The Different Types Of Manufacturing Methods And Their Own Advantages

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Manufacturing is the process of converting materials into finished products. It is also called fabrication. Manufacturing produces nearly all of the material things that people use, including food, cars, spacecraft, medical instruments, and furniture. Manufacturing begins with ideas for new products or improved versions of existing products. Research companies then design these items. The items are given to manufacturers, who use special machines and tools to make them. Different types of manufacturing methods have different benefits. 

There are many different types of manufacturing methods available, each with its own advantages.
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Injection Molding

Injection molding is a manufacturing process in which molten plastic is injected into a cavity that has been machined into the shape of the desired part. The plastic cools and hardens to form the part, which is then ejected from the machine. Sometimes injection molding manufacturers use parts ​made of thermoplastics, but may also be made of thermosetting resins or metal. This method has the following benefits:
  • It can make complex shapes.
  • This process is economical for manufacturing large numbers of items efficiently.
  • Parts are produced with relatively good tolerances and finish, which means that their dimensions are very close to the dimensions required by design drawings.
  • It allows the manufacturer complete control over the entire manufacturing process, including the design of the part, the selection of materials to be used, and even the color of the finished items.
  • The process is very fast and allows for continuous production.
  • This method does not require expensive molds or tooling, unlike other manufacturing methods such as die-casting and machining processes.
  • Special coatings and finishes can be applied to the parts after they are ejected from the molding machine.

CNC Machining

Computer numerically controlled (CNC) machining is a manufacturing process in which a computer program tells a machine how to move tooling around on a workpiece to produce the desired shape. The most common CNC machines are milling machines and lathes. This method has the following benefits:
  • It is very efficient in terms of speed and productivity.
  • It is able to produce intricate shapes and perform multiple operations with ease due to the ability to change tools, spindle speeds, and workpiece orientation without human intervention.
  • This method allows for the efficient production of large numbers of parts efficiently.
  • The method is more economical.
  • This method is still less expensive than subtractive methods such as turning and grinding and foundry work.

Subtractive Manufacturing Methods

A subtractive manufacturing process begins with a solid block of material and removes parts, either by breaking it away or by using machining operations to make cuts and form the material into the desired shape. The three most common subtractive manufacturing methods are turning, milling, and drilling. This method has the following benefits:
  • It is very economical for producing small quantities of parts.
  • Parts can be made with a high degree of accuracy and finish.
  • Machining can be used to reduce the overall cost of parts where high precision is not necessary.
  • It can produce intricate shapes accurately.
  • This method allows the manufacturer complete control over the design, material selection, and quality of machined surfaces.
  • Most designs are limited to symmetrical shapes.

Casting

This method of manufacturing is the oldest in existence, with evidence of its use dating back over 4500 years. Casting involves the creation of a mold in order to shape molten metal into the desired part. The molten metal is poured into a mold, which usually consists of two halves that clamp together around the pattern, allowing it to form part of the finished product. Once cooled and solidified, this produces a casting with the desired shape and features. This method has the following benefits:
  • Casting is relatively cheap and only requires the mold to be made.
  • The parts can be cast into very complex shapes.
  • This method can reproduce quite intricate designs.
  • Large quantities of parts can be produced, as the process is not limited by machinery capability.
  • Casting can be carried out to produce parts with a high surface finish.
  • Good dimensional accuracy is achievable.

Die-casting

Die-casting is a manufacturing process in which molten metal is injected into a die (a mold). The metal hardens and takes on the shape of the die. This method has the following benefits:
  • It is very economical for producing medium to high volumes of parts.
  • Parts can be finished to a high degree of accuracy and precision.
  • It is one of the oldest methods for manufacturing metal parts.
  • Generally, this method allows for great design freedom, which can result in more complex shapes with greater structural integrity.
  • This process is widely used for mass-produced products such as switches, connectors, and other electronic components.
  • The process is very fast and can produce parts in large numbers.
  • There is a wide range of alloys that can be used with this method.

Investment Casting

Also known as lost-wax casting, this manufacturing method involves the investment material (a type of castable ceramic) being molded and shaped around a wax pattern. The wax is then melted and drained away, leaving a cavity in the shape of the desired part. Molten metal is then poured into this cavity and allowed to harden. The investment material is then broken away, revealing the finished metal part. This method has the following benefits:
  • Parts can be made with a high degree of accuracy and complexity
  • The surface finish of the part is very smooth
  • It is possible to create intricate details and patterns on the surface of the part
  • The finished part is relatively lightweight
  • The surface of the part is porous and cannot be painted
  • The process works well with ceramics, plastics, wood, and wax patterns
  • It can produce many identical parts which are all checked for quality
  • There is a low risk of damage to the mold
  • The mold material resists corrosion from molten metal
  • It can also be used to create negative or hollow shapes.

Forging

Forging is a manufacturing method that involves the compression of metal at elevated temperature and pressure, causing it to become stronger and more fluid. The term forging is actually derived from the process of hammering or stamping a heated ingot or billet in order to shape it into the desired form. Forging has the following benefits:
  • Forging produces parts with high dimensional accuracy.
  • Forging produces parts with an excellent surface finish.
  • The material grain structure is refined, resulting in improved mechanical properties.
  • The process is very versatile and can be used to produce parts of almost any shape.
  • Forging is a highly efficient manufacturing process, capable of producing large quantities of parts in a short period of time.
Manufacturing methods are diverse and each has its own set of benefits. It is important for manufacturers to understand the different methods available to them so that they can choose the most appropriate method for their needs.

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