Computer numerical control (CNC) machining is a versatile process capable of creating high-quality, consistent parts with great accuracy. In various material options, sizes, and simple or complex shapes, precision machined components are applicable in numerous industries, ranging from aerospace and the military to agriculture and food processing.
For nearly three decades, Solutions Manufacturing, Inc. (SMI) has been the trusted source for precision CNC-machined parts. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology and automated machinery, our shop offers CNC milling and turning as our core competencies as well as value-added services to be your single-source manufacturing solution. Learn more about the precision CNC machining process, the parts this manufacturing method can create for varied industries, and how SMI’s comprehensive services and custom products can support your operation.
CNC machining is a subtractive manufacturing method that generates standard or custom parts by removing excess material from a workpiece until the desired shape or component is achieved. Made up of a myriad of individual machining processes, CNC machining is known for its efficiency, accuracy, uniformity, and repeatability. Incorporating automation into the machining process allows manufacturers to create components at greater speeds with tight tolerances while reducing the risk of human error and any resulting rework.
Using computer-aided design (CAD) software or a related program, you can develop a drawing or 3D model of your desired part. Machinists will then use a computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) program to essentially translate that part design into computerized instructions that the CNC machine can follow to generate a part per your exact specifications. At SMI, we support an array of file formats, such as AutoCAD, PDF, STEP, DXF, DWG, IGES, and more.
The precision machining process improves accuracy, making precise cuts with narrow margins of error. This increases uniformity, allowing manufacturers to produce thousands of the same parts identically. CNC machining also offers superior repeatability, meaning that if you have a standing order for a specific component, for example, a part from one production run will match exactly with a part from another.
You can choose from a broad spectrum of metal and plastic polymer materials to achieve the properties your CNC components require, based on the needs of your application. For example, you can select aluminum for its optimal strength-to-weight ratio, stainless steel for its strength and high temperature resistance, or copper for its corrosion resistance and natural antimicrobial properties. SMI commonly works with materials such as:
Given its high accuracy and speed, precision CNC machining is ideal for producing high-quality components for diverse industries.
Accuracy is particularly important in the aerospace industry, as imprecise or defective components could have disastrous results. CNC-machined components like engine, rocket, and navigational system parts offer durability, reliable functionality, and tight tolerances in lightweight parts to ensure safe operations and optimal equipment performance. Read our case study on aluminum covers to learn more about one of SMI’s products for this sector.
The military is another organization that requires accurate, defect-free parts for mission-critical equipment to prevent accidents and loss of life. Equipment for this sector must be able to withstand harsh environmental conditions and rough use. The military benefits from CNC-machined parts like gearboxes, fasteners, pins, couplings, shafts, housings, weaponry parts, and other precision components for vehicles, helicopters, marine vessels, satellites, and more. At SMI, we adhere to applicable Mil-Spec standards when machining components like aluminum junction boxes for our military and defense clients.
Communication systems are composed of countless intricate parts that must work in tandem to efficiently send, receive, and process analog and digital signals. To do this successfully, the communications industry needs consistent, high-performance parts in high volumes, requirements that CNC machining can fulfill. Switches, heat sinks, frames, and parts for cellphones, modems, gateways, internet infrastructure, and satellites are some of the many products that CNC machining produces for the communications market. Amplifier housings are another common CNC-machined component, and SMI provides electronic chassis to clients in this industry.
The agriculture industry relies on durable, high-performance parts to withstand fluctuating environmental conditions and rugged applications. CNC machining can meet these demands for components like air valves, gears, nozzles, pulleys, sprockets, and more. Clevis blocks are one of the product types that SMI produces using precision CNC machining.
The food processing market must follow strict cleanliness and food safety regulations. CNC-machined parts in corrosion-resistant food-grade materials like stainless steel are ideal for food processing applications. Such operations benefit from parts like assembly line components, bushings, pins, rollers, rotors, shafts, valves, and more. For this industry, SMI machines components like stainless steel bearing housings and plastic blocks.
In addition to the industries previously mentioned, we also serve clients in the following sectors with CNC-machined parts:
At SMI, we specialize in CNC milling and turning, offering value-added secondary services to provide comprehensive solutions for creating and finishing your CNC parts.
CNC milling is ideal for flat materials or those with an irregular or uneven surface. SMI is equipped with cutting-edge technologies for precision milling, such as CNC mills and controls, CAD/CAM software, 4-axis machines, indexers, pallet changers, and vacuum work-holding systems. We can generate parts up to 30 inches in length, 20 inches in width, and 20 inches in height, achieving tolerances of ±0.0001 inches.
Our capabilities include the following:
Automated CNC lathes produce cylindrical components from stock material at a faster rate than CNC milling. At SMI, we use advanced technology such as CNC lathes and controls, CAD/CAM software, bar feeds, automated parts catchers, collet and three-jaw chucks, and more for efficient, precision CNC turning. Our team produces quality turned parts in lengths up to 18 inches, diameters of 12 inches, and tolerances of ±0.0001 inches.
To create high-quality CNC components, we offer the following turning services:
While milling and turning offer superior precision, CNC-machined parts still benefit from secondary services to improve surface finish, enhance abrasion and corrosion resistance, and improve aesthetics. To truly deliver turnkey services for our customers, SMI offers an extensive collection of value-added manufacturing and finishing services.
We complement our in-house capabilities with high-quality secondary services through our trusted partners. As we manage all communication and logistics with vendors, we work as your single-source services provider. We streamline the production process to deliver more efficient manufacturing processes, expedited turn times, and optimized quality control.
Our comprehensive secondary services include the following:
At SMI, we combine decades of experience, comprehensive services, and the latest technology and equipment to deliver custom high-quality CNC parts. We strive for innovation in our product solutions and have the capacity for low- to high-volume manufacturing, from single prototypes to long production runs. Our products comply with all applicable industry standards, including Nadcap, RoHS, ASTM, ASME, Mil-Spec, and FDA regulations. We’re also an ISO 9001:2015-certified company, evidence of our commitment to consistent, quality products and services.
With a typical lead time of four weeks, we also offer just-in-time (JIT) and emergency deliveries as part of our commitment to customer satisfaction. We keep turn times low by designing and producing custom fixtures and tooling in-house and by serving as a single-source solution for all your precision CNC machining needs.