Process Development Guide: The Plan Behind the Part

At Camcraft, our customers are often on the leading edge of technology in their respective industries. As they move forward with new designs, they inevitably come to the point where the product must move from the creative phase to the reality of the production line. It’s in this phase of product development that Camcraft can add value to our customer’s product designs

camcraft-jpgs_98What is Process Development?

Process development is the term for all the different activities we do at Camcraft in order to make new and complex components for our customers. This article will take a closer look at the steps involved in process development. It is a collaboration that includes the customer, our engineers, our in-house production specialists, and our production floor.

The Needs of the Customer Come First

The customer knows they require a unique part, and their engineers need a part that performs to perfection time after time. Market realities guide financial inputs. Our job is to produce a win-win solution that functions to specification and delights the customer every time.

Process Development at Camcraft

Thanks to decades of experience, we have a good understanding of common concerns and needs. We prefer to look at process development as a journey, carefully investigating each element in the part’s production with a keen eye on quality and value.

Our engineers look at the specified dimensions, tolerances and the materials before deciding the best way to machine the component. Can anything be changed that would eliminate a step in the process without sacrificing performance? Can we take a standard machine and push it beyond its known capabilities? Would a custom designed machine yield a better result? Is there a new technique we can employ to achieve the same results with less expense?

Agile Business Decisions

Camcraft is known for investing in new equipment to supply our customers with their most-difficult-to-source-components. In this regard, we have a huge advantage over our competitors. Our structure allows us to quickly analyze the merit of an investment and act accordingly – delivering a refined process that meets the cost and functionality requirements of a program.

Process Development: Applied New Technologies

Sometimes fatigue failures occur in metal that is exposed to high pressure and high temperature cycles leading to catastrophic premature component failure. Alternating high and low pressures, exceeding 50,000 psi along with cavitation (the rapid formation and collapse of vapor pockets in a flowing liquid) can cause minute surface imperfections to widen and rupture. These vulnerabilities, a byproduct of any machining process, can be difficult to detect and even harder to prevent when they occur on the small internal passages of a complex component.

Our engineers carefully studied this failure mode and formulated a novel solution. Proprietary technology is applied to walls of the channels to induce compressive residual stress. This micro-pounding creates movement in the metal which causes it to overlap the surface next to it, sealing any unseen fissures. Another technology electrochemical machining (ECM) is used to reach deep into channels and erode metal in complex geometries. This creates an “on ramp” of sorts that allows fluid flow to merge smoothly, minimizing the “rapids” as the liquids meet.

These changes resulted in a solution to the failure problem to the complete satisfaction of our customer. This is just one example of how a holistic process development approach makes a difference.

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Example of custom fixturing developed for an ECM operation.

Is There a Better Way for Your Parts? Talk to Camcraft.

At Camcraft, we are always looking for ways to bring more value to our customers by catalyzing innovation. Our dedicated prototype department, can machine test samples and limited runs of components. Our recently announced partnership with Matrix Design brings more intellectual brainpower to the mix. If there’s a better way to machine your part, we will find it.

A recent video we produced has an overview of process development at Camcraft. You can watch it below.