What Kind of CNC Machine Shop Do I Need?

What Kind of CNC Machine Shop Do I Need?

Once you’ve determined that your company needs a CNC machine shop’s services, the next step is choosing which shop to work with. With so many options of different capabilities and service offerings, the variety can be overwhelming. 

So how can you decide which CNC machine shop is the best fit for your company? The type of jobs you need to be completed will help narrow down your search. But there are other important aspects to keep in mind when making your choice.

Here are some points you might want to consider:

Number & Variety of Machines

One simple method of measuring a CNC machine shop’s capabilities is to count the number and variety of CNC machines on site. There are many types of CNC machines available, including ones with specialized roles in the medical, aerospace, and defense industries.

With 26 CNC machines at their disposal, Ricaurte Precision has what you need all in one place. Their machines include 5-axis mills, live tooling lathes, swiss screw, and wire EDM technologies.

Hours & Availability of Personnel

You hit the send button on your RFQ to a CNC machine shop. What happens next? Are you a priority, or will they get back to you when they get back to you? You’ll hear from Ricaurte Precision within 24 hours on simple part RFQs, and within three business days on parts that require additional processing or kitting.

It is also important to consider the hours of the shop and the availability of personnel. Any CNC machine shop can have great-looking equipment, but it’s of little use to you if no one is around to operate it. Does the CNC machine shop shut down at 5 p.m. or, as at Ricaurte Precision, is a second shift arriving then to churn out another eight hours of production?

Availability of Materials

More materials available means more options for you, including price variety, lead times, and performance characteristics. 

Ricaurte Precision not only works with metals (such as stainless steel, aluminum, and titanium), but also plastics common to the aerospace, medical, and energy industries (such as Vespel, Delrin, Peek, Acrylic, Rulon, Phenolic, and Vesconite).

Variety of Parts Built Each Week

The number of different parts a CNC machine shop can build each week is a useful measure of how skillful the shop’s employees are at operating the equipment. Can they change out the part, recalibrate, reprogram, and still meet the necessary tolerances, time and time again?  Ricaurte Precision does just that, more than 250 times each month.

Realistic Lead Time

Anyone can promise a near-instantaneous launch, typically followed shortly thereafter by delays. Getting a direct answer on the actual lead time for a project (not just marketing speak) can be frustrating.

That’s why Ricaurte Precision prefers to quote a more realistic lead time of two weeks for relatively simple projects and six weeks for more complicated production requirements. This helps in allowing you to create a timeline you can actually rely on.

Company Reliability

In capitalistic terms, how is the CNC shop doing? The free market is ruthlessly efficient. A sub-par CNC shop with sub-par management might hang on for a couple of years, but eventually, the market decides who gets to remain. 

Ricaurte Precision has been part of the precision machining community since 1986. That’s 35 years of winning in a highly competitive market.

Proof of Certification

Sure, pretty pictures and inspirational posters on the shop walls are nice, but wouldn’t you find it more reassuring to see framed proof of ISO 9000:2015 certification? Ricaurte Precision also lists all of its certifications online and has proof at the ready to send for customers to review. 

Production Chain Efficiency

Perhaps a CNC machine shop is proficient at making parts … and nothing else. That’s why, when considering machine shops, it is important to ask yourself: “Is this a one-and-done CNC shop or a link in the production chain?” 

Ricaurte Precision can plug in as part of your production chain, managing additional processing such as plating, anodizing, heat treatment, and powder coating. They also can laser mark or serialize your products, store them, and arrange their packaging and shipment.

Visit the Ricaurte Precision website to learn more or arrange a free consultation.