Quality is a crucial aspect in every industry, regardless of the product or service range offered. This is no exemption for the rapid prototyping industry. Every custom parts manufacturer aims to meet customers’ expectations, industry regulations, and trade standards. 

Therefore, it is important to learn how to carry out quality control when manufacturing CNC prototypes. In this post, you’ll learn the importance of quality control and how to do quality control for CNC machining. Let’s get right to it!

Quality Control in CNC Machining

What is Quality Control?

During CNC machining, the eventual product quality is of topmost priority. Manufacturers carry out quality control using specific tools and instruments to meet industry regulations and customers’ demands. The aim of quality control in the manufacturing space is to ensure that every product meets the company’s guidelines. Generally, a quality control system works to measure parts and every other thing involved in production. This way, manufacturers can reduce production costs and increase efficiency. 

You do quality control by maintaining quality assurance of every product. Thus, machinists must be sure of the best time to implement quality control programs. Any wrong implementations can be dangerous in terms of quality. Another major part of quality control is the communication system. This helps with back-and-forth reports of potential issues or discoveries during the CNC machining process. That way, your customers remain informed of the happenings during the process. 

Why Does Quality Control Matter for CNC Machining Parts?

When it comes to CNC machining, the importance of quality control cannot be overstated. Quality control is essential in ensuring that manufactured products conform to industry standards and the company’s requirements. It also aims to ensure customers’ satisfaction by meeting or surpassing their expectations.

Furthermore, adequate quality control of CNC machined parts helps to avoid the production of defective parts. It minimizes risks while ensuring the quality and accuracy of dimensions. With quality control, you can reduce cost, conserve resources, and improve efficiency. 

In the manufacturing industry, quality control is advantageous to both manufacturers and customers. Thus, an effective quality control system should begin by defining each quality standard and establishing it for every part. It should also involve professional quality control and inspection personnel.

Steps for Ensuring Quality Control for CNC Machining Process and Parts

The following steps will help you do quality control for CNC machining more effectively.

Understand the Purpose of Your Customer’s Products

One crucial part of the quality control process is design verification or validation. This aims at helping customers achieve maximum visual results from concept to reality. There is also an aspect of engineering verification. This is vital during the development phase of every CNC machined product. 

An engineering prototype is a great way of helping customers test if products meet design specifications. Also, you can easily test the material used for manufacturing, its mechanical and optical properties. When you realize tighter tolerances at this stage, you can easily verify in-use and assembly functionality.

Finally, you need to verify low volume production. At this stage, you test the production line, which includes volume and time. Here is the stage where you also identify defects in the parts and begin to optimize. Similarly, making a survey or an investigation to get market feedback is a key way to determine subsequent production quality. At this stage, you aim to maximize control of the product’s appearance and tolerance accuracy.

Carry Out Inspection While Part is Running

Sometimes, it is vital to implement quality control inspections when the CNC machining part is still running. There are possibilities of changes you may need to install in parts. When the machined part is produced, you can easily identify problems early. Early identification of problems ensures early reworking of the part before finishing. 

It is possible to do some operations that adjust the CNC machine to hold tighter tolerances. For example, you can adjust the tool offsets to retain some excess stock. Also, you can leave the tool to carry out the machining of the workpiece. Then, you can measure the operations of the tool and how well it has operated. This quality control technique is useful for all newly developed products. 

Check Parts Out with Precise Measuring Tools

Once the final parts are ready, the next action is to have an expert measuring machine operator work on them. CNC machining manufacturers use advanced measuring tools with precise calibrations will help a lot in this regard. CNC machining prototyping companies like RapidDirect, usually provide full dimensional inspection reports as requests, which includes hardness, dimensions, thread and tolerances, colors, etc. Below are some of the commonest tools and equipment used for measuring are: 

  • Go/no-go Gage
  • Micrometers
  • In-Process Probing Gage
  • Air Gage
  • Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM)

Communicate with Customers

Many manufacturers overlook communication as a quality control process. This is quite wrong because timely and effective communication with customers is key to ensuring that their demands are met. Therefore, it is important to keep the right communication line during the manufacturing process and even after sending the sample. Clients and buyers tend to have clear requirements on their intended product specifications and functions. Thus, the first step in quality control should be instant free quotations. 

Here, you can notice when something is not right and adjust the situation as soon as possible. Also, a good communication line will keep the customers informed and in the loop with the process. There are several ways to communicate effectively with customers. It may be through email, a 24/7 support chat, or any other means. This way, you can know the clients’ needs, new information about parts, inclusions or exclusions, and many others.

Final Thoughts

Every industry has its set of regulations that must be met after a manufacturing process. Failing to follow such regulations or standards could prove costly. It may cause an unwanted increase in product demand with low supply. There is also a direct impact on the products’ quality. 

This is why it is vital to carry out quality control for CNC machining. Quality control helps to perform inspections before, during, and after a process. This ensures quality end products that comply with standards laid down by regulators. Overall, it eliminates bottlenecks in the manufacturing process.

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