Precision manufacturing is an advanced industrial method of manufacturing processes and techniques, such as precision metal cutting and tooling, that produces identical high-precision parts and components for assembly into a larger product. More than just a trend, precision manufacturing allows for a collaborative interdisciplinary process among OEMs and fabrication shops to ensure quality management practices, a higher level of traceability, and better lead times for manufacturers closer to home.
Precision manufacturing supports such industries as medical, aerospace, pharmaceutical, medical, electronics, food service, telecommunications, IT and computers, maritime, among others. It is critical to the automotive industry. Just consider how many precision manufactured components are necessary to assemble one car? Hint: all those parts are not made on site.
To manufacture with precision, such techniques and methods are introduced into the design and production of essential equipment, tools, technology, and hardware used in fabrication. With these advances in technology, tighter tolerances are now achieved with higher levels of process control compared to just a few decades ago.
CAD & CAM Programs
To achieve precision in the manufacture of so many complex parts, fabrication shops rely on CAD (Computer-Aided Design) and CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing) programs utilizing CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) machines capable of manufacturing parts that meet exact product dimensions with accuracy time and again. CNC machine processes can be completed with lathes, drill presses, grinders, milling, shearing, stamping, high-speed robotics, and laser cutters among others.
Importance of Precision Manufacturing
However, precision manufacturing is not simply the making of small parts for a larger product with advanced technology. It is in effect, an ecosystem of underlying quality control and quality management processes. It is not just the manufacture of parts and components with precision, but a continuous process derived from precision engineering that encompasses the entire design, performance and structure of the manufacturing process—precision machining and tooling, precision metal cutting, metrology, precision planning, and so on.
Beyond increased process control, precision manufacturing also provides for a greater degree of traceability in manufacturing processes. This is especially important for industries producing medical devices or automotive parts and assemblies. Traceability tracks every part from the time it is received as a raw material to when it is shipped from the factory as a finished product. Increased traceability enables suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers to have verifiable records that can improve processes or rapidly trace a defective part or product during manufacturing to reduce the waste of material and time, or downstream to easily identify and limit consumer recalls.
As precision manufacturing is a continuous process that allows OEMs to improve manufacturing systems and integrate technology, it is also helping to increase the value of products—in quality, at a reduced cost, and produced in less time. In doing so, precision manufacturing is allowing OEMs to regain the share of the market that was moved offshore to Asia many years ago.
Less Lead Time
Offshoring production and supply chains of parts and components have resulted in lost time and a waste of resources and energy. Trends are moving faster than supply chains. One of the driving forces and a key advantage for OEMs in precision manufacturing is the reduction in lead time to fabricate components and parts for domestic manufacturers. It also reduces other hidden procurement costs often overlooked in offshoring.
Manufacturing parts and components in Asia can take considerable time, sometimes up to a year or more. The entire procurement process cuts into a manufacturer’s profit margin. The products manufactured may be less in actual cost, but the time invested in the procurement of those products is far more than once thought.
When including the time invested for staff who must monitor the entire acquisition, manufacture, shipping and receiving process; the added cost of acquisition for increased inventory levels to protect against lengthy lead times required to receive products; and tying up capital to meet the advanced payments terms of overseas manufacturers versus the lower capital requirements if terms were with a domestic OEM; the cost of procurement adds, on average, a 27% increase in expenses separate from the cost of the manufacture and shipping of the product. The cut in lead time provided by precision manufacturing can help offset the hidden expenses of procurement.
No matter the industry—medical, aerospace or automotive—the time advantage from supplying parts in a few days versus a few months or greater has placed precision manufacturing OEMs in a position to save their domestic manufacturing partners millions in supply chain costs.
More than just a trend, precision manufacturing is a collaborative approach to processes and technologies. It provides a competitive advantage for OEMs and also ensures all aspects of manufacturing produces consistent quality results.
If you’re looking for a reliable precision manufacturing company contact Quest-Tech today. We have the equipment, employees and expertise to quickly transfer your designs into a quality finished product.