Buying raw stock might allow shops to shave as much as 10 percent off the cost of materials, but that results in less than a 1-percent savings on overall part cost, according to John Belzer, president of TCI Precision Metals (www.tciprecision.com).
On the other hand, he said that machineready blanks can save as much as 20 percent of labor costs, resulting in a 15 percent lower overall part cost. Even with as little as a 10-percent savings in labor, overall part cost could drop by 7.5 percent.
Machine-ready blanks let production start immediately – blanks are loaded directly into machine tools without prep operations, such as sawing, grinding, flattening or squaring. Additionally, operators spend less time adjusting setups and fixture offsets.
TCI Precision Metals machine-ready blanks arrive with tolerances guaranteed as close as +/- 0.0005 in. dimensionally and +/- 0.0002 in. flatness, squareness and parallelism. The company processes its blanks using double-disc grinding, blanchard grinding, duplex milling and sub operations such as flattening, deburring and surface improvement.
Machine-ready blanks are available in virtually any material. That includes aluminum, titanium, ceramics, plastics, controlled expansion alloys and spring steel.