Looking for the best CNC machine shop for bulk order parts fabrication isn’t always easy. There are over 25,000 CNC machining facilities in the United States alone, but most of them have four employees or less, which means they can’t handle large, precision projects like the big guys. In fact, most of those bigger shops send their light work to the smaller shops for completion and that’s how they stay in business.
But you can’t exactly ask a small machine shop to give up their revenue just so you can save a quick buck or cut out the middleman. Most of the time, you’ll just get the runaround and won’t actually find what you need. So, here’s how to uncover the best big CNC machine shops on your own.
What is a large CNC machine service provider?
A large CNC machine shop is one that can handle massive orders and bulk projects without having to suspend other operations or sacrifice quality. These shops are usually fortified with standard certifications and use top-notch technologies to produce intricate parts or components at record time. Moreover, they’re generally staffed by highly skilled machinists who can troubleshoot various aspects of a project before, during, and after it’s done.
Large CNC machining facilities are also capable of manufacturing products with complex geometries using a wide variety of different tools and materials. Their processes are expertly streamlined and sophisticated too, with little to no use of manual machines and compatibility with complex software. Truth be told, the best large CNC machine shops always use state-of-the-art equipment and are constantly looking for ways to improve or expand.
10 characteristics of the best large CNC machine shop
All machining facilities are different, with a unique staff and specialties that aren’t shared with other shops. However, the best and brightest always have the following 10 characteristics:
#1. Adequate Facilities
The cream of the crop operates inside a big, clean, and spacious facility. They have room to keep things separate and/or sterile depending on the client’s requirements. They can also store large orders for later pick up and handle bulk projects that need several different resources or processes to complete.
#2. State-of-the-Art Machines
Because the best large CNC machine shops typically handle delicate orders with complex geometries and tight tolerances for major industries, their equipment is generally top-notch and automated to reduce the margin of human error and help guarantee consistent quality.
#3. Pristine Tools
Precision tooling at record time is only possible when your tools are top of the line and properly maintained. So, while smaller shops often struggle to enhance their tooling inventory, bigger facilities are generally better equipped to handle special orders and meet deadlines on difficult projects.
#4. Advanced Techniques
The best CNC machining service providers use advanced methods to produce traditional parts and/or enhanced components. Meanwhile, their allegiance to simplified machining usually means better project outcomes, more stability within the industry, and greater savings for both the client and the facility.
#5. Sophisticated Technology
No CNC machine shop is complete without industry-leading CAD/CAM programming software. That software helps machinists determine various measurements and specifications while also keeping the team on the same page. In most cases, the best facilities will run ProShop ERP because of its all-inclusive capabilities.
#6. High Accuracy
Due to the clever combination of advanced machinery, top-of-the-line technology, and expert machinists, bigger CNC facilities can offer more precision than the smaller shops with manual machines and older technologies. Moreover, big facilities can also produce working prototypes for troubleshooting and examination upon request.
#7. Years of Experience
Established CNC machine shops come in many different sizes, but larger facilities can staff more people. That means their combined experience usually exceeds decades, making them better equipped to handle difficult projects while offering effective troubleshooting tips when things go wrong. Some might even offer classes for newbie machinists.
#8. Industry Certifications
Big CNC machine service providers typically work closely with vital industries such as automotive, aerospace, and medical. So, their staff and facility must be officially certified to do the work. To get certified, the facility and its staff must meet high standards and have specific skills, machinery, and tools.
#9. Short Lead Times
Because large machine shops can handle complex geometries and bulk orders with industry-leading equipment and skilled staff, they’re also able to offer extremely short lead times. They can even provide non-destructive testing (NDT) and/or rapid prototyping before the project is completed for a routine inspection and a quick design overhaul.
#10. Excellent Quoting and Communication
No manufacturing project, big or small, is successful without proper communication. Larger, bustling machine shops know that, so they value efficiency from start to finish. Most of the time, that equals a fast quoting process in the beginning and clear, concise interactions throughout. Bigger companies also offer better customer service because they have more resources.
Meanwhile, keep in mind that size and speed aren’t always indicative of quality or affordability. So, try to find a large CNC machining service provider that’s easy to work with and flexible about lead times and project costs. And if you’re a manufacturing start-up, you can make your small CNC machine shop more profitable by either adopting some of these characteristics into your facility or by teaming up with a larger company to handle bulk orders and complex projects.
For more information on how to make massive machining miracles happen, contact a CNC expert at Pioneer Cuts as soon as possible.
Making the cut
Making waves in your industry may be difficult, but it’s much easier when you work with a large, well-equipped, and simplified CNC machining service provider. So, don’t just settle on the first place you find. Make sure they’ve got the 10 essential characteristics of a champ.