Some companies are looking to improve their precision machining services, while some are just about kicking off theirs. One thing is common to both – the need for a quality precision machine shop. Fortunately, there is no shortage of options on this front. The problem, however, is picking out the right CNC machining service provider. The choice of the right precision machine shop may be the difference between the success and failure of a company’s machining services.
Therefore, one cannot afford to make mistakes with the choice process. And this is exactly what this article will seek to achieve, by examining seven of the most relevant factors to consider when choosing the best precision machine shop to satisfy CNC machining needs.
Look at Experience
The first tip for choosing the best precision machining shop is to find one with experience. In other words, look for a partner that has been in the business for a while. This is not saying there aren’t new precision machining services out there that are good at what they do. However, those with in-depth manufacturing experience—which is really built up over the years—are capable and reliable. Not only does an experienced manufacturing service have in-depth knowledge of production processes, but it also has a reputation to uphold in terms of customer service and product fulfillment.
RapidDirect’s manufacturing service is based on over a decade of experience: we have delivered parts to thousands of customers from across the globe and from all types of industries.
Review Equipment Offering
The second thing you’ll want to evaluate when looking for a CNC machining service is what technologies and systems they offer. This is important for several reasons. For one, if your part requires five-axis CNC machining, there is no point in starting discussions with a service that only has three-axis machines. Instead, check the service’s machine roster, usually listed on websites, to ensure they have the manufacturing equipment you need.
Secondly—and this is especially important if you are on a strict schedule—determine how many machining systems the precision machining shop has in operation. A shop with two machines might not be able to offer the same part turnarounds as a larger service with hundreds of machines on the go. At RapidDirect, for instance, we are proud of our extensive CNC machining capabilities, driven by 200 units 3, 4, and 5-axis CNC machines, as well as auxiliary and support equipment.
Check for Certifications
This tip is more important for certain applications than others, but it is a good way to determine how established a precision machining shop is. For instance, if you are seeking to manufacture parts for aerospace applications, it is important to go for the highest quality machine shop. You must ensure that the production facility has the required certifications for the tightly regulated industry. Similarly, the production partner should have medical-grade facilities and certifications if you are ordering medical devices or components.
Beyond these specific circumstances, there are other types of certification to look out for, including environmental certificates, as well as documentation from material suppliers, and quality assurance certifications. At RapidDirect, we adhere to ISO9001:2015 requirements and operate an ISO 9001 QMS qualified facility. We also supply material certifications, and quality assurance reports on demand.
Evaluate Lead Times
Another critical factor to examine in choosing precision machining services is lead times. Basically, you want to know whether a manufacturing partner can machine and deliver a part within your required timeframe. In most cases, quality machine shops will list their usual turnaround times; however, these vary based on the scale and complexity of your manufacturing job.
Today, some of the most advanced precision machining shops offer an automated quoting software, which will indicate the estimated cost of production and how long your order will take to process and manufacture, taking into account other jobs in the pipeline machine availability, etc. This makes it easier for customers to proceed with an order and fully understand what they can expect. Furthermore, it is good to ensure that your precision machining shop offers fast, tracked shipping for your final parts.
Not too long ago, finding a manufacturing service partner involved combing through phonebooks, making calls, and collecting cost estimates. And there’s also the obvious language barrier with international precision manufacturing companies.
Finding the right partner could therefore be very time-consuming. Today, however, thanks to advances in computer technology, communication is easier than ever. You could reach out to 20 rapid prototyping services in under an hour for quotes if you need to.
Beyond the ease afforded by the internet, it is still important to evaluate the communication quality of a machining service. It’s always a good sign if a manufacturing service responds promptly to your emails or phone calls and is available to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Ensuring good communication between a customer and manufacturing service provider is key. It promotes the success of your production job and paves the way for continued collaboration.
Location is Key
Another critical factor to consider when seeking a precision machining shop is location. While there are benefits to working with local machining services, such as simplifying shipping and logistics, it may also be worth considering an international CNC machining provider. If you follow a strict manufacturing budget, for example, some international precision manufacturing companies can offer lower production costs because of cheaper raw materials and labor costs.
In many cases, international precision manufacturing services, such as China-based RapidDirect, can even meet your tight turnaround times, leveraging robust logistic chains and trusty shipping partners.
Is the Price Right?
Last but not least is the question of cost. Of course, you want to ensure that your order will meet your quality requirements. On the flip side, you must check that the manufacturing cost fits your overall budget. Fortunately, all precision machining shops offer quotes, which consider the scope of the project, the manufacturing process needed to fulfill the part, the raw material costs, and more.
Some CNC machining shops still work using the more traditional method of manual quoting. This typically involves much back and forth and can take days (if not weeks) to lock down an accurate quote. Today, however, many service providers are embracing new technologies, which provide instant, hassle-free quotes. At RapidDirect, for instance, we have pioneered an automated instant quote software, which tells you how much a specific job is expected to cost. Simply upload your part file, select your preferred production method and material, and our instant quoting engine will generate an accurate estimate. Additionally, this approach streamlines your search process significantly. You no longer have to email or call various service providers to figure out their price scale.
RapidDirect Fits the Bill
Overall, finding the right machining service can make or break your project. The good news is that once you find the right manufacturing partner, you can keep working with them for years. It’s all about the right fit for your needs.
RapidDirect is an experienced rapid prototyping service that specializes in precision machining. We love manufacturing parts and products that meet our clients’ expectations and have built our reputation on this for over a decade. Our services also include sheet metal fabrication, 3D printing, injection molding, as well as finishing services. Get in touch with us today or get an automatic quote for your production needs.
In case you haven’t noticed, there are several precision machining shops today – so many that picking the right one for you may be a huge bother. Often, the difference between a company’s success and failure hinges on making the right decision with its precision machining services. Many factors go into making this right decision, and we have highlighted seven of the most relevant for you. Just for you! These factors affect both local and international precision manufacturing services.
At the end of the day, we have just the company that ticks all the boxes. Can you guess which? Of course, RapidDirect!
- How do I choose the best precision machine shop?
Many factors go into this choice. In fact, what works for one company may not work for another because of the different factors in play. As such, it makes sense to consider these factors thoroughly, many of which are duly examined in this article.
- What should I ask a machine shop?
Anything. Yes, we mean it – ask them anything you need or want clarification about. The question-and-answer session may set you back an hour or two, but it’s far better than spending huge amounts and discovering you chose the wrong company. So, everything, from their certifications to their mode of communication, to their equipment, etc.
- What certifications should the best machine shop have?
Look out for include environmental certificates, documentation from material suppliers, and quality assurance certifications.