For tooling, jigs, reference plates, molds and parts aluminum plate is often the go-to option. With the ability to choose an alloy that is an excellent machinability it is possible to produce parts and components to very tight tolerances for any application.
Finding aluminum precision plate is not always a simple task. Different companies may offer what they call precision plate, but there will be different standards in flatness and grain development within the plate.
One of the most important factors in aluminum precision plate is dimensional stability. This means that in the fabrication of the precision plate there are specialized steps and processes that remove internal stress within the alloy.
The grains or the microscopic structure of the plate is carefully controlled throughout the fabrication process. This reduces any interior irregularities in the structure of the plate.
When there are very low levels of internal stress within the plate, there is very little variation in working and machining the plate. This means that tight tolerances can be easily maintained, speeding up production and dramatically reducing the need to re-work the part or component.
Not having to re-work, rough-mill, finish or further machine the component not only saves time but it also saves money. Less time is required to produce parts, lowering the cost per unit of production.
In addition to the quality of the aluminum precision plate, look for a provider offering value-added types of services. For example, if the supplier can also provide CNC machining, custom precision cutting, surface treatments and other specialized services the parts or components can arrive to you ready to be installed.
Having these services completed at the supplier saves on additional shipping charges and on the complexity of getting the components processed. With one supplier providing all the services there are fewer challenges with logistics, fewer risks of delayed deliveries and a guarantee for quality that may not be possible using multiple service providers.
When tight tolerances and production to very specific requirements is a concern, finding a manufacturer of quality, precision aluminum plate needs to be a priority. Avoid buying from general metal suppliers and instead work directly with a reputable cast plate producer.
This will not only save you time and effort in logistics, but it will also provide you with the most competitive pricing and the best additional services. Some companies even provide full technical support, which can be instrumental in prototype development through to large scale production.
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