Many products are produced through machining in a precision machine shop. These shops can make parts for complex machinery, such as electronic motors, combustion engines, and mechanical devices, which are then installed in products like vacuum cleaners, power tools, and all types of vehicles. For this reason, precision machine shops are vital to the manufacturing industry.
A precision machine shop usually works at an accuracy of five-one-thousandths of an inch (.005”) and some are capable of even higher accuracy. To put this in some perspective, the thickness of ordinary office copy paper is three-one-thousandths of an inch (.003”). The components produced must be accurate to the thickness of paper or smaller. This precision is called tolerance, and generally the closer the tolerance, the better a machine will work. Machines which have very small tolerances, meaning the components of the machine fit very close together, can spin at very fast speeds without failure.
Very close tolerances is one reason why newer car and truck engines perform better than those built half a century ago. As machine shop technology improved, tolerances were made smaller and engine parts fit closer together, making for an engine which can spin at fast speeds without failing and run longer before needing repair. These tight tolerances are also a reason why newer engines require thinner oils like 5W20 while older engines use 10W30. The thicker oil types would not be able to work in the tight spaces between the parts of new engines.
Many other industries require products which have very tight tolerances. Machines used in the biomedical field must maintain extreme accuracy for this type of research. Physics researchers also need machines and tools which are accurate to the micro and subatomic levels. Many precision machine shops have the technology, skill, and capacity to produce machines and instruments to meet the needs of modern research and industry.
Innovative modern machines have the ability to work a piece of metal or plastic in ways which previous machines could not. The sophisticated computers and components of these machines can take a three-dimensional computer image and create a complex part automatically with little input from the operator. With one complex program, a modern precision machine can turn out thousands of identical parts extremely quickly and efficiently.
The older types of machines used a three-axis orientation, which is composed of the length, width, and height of a part. The three axis machines are limited when trying to produce complex parts which have circles, ellipses, tapers, and diagonals. The operator would have to find creative ways of accomplishing these tasks, and mass production of these parts would be difficult.
A precision machine shop, like RAMP Engineering Inc., produces components with machines which work on a four and five axis plane in order to machine highly complex parts for industries like aerospace and medical. These components are high precision pieces which are used in modern industries that require increasing sophistication and accuracy, as they are also undergoing processes of innovation and advancement.