Holding .0005" (1/2 of a thousandth of an inch) tolerance is like cutting an average piece of hair in half. You're literally splitting hairs. It's not something most stampers are comfortable with.
Cary, IL (PRWEB) May 29, 2014
In recent years, manufacturing has become fast paced; relying on not only a quick turn around for quotes, but also on production to maintain competitiveness in a global environment. For purchasing agents and buyers, leveraging resources to make sourcing quick and effective is what helps their company stand out from their competitors.
One such recent case came up with Erica Lee, the Product and Communications Manager at Haag Education, a division of Haag Engineering. Erica was tasked with finding a supplier for the new Haag Roofing and Siding Gauge™. Unlike other parts Haag sourced in the past, this was a complex metal fabrication, as it required holding a tolerance of .0005" (1/2 of a thousandth of an inch) - after being heat treated and plated. This surely was not a task any fabricator could handle.
Knowing this, Erica tasked Fabricating.com with finding a company that could help to manufacture their new product. Being a key supporter of domestic manufacturing, Fabricating.com provides the only online marketplace exclusively developed for the American manufacturing industry. The company connects U.S. buyers with U.S. suppliers through a simple online platform for sourcing custom metal and plastic parts in over 250 manufacturing disciplines. With their wide range of suppliers, this was the perfect place for Erica to find the right supplier for her complex metal fabrication.
Shortly after putting out her RFQ on Fabricating.com, Erica was contacted by Jeremy Hahn, Sales Manager at Chirch Global Manufacturing. He explained while this looked like a straight forward stamping, there were a lot of potential problems, due to the tight tolerance requirements.
"Holding .0005" (1/2 of a thousandth of an inch) tolerance is like slitting an average piece of hair in half. You're literally splitting hairs. It's not something most stampers are comfortable with." - Jeremy Hahn, Chirch Global Manufacturing.
While other metal stampers have their supply chains, the advantage Jeremy had on this project was the Chirch Global Manufacturing Network. This Network of 14 companies helps to provide a single source solution to their global customers, and on this particular project, both Induction Heat Treating Corporation and Reliable Plating Corporation were ready to help.
Induction Heat Treating Corporation has a focus on heat treating parts on very specific regions, as it can highly control the area and depth of the penetration. This process was chosen over furnace heat treat, as heat treating the entire part can cause the metal to distort or bend, like that of a potato chip. This is on a very miniscule level, but when you're splitting hairs on tolerance, it makes a difference.
Reliable Plating Corporation is best known for both highly cosmetic plating as well as purely functional plating. They chose a Mid Phos Electroless Nickel Plate .0002-.0003" thick, followed by a 3 hour bake at 375F for Hydrogen Embrittlement Relief.
Electroless Nickel was chosen due to the uniformity of the deposit compared to Electrolytic Nickel, as any little change would make a big difference at the tight tolerances. The bake was needed due to the hardness of the material, but it had to be done just right so it would not fracture any of the heat treated areas which were critical to the function of the part.
After finally going through other secondary operations, Erica finally had the product she was looking for. What at first seemed like an impossible task, turned out to be quite easy. Manufacturing surely is turning out to be service orientated, and its groups like the Chirch Global Manufacturing Network and Fabricating.com that will help to streamline the process for anyone who is in need.