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Sourcing machined parts to China in 2021 – Top 5 things to consider

Buying precision machined parts from china can be challenging but very competitive when done right. Here are 5 key things to consider when Sourcing precision machined components from china.

China has continued to be a preferred manufacturing location for UK and US manufacturers despite the trade tensions in recent times. Among the multitude of products sourced from China machined parts a found in numerous applications across different industries.

Whether you are looking to source an aluminium belt buckle, a High-performance part for vehicle suspension or even other machined metal parts for various industries and applications, you will need to consider these top five factors:

#1: Understand the basics of machining.

Before you start contacting suppliers in China for sourcing machined metal parts, you need to know the basic technological processes used in metal machining. This will help you gauge the expertise of the manufacturer in China and the processes they follow.

Machining is a process in which a material (often metal) is cut into a desired final shape and size by a controlled material removal process. The processes that have this common theme, controlled material removal, are today collectively known as subtractive manufacturing, in distinction from processes of controlled material addition, which are known as additive manufacturing.

The three principal machining processes are classified as turning, drilling and milling. Other operations falling into miscellaneous categories include shaping, planning, boring, broaching and sawing.

· Turning operations are operations that rotate the workpiece as the primary method of moving metal against the cutting tool. Lathes are the principal machine tool used in turning.

· Milling operations are operations in which the cutting tool rotates to bring cutting edges to bear against the workpiece. Milling machines are the principal machine tool used in milling.

· Drilling operations are operations in which holes are produced or refined by bringing a rotating cutter with cutting edges at the lower extremity into contact with the workpiece. Drilling operations are done primarily in drill presses but sometimes on lathes or mills.

· Miscellaneous operations are ones that may not be machining operations in so far that they may not be swarf producing operations but are performed at a typical machine tool. Burnishing is an example of a miscellaneous operation. Burnishing produces no swarf but can be performed on a lathe, mill, or drill press.

#2: Technology and quality

Metal machining includes non-conventional and conventional processes. Non-conventional machining processes involve using either a thermal or chemical means of removing material. On the other hand, conventional machining processes are often frequently used for metals, which involves three categories. These include single-point cutting machining, multi-point cutting, and abrasive machining.

Each machining process uses a specific type of cutting tool and technique in a workpiece. The machining of a metal part would require different operations performed in a planned sequence, so the desired design and features are achieved.

Here are the different metal material removal processes:

Mechanical machining

Single-point cutting

This uses a single sharp-edged cutting tool to remove metal material from the workpiece. Turning is a commonly used single-point cutting process in which the workpiece is rotated, and the cutting tool is fed into it to cut away material.

Multi-point cutting

Multi-point cutting uses multiple sharp-teeth cutting tools moving against the workpiece in removing material. Milling and drilling are the most common multi-point cutting processes, whereby the cylindrical cutting tool has a sharp tooth that rotates at very high speeds. During milling, the rotating tool is used in the workpiece, creating different features through different rotating depths and paths.

Abrasive machining

Abrasive machining is a mechanical process that uses an abrasive tool to remove metal materials from a workpiece. While this process can be used to shape and form features of a workpiece, it is primarily used to improve a parts surface finish.

Chemical machining

The process of chemical machining uses chemicals to remove material such as electrochemical machining or ECM. It is a way of removing metal using an electrochemical process for mass production. In addition, it is used for dealing with electrically conductive materials that are extremely hard or those that are difficult to machine utilizing conventional methods.

Thermal machining

Thermal machining includes torch cutting, electrical discharge machining or EDM, and high-energy beam machining. EDM refers to a non-traditional machining method, which removes a workpiece with the use of thermal energy. It’s similar to laser cutting, except EDM doesn’t require mechanical force during the removal process.

#3: Ask for samples

One of the best ways to ensure the supplier adheres to your quality specifications for custom machined metal parts from China is to ask for samples. Before placing your order make sure to request samples.

If the first sample that the manufacturer sends does not meet your specifications, write down the issues that you have observed and communicate the same to the custom machined metal product manufacturer. Ensure that the China supplier has understood the changes you require and can provide you with a sample of the modified version.

The supplier will be interested in meeting your exact standards when they know that the volume of the order is high. This is why it is recommended that you give the supplier an idea of how many machined metal parts you need.

#4: Inspect the factory and the process

A crucial part of the process of sourcing from China is the factory inspection process. To ensure the metal machining suppliers have the necessary technology, machines and quality processes, the best way is for you to personally visit the factory. For most business owners in the U.K, US or EU, this can be very difficult and expensive. China Outsourcing Ltd has provided various efficient solutions for this pain.

While you can check the manufacturer’s website, licenses, ISO certification and evaluate the sample, there is no way to make sure the factory has state-of-the-art metal machining technology unless you visit it. Partnering with China Outsourcing can solve this problem as we have an office in China and are able to visit and conduct an audit on the factory on your behalf.

#5: Work with a sourcing agent specializing in a machined part

One of the top reasons why customers in the United Kingdom, Europe and the U.S. look to source from China is the cost advantage. While China can fulfil your requirements of low-cost metal machining, working with a sourcing agent like China Outsourcing Ltd who specialise in machined parts can give you distinct advantages.

Cost, while being important, is only one of the aspects to look at when sourcing from China. The other crucial aspects that can influence the success of your business include quality, reliability, turnaround time, IRP and communication.

One of the first obstacles that many sellers face when sourcing from China is the difficulty of finding the right manufacturer or factories for machining metal part. A specialised sourcing agent can step in here and help you opt for the right factory equipped with a range of tools, techniques and technology for precision machined parts.

The second most common challenge that you will face comes while negotiating the prices, evaluating different quotes and ensuring the manufacturer understands your stringent technical specifications.

With our office located in China, China Outsourcing ltd can negotiate on your behalf in the local dialect ensuring the manufacturer and the factory workers understand your expectations while obtaining the best quotes and deals. Our Chinese agent’s support is valuable in terms of conducting factory inspection, verification of the supplier’s authenticity and ensuring the parts reach you on time.

Your sourcing agent helps you find reliable machined metal parts manufacturers who are detail-oriented and who are willing to provide you with a sample for your evaluation prior to placing the order.

The best way to protect IPR is to keep the important clever parts in the house. If you do outsource these parts make sure you do not choose a supplier in a parallel industry to your own. It is also worth considering using more than one supplier so that no one supplier holds all of your parts. It also helps if you are an important customer to your supplier as they will not want to do anything to risk losing your business.

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