With the large number of machine shops today, ranging from single manned operations to massive production floors, it can be difficult to select the shop that will be the perfect fit for your needs. When looking for a company to machine your parts, here are 7 questions to ask.
Can they machine to my tolerances, apply finishes, offer assembly, etc.?
This may seem a little obvious, but it is vital to ask. Make sure you know what you need for your parts and find a shop that can handle your components from start to finish. Consider this not just for one job, but for future jobs as well. Find a machine shop that meets most or all of your needs a majority of the time that you can continually return to. This way you work with one company and team, rather than multiple, to get your parts to spec and on time.
What is their quality control program like?
Without proper quality control, your machining service will produce mediocre parts and significant waste. Any scrap and out of spec products will cost you. Make sure that your machining service has a rigorous quality control program. Good shops will ensure that your parts are within specification and actively avoid bad runs and scrap.
Do they have credibility?
Credibility can be measured in a variety of ways. Some ways to see if a CNC or EDM service is credible are:
- Up to date certifications
- Recent testimonials
- An orderly and well managed production floor
- A useful website, resources, guides, etc.
- Active on blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
- And more
Your machining service should be running properly and satisfying their clients. If they aren’t, then you will most likely be disappointed in their work.
Do they have design capabilities?
You want the service you select to be able to review and edit your design files if needed. As things can be variable during the machining process, your service should have the ability and expertise to manipulate your files. If your shop does not have this capability, they are limited in making needed adjustments that are inherent with the machining process. By choosing a shop that has the ability and skill to adjust your original design when needed, your parts will be of higher quality.
Do they offer prototypes?
Especially when you need precision components, prototypes are a must. You want to verify that the final product meets all of your requirements and allow for adjustments before production begins. To ensure that you can get the exact final part, ask your machining service for prototypes before completing your order.
Do they have experience machining your material?
Make sure that your machining service has experience working with your needed material. The more experience and familiarity with a material they have, the better. In addition, your machining company should be able to even offer material recommendations for your application and needs.
Do you work with the decision maker?
You want direct access to those that are leading the team to machine your components. This allows issues to be resolved quickly, changes to be made in a timely manner, and ensure that your final product is what you paid for.