like iron, steel, aluminum, copper, and bronze.
  • Stamping fabrication uses a die to form intricate shapes, images, or letters on a metal panel, as seen in coins.
  • Casting is where molten metal such as gold, silver, steel, or iron is poured into a pre-formed mold and allowed to solidify into a specified form.

Some fabrication facilities may offer specialized metal finishing services, including blackening, cladding, grinding, plating, and powder coating. They are often the last machining operations based on aesthetics.

Commonly Used Welding Methods in Metal Manufacturing

Welding involves a few moving parts to ensure the longevity, integrity, and aesthetics of a weldment centered on industry codes and standards. Depending on the project, some welding facilities apply high-tech lasers, electromagnets, and microwaves. They may also use a simple torch or forge method.

Although there are numerous welding methods, the four most common include:

  • MIG Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) – utilizes an electric arc to heat metals such as carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and copper to their melting point to form a permanent bond. MIG welding is employed in automobiles’ manufacture, repair, and maintenance.
  • TIG Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) – uses a consumable tungsten electrode, a rigid metal material that doesn’t burn off or dissolve. Because welding TIG also utilizes helium or argon as an external gas supply, it’s primarily applied in the aerospace and automobile industries.
  • Stick Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) – uses a protected welding electrode covered with a thick coating of flux that burns while creating a protective cover between metal pieces. Stick welding is ideal for creating hard surfaces on farm equipment.
  • Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW) – combines a base metal power supply and a continuous hollow flux-filled electrode fed through a welding gun into a weld pool. Given that this type of welding provides exceptional penetration, it’s applied in industrial machining to thick weld steel.welding iron spark fire hot steel with power GMAW welder

Industries That Commonly Use Welding in Their Fabrication Process

Below is a list of industries that rely on welding for their fabrication process:

  • The automotive industry turns to MIG welding to manufacture, assemble, and repair all types of vehicles.
  • Aerospace depends on laser MIG, plasma arc, or electronic welding for manufacturing aircraft and performing precision work during the repair and maintenance of all flying crafts.
  • Infrastructure and construction use plasma arc, shielded, and flux-cored welding for building roads and bridges, including commercial and residential properties.
  • The shipping and railroad industry employs electric arc, gas pressure, and thermite welding processes in constructing, repairing, and maintaining cruise liners, ships, railroad tracks, etc.
  • Manufacturing is another industry that utilizes MIG as a standard welding process to produce computer components, furniture, mining machinery, and agricultural tools.

Final Thoughts

With raw material versatility and the assurance of strength and permanence, welding provides numerous benefits that outweigh other methods for joining or fastening disparate elements.

As you search for metal services minus the inflated costs of doing business with several establishments, consider a one-stop shop like Glenn Metalcraft. We are a full-service shop where you can leverage multiple metal manufacturing solutions under one roof to ensure precision, high quality, and value at competitive rates.

Contact our expert team to ensure your fabrication and welding project is completed according to your standards and specifications.

Categories
CNC Machining

Is It Done Yet – Ceramic Coating vs Powder Coating

The metal production process is incomplete without coating and finishing. The coating serves various important purposes in metals, including improving their functionality and increasing their durability. However, some coating materials perform better than others, and it is important to pick one that satisfies all of your needs and preferences. 

Powder and ceramic are the most popular metal coating materials. Here is an overview of ceramic coating vs powder coating, their pros, cons, and recommended applications. 

As part of the Elemet Group, we at Glenn Metalcraft specialize in extreme heavy metal spinning and other services, including cutting and welding. We partner with the other companies in our group to provide a complete range of metal fabrication services, including powder and e-coating through Minnesota Industrial Coatings. Request an estimate and put our excellent customer service and industry knowledge to work on your next project.

ceramic coated flexographic printing roller

Ceramic Coating 

A ceramic coating uses a clear liquid polymer. Its clear appearance characterizes it – essentially, you can see the metal through the clear coating. Ceramic coating is also characterized by its glossy, shiny appearance, excellent for aesthetic appeal. 

The ceramic coating process utilizes two methods: 

Spray Application 

Large metal parts typically call for the use of the spray application. It entails spraying liquid ceramic onto the metal’s surface. The process involves exposure to temperatures as high as 750 degrees Fahrenheit, and the parts are required to have high heat resistance. 

Dip-Spin Application 

Smaller metal parts are more suited to the dip-spin method. It entails immersing the entire metal part into ceramic liquid, effectively coating its whole surface. The process uses a specially designed bin perforated on the sides and bottom. It also involves exposure to high temperatures. 

Pros 

Some of the most notable benefits of ceramic coating include: 

  • Resistance – Ceramic coating exhibits high resistance against heat and scratching. 
  • Aesthetic Appeal – You can see the metal’s original paint through the clear coating, and its glossy appearance adds a shiny and smooth finish to its overall aesthetic appeal. 
  • Easy Maintenance – Parts coated in ceramic are easier and quicker to repair than parts coated in powder. 
  • Affordable – Ceramic coating is also slightly cheaper than powder coating. 

The most notable benefit of ceramic coating is its high resistance against heat, scratching, corrosion, chipping, and other destructive elements. Ceramic coating can withstand temperatures as high as 3,800 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Cons 

One notable disadvantage of ceramic coating is its limited durability compared to powder coating. Ceramic coating can last for up to five years with the proper care and maintenance. In contrast, powder coating can last for up to 20 years.

When to Use Ceramic Coating 

Ceramic coating is recommended for use under varying circumstances. Most notably, it is an ideal option if you are on a restricted budget and your part has a short lifespan, as it is cheaper than powder coating. 

Ceramic coating is also recommended if the metal being coated will be frequently exposed to harsh elements such as heat and corrosion, thanks to the ceramic’s high resistance against such elements. Ultimately, your choice of whether to use ceramic coating will depend on your needs and preferences. 

powder coating line conveyer with parts hanging

Powder Coating 

Powder coating uses polymer resins and various pigments. The materials are heated, melted, cooled, and then crushed into the final coating powder. Electrically charging the powder makes it ready to stick to the metal’s surface. The powder is then sprayed onto the metal using compressed air and cured. 

Powder coatings are cured under temperatures between 350 and 425 degrees Fahrenheit. It is also worth noting that the surface preparation process entails cleaning the metal using chemicals to make it compatible with the electrostatic painting

Pros 

Some of the most notable benefits of powder coating include: 

  • Durability Powder coating can last for up to 20 years with the proper care and maintenance. 
  • Resistance – Powder coating is also resistant to destructive elements such as heat, water, humidity, UV rays, and chemicals. 
  • Aesthetical Appeal – Powder coating also comes in many textures, colors, and styles, making for a vibrant, luxurious aesthetic appeal. 

The most notable benefit of powder coating is its durability. The coating is resistant to heat, chemicals, and physical impacts, and it can maintain its glossy appearance for up to 20 years. The coating also helps protect the metal from these and other destructive elements, increasing their durability exponentially. 

Cons 

Powder coating can be slightly more expensive than ceramic coating, and it may pose more challenges during repairs. However, its high durability offsets the extra cost. 

When to Use Powder Coating 

Powder coating is an excellent option and is especially recommendable for its durability, as it can last for up to 15 years longer than ceramic coating. It is also perfect for aesthetic appeal as it comes in many colors and textures – you can also paint over the coating. It is also worth noting that powder coating is popular for use with used metals. 

a pile of blue powder coated metal ring components

Ceramic Coating vs Powder Coating Done Right 

Now that you understand the differences between ceramic and powder coating, you are ready to start your next project. Glenn Metalcraft Inc. provides the best manufacturing solutions from the first cut through finishing and the final coating via Minnesota Industrial Coatings. Get in touch today to learn more about our services.

Categories
Laser Cutting

Fixes for Common Problems With Stainless Steel Laser Cutting

Laser cutting machines have come a long way since they first became available for commercial use. The current ones can easily adjust their operating parameters and cut through medium and thick plates of steel alloys like carbon steel. Even then, it’s not a guarantee that the laser will do a good job. 

Let’s take a look at some of these problems and their solutions. When you need help with your laser cutting or other metal fabrication projects, contact the experienced team, ready to help, at Glenn Metalcraft

stainless steel laser cutting control station buttons

Unfamiliarity With Cutting Parameters

Laser cutting is markedly different from plasma cutting. Five factors determine how the machine will cut the stainless steel for sheet metal fabrication. They include:

  • Beam focus
  • Beam power
  • Gas feed rate
  • Gas pressure
  • Nozzle alignment

Modern machines are advanced enough to control the laser beam characteristics. The beam focus and power are crucial for cutting different types of steel alloys with diverse strengths, thicknesses, and grades.

The operating technicians will need to check on the other parameters, depending on the laser used. These include the centering of the nozzle, beam delivery system, and alignment. 

Getting a good cut implies taking into context all the factors and adjusting them according to the material you are attempting to cut. While imperfections during steel fabrication are normal, it doesn’t mean you should tolerate them. Instead, familiarize yourself with the cutting parameters. 

Being oblivious of these cutting parameters produces sheet metal with imperfections that could become costly. 

Problems Brought About by Mixed Characteristics

While getting the right mix to these parameters is not exactly a science, they have to be in the right proportions; otherwise, various issues will arise. Stainless steel laser cutting is all about striking the right balance between the material heated by the laser beam and the gas flowing through the cut. 

If not done right, the following common issues may appear.

stainless steel laser cutting closeup

Large Heat Affected Zones

Cutting metal requires energy, which converts to heat during the cutting process. By using a laser beam, heat is the medium for cutting steel. Since steel is a good heat conductor, the heat transmits away from the point of contact between the laser and the metal. 

A zone forms between the melted metal and the unaffected one during the process. In this area, the microstructure and metal strength are compromised. A large heat-affected zone (HAZ) signifies having a large area of potential weakness. 

While laser cutting has the smallest heat-affected zone of all methods used to cut steel, it doesn’t eliminate the problem. The adequate gas flow between the cut and additional cooling can help reduce the formation of an HAZ.

Striation

Striations are periodic lines that pop up on the surface of a cut in waves. They are undesirable as they affect the final products‘ appearance, surface roughness, and precision. The formation of striations results from the melting and cooling process when the type of gas can influence the cutting method in use. 

It’s impossible to get rid of striations, but decreasing them to a minimal size is possible. You can reduce striations by having a moderately adequate cutting speed. The minor temperature variation provides an almost even heating and melting phase.

Burr Formation

Burrs are created as a laser cuts through the metal by melting the portion it is going over. The gas then pushes the molten metal from between the kerf, solidifying it under the sheet metal. 

Burr formation is impacted by several things, including the sheet metal’s thickness and the type of gas employed. If using nitrogen, the beam is solely responsible for all the energy to melt the metal. Instead of utilizing oxygen, the gas interacts with the heated metal, resulting in an exothermic reaction. This brings about more heat, adding to burr formation.

Though melting the metal is the mechanism for cutting it, regulating the gas pressure is vital to ensuring a high-quality cut. Excess gas pressure is responsible for burr formation and the reason why when using oxygen, gas pressure is lower. 

oxygen pressure gauge regulator monitor for laser cutting machine

Considerations When Using Oxygen 

You have to consider several things if you decide to cut carbon steel using oxygen. This is because oxygen results in an exothermic reaction, and the purity level becomes an influencing factor. Purity above 99.95% indicates that you can significantly increase cutting speed and improve production statistics.

The problem comes in when the purity drops, mostly when changing cylinders or switching to one with impurities such as Argon. When you introduce the new gas to the process, you have to change the controlled exothermic process, and the outcome is a reduction in cutting performance. 

Looking For Innovative Solutions To Your Manufacturing Problems?

Then you’ve come to the right place. At Glenn Metalcraft, we specialize in precision metal works such as heavy gauge metal spinning, laser cutting, and plasma cutting. Request an estimate and see how we can partner to solve your metal fabrication problems. 

Categories
Uncategorized

How to Paint Over Powder Coat

For durable and lasting protection of metal surfaces, powder coating is an excellent choice. The convenient alternative to traditional paint looks good and protects against the elements, along with wear and tear. 

Even though powder coating provides a beautiful, stylish surface, it does wear down over time. That might leave you wondering how to paint over powder coat and whether you should.

It’s possible to paint over a powder-coated surface, but there are some key details to keep in mind before you try. The good news is that this article will tell you what you need to know. Contact us for all your metal fabrication needs, including powder coat finishing.

What Is Powder Coat?

First, you need to understand what powder coat is and how it’s different from liquid paint. To start, you need to know what you’re working with to get a good result.

While powder coating provides a finish resembling a fine paint job, it’s not the same

The coating uses a fine powder made up of pigment and other compounds to adhere the pigment to the metal. The glossy finish is resistant to chemicals, wear, and chipping, which is ideal for durability.

It also means that a powder-coated surface is tricky to paint over.

technician showing how to paint over powder coat

Challenges to Painting Over Powder Coat

The strengths of powder coating are what make it a challenge to cover with liquid paint and other traditional pigments. The combination of process and the components in the powder coat creates a very slick surface.

Of course, if almost nothing will stick to it, most paint will not adhere to the surface easily either.

Another issue to keep in mind is the condition of the metal underneath the powder coating. Powder coating helps prevent environmental stresses, but it doesn’t eliminate them. 

Over time, different areas of the powder-coating may wear away, but the process can be uneven. As a result, oxidation can attack the metal underneath, creating a surface that won’t cooperate with paint.

How to Paint Over Powder Coat Properly

The best option is to take your powder-coated metal to a qualified professional, who will approach the issue with a few key guidelines. If the coating is completely intact, the technician will lightly sand it. This creates a rougher surface to which the paint can adhere.

If the powder coating has worn away in some places but not in others, the technician may go ahead and sand off the coating entirely. This ensures a consistent surface for the paint application.

If areas of the underlying metal are oxidized, the technician makes sure to get rid of all rust before moving forward. Rust will continue eating away at the metal underneath the paint, increasing the risk of flaking and chipping.

powder coat samples on metal plates

Find Out More About Powder Coating and Other Finishing Options

If you want to spruce up your powder-coated metal, there are a few different approaches you can take. Painting over the coating is one option, but it requires a lot of additional work to get the best results.

If you’re unsure of whether painting is your best option or if there might be other affordable methods to protect your metal, Glenn Metalcraft can help you decide on the right course of action. 

At Glenn Metalcraft, our mission is to provide innovative, single-source solutions. Check out the rest of our site for more solutions, or reach out to us to find out how we can help.

Categories
CNC Machining

How to Overcome Precision CNC Machining Challenges

At Glenn Metalcraft Inc, we take pride in serving the OEM industry under the direction of our parent company, Elemet Group. We have the privilege of working alongside other companies in the Group that specialize in a variety of manufacturing processes, including precision CNC machining.

Glenn Metalcraft is unique. We are one of the only companies well-versed in precision CNC spinning. The acronym CNC stands for computer numerical control, a method for automating control of machine tools through microcomputer software located in the tool. 

Precision CNC spinning is an extremely effective and accurate way to approach metal fabrication projects. As with any approach, CNC spinning presents challenges. However, these challenges are also solvable. We have composed a list of possible challenges and remedies that you may face when utilizing CNC machining. 

If you have a project in mind and want to take advantage of our efficient and accurate technique, fill out an estimate request now for a free consultation.

5 Common Challenges of Precision CNC Machining 

The most common issues with machined parts arise with improper maintenance and usage. Below are 5 of the most common errors you may encounter when using CNC machinery. 

1. Applying Wrong Settings and Tools 

Using an inappropriate cutting tool or setting will present challenges and errors. If the cutting tool is not sharp and there is not an appropriate cutting coolant used, a poor surface finish will result. Additionally, this causes a cutter mark on your material and unnecessary wear on your tool. 

Damages occur when the machine settings are wrong. When the feed rate is too high, rough edges and marks appear on your piece. Setting the feed rate too low will burn your workpiece. Wrong settings may even burn your tools. 

2. Machine Vibrating and Chattering 

CNC Machine vibration and chatter are related to tools and settings. If your CNC machine is vibrating or chattering, something needs changing. When the issue goes unfixed, tools will lose durability, the accuracy of dimensions will be affected, and the quality of the workpiece will diminish. 

rack of different metal tube profiles

3. Choosing Inappropriate Raw Material 

The material chosen for your project is an important factor. Some machinists will have an easier time working with certain metals. Moreover, some materials require certain strengths when used for specific functions. 

Each metal responds differently to CNC machining. Some metals need extra steps to produce high-quality products, such as deburring. Note how CNC machining affects different metals and parts. 

If you do not take time to consider what metals are best for your project, you may face avoidable issues had you used a different type of material. 

4. Processing and Programming Data 

CNC machining relies on software. This software can easily affect a machine’s performance. Sometimes, issues may arise when the computer software is not productively communicating with the device. For example, the software may dictate machine instructions too slowly. 

CNC machines are programmed and have a programming language. Lack of knowledge of coding and programming data will lead to errors in production and problems with the machines. 

5. Purchasing and Repairing CNC Machines 

CNC machines are expensive and require a hefty investment. CNC machine repairs are also costly. The machines are notoriously complex and require specific mechanical and programming knowledge to repair. The knowledge required takes years to develop and does not come easily.

metal part being fabricated using precision CNC machining

Remedies for Common Precision CNC Machining Challenges

Fortunately, each challenge has a corresponding remedy. Most of the solutions require educating yourself on how CNC machinery works. Knowledge will allow you to take preventive measures to avoid precision CNC spinning errors. 

Deal with Setting and Tools 

Setting and Tool issues are relatively easy to fix. Consider the following solutions: 

  • Examine the material and decide what tool and setting is appropriate 
  • If a tool is blunt, replace the tool with a sharpened tool 
  • Examine the tool type and adjust the settings accordingly 

Listen for Chatter and Vibration 

When these noises appear, something is wrong. Check these areas if you notice chattering or vibrating: 

  • Adjust the RPM 
  • Use tool holders that are balanced 
  • Check if there is enough lubricant 
  •  Look at CNC machine part positioning
  • Check hydraulic pump and pressure 

Know the Correct Material to Use 

Knowing your metals will help you avoid issues linked to the material. To avoid issues: 

  • Know what material you and your staff can machine well 
  • Know the project 
  • Consider what material will be most efficient based on part function 

technician programming precision CNC machine

Address Process and Program Issues 

Processing and programming pitfalls are not easy for new operators to address. An experienced operator that knows coding is best at fixing data issues. However, there are some steps you can take yourself: 

  • Make sure the machine is aligned mechanically 
  • Try turning off the machine and reboot 
  • Technical upgrades
  • Invest in programming training 

The most beneficial fix for an ineffective CNC machine is to upgrade hardware and computer software. 

Take Preventive Measures to Reduce Repairs 

Upfront, CNC machinery is expensive. Small companies may struggle to adjust to the costs of CNC machinery. In the long run, investing in CNC machining will yield profit. 

Repairs are costly and require expertise. To reduce the cost of repairs, make sure you are proactive. Follow these suggestions: 

  • Invest in preventive machine maintenance programs 
  • Make sure technicians know how to operate CNC equipment correctly
  • Regularly check hardware and software 
  • Clean and perform regular maintenance on the machine, often 
  • Check airflow and lube levels 

Calipers, pen, and other tools laying on a precision CNC machining drawing

CNC Machining Solutions 

There are many challenges presented when operating CNC machinery. However, understanding possible difficulties will help you fix them.

It is feasible to operate precision CNC spinning smoothly. The right information and materials are needed. If you are interested in an in-depth review of the benefits of CNC machines, check out this article. 

To keep away from CNC machinery complications altogether, hire Glenn Metalcraft Inc for your precision CNC spinning needs. Our staff are adept at addressing issues that arise while operating CNC machines. Our highly skilled team is dedicated to fulfilling project needs and providing excellent customer service. Reach out to Glenn Metalcraft today!