What are Machine-Ready Blanks and are They Right for Your Shop?

TCI Precision Metals, in Southern California has been providing manufacturers with precision Machine-Ready Blanks for the past 57 years.  There are still many successful shops who do not know what Machine-Ready Blanks are exactly, or if and when they should be considered.  The following is meant to shed light on the subject and provide some thought provoking questions to help you determine whether or not precision Blanks are right for your next job.

What are Machine-Ready Blanks?

TCI's Machine-Ready Blanks are square, rectangular or round aluminum, stainless steel, or other alloy blanks that are ground and milled to tight-tolerances enabling a CNC machine to get right to final machining. This eliminates the need for squaring up the material prior to finishing the part.  This also eliminates the need for specialized machines or tying up machines that are better served performing other operations.  Bottlenecks created by time consuming setup and squaring operations are avoided, saving time. This increases shop capacity without adding overhead.  Machine-Ready Blanks arrive to specifications and are ready to go directly from your receiving dock onto your CNC machines. 

When to Consider Machine-Ready Blanks

First Articles

The decision to use Machine-Ready Blanks should be made in the materials planning phase of the job.  Using Machine-Ready Blanks to produce first articles, then continue right through production is the best way to insure consistency of process.  Since each order of Machine-Ready Blanks is made to order, there are no minimum quantities.  As your job ramps to production you can order the quantity needed, to be delivered as you need them.


Production Machining

Although they are also well-suited for prototype and tooling applications, Machine-Ready Blanks are best suited for production machining jobs where the efficiency and time savings from using them can be projected over multiple parts – the more the better.  The value of using Machine-Ready Blanks increases with part count as your shop is able to push out more finished parts, faster, by virtually eliminating bottlenecks associated with time consuming material prep work.

Custom Machine-Ready Blanks

Custom Machine-Ready Blanks are made to order, based on your unique specifications to make them 'machine-ready.'   Typically, they are square, rectangular or round stock milled to your custom net specifications.  They can be furnished as close as +/-.0005" dimensionally and as close as .0002” in flatness, squareness and parallelism.  Typically, these Blanks are deburred, cleaned and vacuum packaged to eliminate the possibility of any damage in handling and shipping.

Feature-Added Blanks

Feature-added Blanks are milled to the same tight tolerances as custom and standard Blanks, but include one or more features specified by the customer.  A typical added feature might be a large amount of material removal; e.g. milling all six sides of a rectangular Machine-Ready Blank with opposing steps.  TCI Machine-Ready Blanks are double disc ground and/or duplex milled so at least two sides of a part are cut at the same time.  This translates into a cost savings over facing only one side of raw stock at a time.  When the Machine-Ready Blanks arrive with additional features added, less in-house machine time is required.

Customer Furnished Blanks

Quite often there can be a feature on a part that is very time consuming to complete in your shop; e.g. hogging off 13-8 material.  TCI Precision Metals uses specialty duplex milling to reduce the cutting time to a fraction of what it would typically take on a job shop floor.  End costs are reduced by not having to buy expensive cutting tools or inserts and production bottlenecks are avoided, which leads to increased shop capacity.

Are Machine-Ready Blanks Right for You?

10 Questions to Ask Yourself

1. Are you a custom precision manufacturing company that could benefit from greater efficiency and increased capacity?

2. How much of your expensive high tech equipment is doing low tech prep work?

3. How much of your time and equipment resources are used in prepping material?

4. How often do you experience production bottle necks associated with prepping material?

5. If you eliminated material prep work, how much more production could you move through your shop?

6. How much money could you save by eliminating scrap prior to finish machining?

7. Would your business benefit from being able to ship faster?

8. Do you have part features you would like to see included in a custom Machine-Ready Blank, ready for finish machining?

9. If you could have precision Machine-Ready Blanks with guaranteed tolerances delivered to your receiving dock, ready to load onto your CNC machines, how much would that benefit your business?

10. How much could you reduce your cycle times by only machining critical features?

If Machine-Ready Blanks are a fit for your next job, you'll be more profitable and your customer will be happier.

• Reduce material prep time

• Produce more parts, faster

• Reduce bottlenecks

• Reduce scrap

About TCI Precision Metals

Founded in 1956, TCI Precision Metals is a family-owned value added materials distributor producing precision Machine-Ready Blanks from aluminum, stainless steel and other alloys. Sawing, grinding, milling and finishing operations with the added benefit of being a plate and sheet distributor make TCI Precision Metals a one stop source for quality aluminum, stainless and other alloy blanks. TCI is a warehouse plate and sheet distributor for Alcoa, Kaiser and Hulamin Aluminum, including 6061, 2024 and 7075 aluminum plate and sheet.  Stainless steels alloy steels and other ferrous and non-ferrous materials are available for quick-turn-around on customer requirements.

For more information, visit: http://tciprecision.com

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