Collage of ductile iron castings, machine components, worm gears, spur gears, sand castings, investment castings and die castings

Machined Components

Machining is a process that uses tools like milling, shaping, drilling, etc. to work on material to give it different shape or size. Machined components are widely used in all industrial products. They came to the fore after the industrial revolution of the 18th century. Machined components are made from ferrous and non-ferrous metals. They can vary in size from a small watch gear to a gigantic turbine. They are used:

  • For components that require flatness, roundness or parallelism for their proper working
  • Where components need to mesh or move each other in a precise manner
  • In machines that require precision and high dimensional accuracy

The designing of machined components is a very important consideration. In general, the design cost is only about 5% of the actual production cost of the machine component. However, properly designed machined components can save as much as 50% of the production cost. Properly designed machined components should:

  • Reduce the number of parts required – this ensures reduction in production cost and fewer complications
  • Use modular designs – to simplify the final assembly
  • Optimize part handling – so that assembly is easy and standardized

Machine components are the heart and soul of the manufacturing industry. Turbines, automobiles, airplanes, ships, windmills, railways all contain machine components.

Most machines are made of parts called as elements. These elements can be classified as general purpose (e.g. nuts, screws, bolts, flanges, etc.) and special purpose elements like crankshafts, flywheels, rotors, windmill hubs, valve bodies, etc.)

Machined Components Considerations

The primary considerations for machined components include material type, the main machining processes, and the type of machining used. Machining is essentially a process of removing material by the application of mechanical energy to machine tools. The basic processes used for machining are turning, milling, drilling and grinding.

A few other things to consider in manufacturing machined components is the amount of scrap / waste and the amount of electrical energy consumed. Many a mechanical process tens to create a lot of waste in the form of solid, liquid and airborne particulates, something that needs to be minimized.