What is the Difference between a CNC Lathe and a CNC Mill?

A large room with many machines in it

Looking down a factory aisle lined with CNC machines on both sides

CNC lathes and CNC mills are the mainstays of any machine shop. They both perform subtractive machining processes by starting with a block of material and removing material until the finished part emerges.

Although both started as manually controlled apparatus, they are now both capable of being operated by Computer Numerical Controlled programming.

At United Scientific, we have all the equipment and experienced personnel needed to assist our customers with any large or small scale projects. We have what you need from prototyping to producing parts with 99-plus percent accuracy to inventory solutions. Contact us today for more information.

Method of operation

Both the CNC lathe and CNC mill produce precision components, but the process they use to get there sets them apart. The CNC lathe spins a block or cylinder of the workpiece in a chuck, and a static blade is applied to the surface of the spinning stock to remove excess material.

The lathe is considered to be a bit less precise than the CNC mill but is the go-to machine for quick, repeatable, symmetric components. The CNC lathe is best at forming cylindrical, conical, or flat surface shapes.

The CNC mill, on the other hand, holds the metal stock in a vice, and the cutting tools spin on their axis to create precise cuts in the material.

The mill is commonly thought of as more precise and versatile than the CNC lathe.

CNC lathe

What does the CNC lathe do?

The CNC lathe, although limited mainly to cylindrical and conical shapes, does have several machining processes it can apply. This machine can still do some very customized types of machining:

Knurling is the procedure of imprinting a diamond shape or straight-line pattern into the surface of your metal component. This imprinting is accomplished by applying specially shaped and hardened metal wheels to the surface. The result is a better gripping surface on the final part.

Drilling creates holes in the workpiece. You can either use a CNC mill or CNC drill. However, if this is the only other operation needed to complete a part formed on a lathe, it is more cost-effective to drill in place and then use one of the following procedures; boring, reaming, or tapping, to complete the project.

Boring removes material from an inner surface with a single-point cutting tool, resulting in an enlarged and trued up a hole. Drilling is usually not an accurate method for hole placement, thus the need to drill an undersized hole and then enlarge and true-up, by the boring process.

Reaming is the operation used when you only need to finish up the surface of the already drilled area. If your hole is drilled to within 0.004 to 0.012 inches of its finished size, you may need to use a final reaming procedure to bring the part up to spec.

Tapping is the operation used to add screw threads to your pre-existing drilled hole. Like the initial drilling, you can accomplish this on a CNC mill machine as well, but it may be more cost-effective if this is the only additional physical feature to add.

Eccentric turning is when a component has multiple holes with offset axes. Crankshafts and camshafts are examples of where this technique is employed.

Facing creates a flat surface, perpendicular to the axis, at the end of the piece.

Chamfering creates beveled edges on the workpiece. A bevel can soften the side of the piece created by facing and may facilitate assembly with mating parts.

CNC mill

What does the CNC mill do?

The CNC mill is considered more precise and versatile than the lathe and can perform numerous different operations as well. A mill also has more cutting blades and is capable of cutting out more intricate designs.

Drilling can be done on a milling machine if the hole you are creating is greater than 1.5mm, and its depth is less than four times its diameter. It is best to complete anything smaller or with more depth on a drilling machine.

Slot cutting involves cutting grooves, usually using side and face cutters, to any length, width, and depth your material will allow, and can be open or closed. You can also create pockets, or non-circular cuts into a material surface, using slot cutting.

Planing is a process similar to using a woodworking planer but on metal. One use for this process is to reduce the thickness of a metal plate.

Rebating cuts grooves or slots into the edge of a piece for visual appeal.

Engraving is the art of carving a design into a surface. A CNC milling machine is capable of engraving anything from a serial number to elaborate artistic embellishments.

CNC mill engraving the word "Ready" into a metal plate

Compare and contrast

Although initially intended to cut metal, current machines can cut foam, plastic, and fiber-reinforced plastics as well as a wide range of metal and metal alloys.

Both the CNC lathe and CNC mill are invaluable pieces of equipment. Each with its distinct uses.

The CNC lathe is simple to use and simple to program but is somewhat limited to cylindrical and conical turnings.

As described above, the CNC mill is the workhorse of the machine shop. The milling machine is versatile, consistent, and with a little maintenance can run continuously for long periods.

There is a difference in the installation process of each machine. The CNC lathe requires the chuck jaws installed at an equal distance from the center. Therefore, requiring many measurements. While setting up the CNC mill machine is less complicated.

The only drawback is that with more complex finished pieces comes more complex programming, exact tooling requirements, and the use of coolant and other process adaptations to keep machine and tooling maintenance to a minimum.

Whether you are looking for quick, repeatable pieces manufactured on a lathe, or complex shapes and surfaces requiring intricate CNC programming, United Scientific is ready to handle your request. Our machinists deliver on time and with 99% accuracy. We can even help you with everything from your upfront prototyping to innovative inventory solutions.

Contact our expert staff today to get started on your next project.

Best Tips for Machining Titanium

A black and white photo of an airplane

Front shot of SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3 aircraft

Heat resistant, lightweight, strong, and malleable all describe some of the remarkable properties of titanium. But those same properties can make it a challenge when it comes to machining titanium components.

Uses for titanium include aerospace, automotive, medical, sporting goods, healthcare, marine, consumer products, building and architecture, art, chemical processing, and refining — a somewhat exhaustive, but not a complete list of industries currently taking advantage of those characteristics in the latest designs for their products.

Here at United Scientific, we have manufactured components for all of these industries. With a 99-plus percent accuracy rate, we have experts at the ready who know how to handle titanium’s challenges. Contact us today for a quote on your next project.

What makes titanium so unique?

Titanium is a chemical element that comprises .44% of the earth’s crust. Only magnesium, iron, and aluminum exceed this element’s abundance.

Almost all soils, rocks, sands, and clay contain titanium. Up until the 1950s, though, extracting pure titanium was just an interesting metallurgical lab experiment.

Pure titanium is less than twice as dense as aluminum and half as dense as iron. The metal is ductile, has a low thermal and electrical conductivity, and is weakly magnetic.

In the 1950s, the Kroll process was developed at an industrial level to extract titanium from ilmenite or rutile ore. The ore is heat-treated with carbon and chlorine, resulting in titanium tetrachloride.

The titanium tetrachloride is then mixed with molten magnesium and undergoes additional steps to extract the titanium and form it into ingots. These ingots are then processed into milling materials such as tubing, wire, bar, sheets, and plates.

The metal’s characteristics of high strength, low density, and corrosion resistance make it the optimal choice for air and spacecraft. Not reacting with fleshy tissue or bone also makes it the perfect choice for prosthetic devices.

Yet with all these excellent metal characteristics, titanium metal production accounts for only 5 percent of annual usage. The rest goes to the pigment industry, most often in the form of titanium oxide, used in high-gloss paints, ceramics, plastics, inks, and much more.

Model of human molar complete, model of similar molar with titanium screw replacing root

Titanium applications

Sporting goods

The world’s lightest bicycle weighs only 6 lbs due to titanium being the core material. The high strength to weight ratio of this metal makes it ideal for a variety of sporting goods applications.

Golf club heads are another example of this lightweight metal put to use. While possible to make these heads of steel, aluminum, wood, or graphite, titanium is still one of the most popular choices.

Medical devices

Bone is roughly the same density as titanium and adheres freely to this exemplary metal. Titanium is considered one of the most biocompatible metals available. It is not absorbed by the human body, thus allowing it to stay in place for extended periods with no adverse effects.

This longevity and innocuousness make it ideal for surgical implants like joint replacements, dental implants, and heart stents. It’s high-strength, but low-weight properties of the materials also make it excellent for surgical tools.

Aerospace industry

One of the first uses of titanium alloys in the aerospace industry was in the structure and skin of the SR-71 “Blackbird†airplane. The SR-71 took its first flight in December 1964 and eventually reached a speed record of Mach 3.5, which it held for over 30 years.

The reason titanium was so essential to this aircraft was that all other metals at those speeds melted in flight. Within the last decade, aircraft frames and engines consumed approximately 72% of all titanium metal produced.

Marine applications

The corrosion resistance of titanium lends itself well to marine applications as well. Propeller shafts, components in desalination plants, scientific ocean monitoring devices, and divers’ equipment are just a few places where this versatile metal comes into play.

Moving table with bandsaw cutting large titanium plate

Machining titanium tips

The same characteristics that make titanium so versatile, also present some unique challenges when it comes to machining titanium.

Keep it cool

Titanium’s low thermal conductivity may be an advantage in some end-use applications but causes it to trap heat in the tools. First, choose tools made for high heat jobs such as coated high-speed steel tools.

Increasing feed rates may also allow the heat to transfer into the chip instead, preventing the tools from degenerating so quickly due to heat transfer.

Another way to help your tools keep it cool is with the generous use of cutting fluids and coolants. Using coolant fed cutting tools is an excellent way to precisely control the coolant path.

Use a tool with a smaller diameter. A smaller tool allows more coolant and airflow around the tool and surface, keeping working temperatures lower.

Keep it stable

Because titanium is so ductile, yet durable, the forces needed for machining can easily cause the piece to vibrate or chatter. You need a very stable cutting surface.

Although recommending increasing feed rates previously, to transfer heat to the chips, make sure you keep your speeds and feeds consistent, or this can also induce more chatter.

Keep it clean and sharp

Add high pressure pumps to prevent chips from washing back into the tool zone and cutting path.

Keep your tools sharp. A dull tool causes heat to build up in a situation where the temperature is already an issue. Since titanium is relatively more expensive than steel or aluminum, wasted parts due to tooling failure is not an option.

Mendeleev's Periodic Table titanium cube

An advantage for every application

The initial expense may seem like a disadvantage to this versatile metal. Still, when you factor in its durability, this metal may prove to be a more cost-effective material in the long run.

Other than that initial per piece expense, and challenges in machining titanium, the advantages of this multifaceted metal far outweigh the disadvantages. Titanium compares to steel for strength yet is durable and ductile.

Its natural corrosion resistance makes it ideal for marine applications. The metal’s high strength to weight ratio makes it the material of choice for the aerospace industry.

That same lightweight property and biocompatibility lend itself perfectly to the medical industry for tools and implants.

When you need experience, precision, and accuracy for your next titanium machining job, contact the experts at United Scientific. Let us make sure you take advantage of everything titanium has to offer on your next project.

Top Tips for the CNC Programmer

A man in black shirt operating machine with blue gloves.

Man programming CNC machine

In the world of CNC (Computer Numerical Controlled) machining, precise cutting technique and certain finished products rely on so much more than computers alone.

Though digital design and cutting instructions have improved part accuracy several-fold over the years, a significant amount of “art†and user experience accompanies the science of superior cutting for every CNC programmer.

Whether you’ve just graduated from a CNC program or have been turning parts for years, the following tips and tricks can help you refine your skills and improve your accuracy outcomes.

For a reliable partner in CNC machining across a wide range of projects and industries, contact United Scientific. Our accuracy is second-to-none at 99-plus percent, and we can handle any size job from small custom part orders to large-scale machining collaborations.

Call us today for the parts you require, the delivery you need, and the service you want.

cnc milling machine - spindle with blue cutter

Revisit the basics often

Though CNC programmers often get more skilled with time and practice, the best machinists rely on the consistent practice of CNC fundamentals. When’s the last time you:

    • Checked your math: with each project you machine, it’s smart to “measure twice and cut once,†as the saying goes. In your design phase, be sure to measure the specs carefully you’ll need for the finished product or part and check your programming directions in your CAD software. Be mindful of software limitations like curved lines. Many programs plot out curves or circles as a series of chords rather than a true curved surface. Digital part precision is only as good as the math used to create it. Here’s a trusted resource for brushing up on your measuring and geometry skills, as they pertain to CNC.
    • Honed your critical thinking skills: in the field of precision machining, it’s essential to make sound decisions on the fly, especially in large-scale projects that depend on accuracy as well as efficiency. Refining your measurements, tolerances, and finished surfaces is a continual process as the job rolls out. Staying vigilant with the quality of your output and diligence of your operator team is crucial to achieving the highest accuracy and functionality with each part or project you design. Good CNC cutting and turning are not about “setting it and forgetting it.â€
    • Got to know your machine from a programming standpoint: CNC programming is all about a unique form of communication. CNC programmers must be skilled linguists and translators in both machine and programming languages. Knowing your machine’s axes (3 or 5?) components (spindles, blades, and stages), and programmable functions and visualizing how the machine will carry out your design are essential to programming a functional, precise part.

Older gentleman sitting, looking at a 3D model on a computer screen with younger man leaning over to see


Now, refine your technique

Here are several ways to improve your programming, cutting, and finishing on your next projects.

  1. Perfect your 3D modeling. A perfected design results in a more precise product.
  2. Use a heavy sacrificial block to minimize vibration
    • For example, if your part material is relatively lightweight, like with plastics, or metals like aluminum, a heavier sacrificial block placed beneath your machined block can reduce micro errors or rough finishes caused by excessive vibration. If your machined material is plastic, place two sacrificial blocks as a foundation, one matching the machined material, and one of a heavier weight for vibration reduction.
  3. Assume there will be errors, and design with them in mind. If you know your machine has limitations on things like precise edges, inside curves vs. outside curves, and more, allow for those errors and troubleshoot them in the design phase.
  4. Consider accuracy and machine wear-and-tear trade-offs. In other words, if you know your machine will deliver a laser-fine edge but will need to spend 3 hours doing it, decide how to prioritize the longevity of your machine over the precision of the edge in question.
  5. Place as many alignment features as possible on the same side of your piece. Having to drill or cut multiple alignment features like holes for screws or dowels on opposite sides of a plate increases the risk for errors. Address this issue in your design and programming phase for more finished pieces that work like they’re supposed to.
  6. Carefully prep your cutting surface. Make sure each block to be cut has an even surface for taping (to the sacrificial block).
  7. Tape your material liberally to the sacrificial block before cutting. And, to guarantee effective adhesion, be sure both taped surfaces are smooth, clean, and damage-free, or else you may get unwanted slippage during the machining process.
  8. Don’t overdo the cutting fluid. You’ll need the lubrication and cooling that cutting fluid can provide, but too much can seep down between the sacrificial block and the machined block, causing slippage.
  9.  You can also use “roughing†to outline the final cuts of your piece before making them. This is where your mill traces an outline of your programmed cuts into your block, or cuts away the basic shape of your product before finishing the piece.
  10. Use bigger mills first and do as much with them as you can. This step increases efficiency and reduces wear and tear on your smaller mills and blades for your true detail work.
  11. Manipulate your machines’ feed rates for the best results. You may be able to use the factory presets on your machine, but sometimes a customizable feed is your best bet. As your project rolls out, be ready to adjust your feed times for optimal efficiency and accuracy once you begin getting data on the finished product.

Closeup of two pairs of hand wearing work gloves lifting a block of metal for machining with a forklift in the background

United Scientific: your partner in CNC best practices

For accuracy, precision, experience, and expertise in CNC manufacturing, partner with United Scientific. Our team can assist you with all phases of the machining process, from design to finishing. Our 99-plus percent accuracy rating means your parts achieve optimal function and tolerance every time.

We handle small and large projects, and everything in between, customized to your unique applications and specifications. We always measure (at least) twice.

Contact us today to get started producing the precise parts you need for any size project in nearly any industry.

Process Improvement for the CNC Machining Process

A group of people in hard hats working on machinery.

Two machinists adjusting a milling component

Every manufacturer knows that eliminating waste via process improvements reduces costs. They also know that removing variation in processes results in the most accurate and repeatable product.

The experts at United Scientific have incorporated continuous process improvement throughout the shop because they want to produce the highest quality part at the lowest cost.

Read on to learn more about applying process improvement techniques to the CNC Machining process. Then contact United Scientific to get started on your next component manufacturing project.

Group of light bulbs with shining fibers in a shape of Change Management, Strategy, Solution and Innovation concept related words isolated on black background

What is Process Improvement?

Process Improvement is just what it sounds like. It is looking at the processes involved in running your business, from accepting customer orders to moving materials in the warehouse, to the machine settings used to fabricate a part, and improving them.

You can implement many Process Improvement tools on the shop floor.  These tools are grouped into broader improvement categories such as Lean and Six Sigma. These quality methods utilize tools such as 5S, Kanban Systems, Single Minute Exchange of Dies, and Standardized Work, among many others.

Below, we’ll cover a variety of these tools that are most commonly put to use when machining parts.  To see any of these continuous improvement tools in action on the shop floor, contact USI to get a quote on your next component fabrication project.

Two men adjusting the controls on an automated milling machine

It takes teamwork

Process Improvement takes a team effort. Gathering stakeholders in different departments around the company with varying levels of experience will enhance input for improvements.

Pulling in members from adjoining functions like material handling and accounting can round out improvements for optimal efficiency in production.

It’s imperative to include someone from the finance side of the business.  Being efficient on the job floor usually requires requesting materials and closing jobs in a cost tracking system.

Be sure to include someone with an in-depth understanding of the specific steps required to issue materials or close a shop floor job, to track costs correctly.

Another added benefit of including personnel not directly involved in the machining process itself is that they provide fresh eyes and a new perspective. Inviting innovation means thinking outside the box without judgement until reaching team consensus on the best process.

Be sure also to include those experienced in the process. People with expertise, experience, and longevity can remind everyone of past lessons learned.

Improving the “wheel†over reinventing it may be the goal of process improvement. However, re-creating all the failed models along the way is best avoided.

Always be on the lookout for whether the “wheel†is in fact obsolete and easily replaced by something entirely different. A key takeaway for process improvement is staying flexible in your approach.

Define your problem

Figure out if you are solving a problem from a 10,000 ft perspective or a 10 ft perspective.  For example, are you trying to determine why production output has decreased by 10% in the last quarter (10,000f t)? Or, do you wonder why machine #3 only yields 80% accuracy when fabricating part XYZ (10 ft)?

Defining the problem also prevents “scope creep†from occurring, so your end product doesn’t turn into a 300-page manual. Keep your areas of process improvement precise and clear. Now, write a brief description of the problem and include:

  • the metric used to measure the improvement,
  • where the problem is occurring,
  • the time frame over which the problem has been happening, and
  • the magnitude of the problem.

The words Act, Plan, Try, Review around the word Improve

Select your process

Before you can choose which process improvement tool to use, understand the strengths of each tool. Let’s look at a few here.

Is/Is Not Matrix – is often used to help define the problem.  In simplest terms, look at what, why, when, where, who, and how, and ask what is it and what is it not?  Where is it? Where is it not?

Write a concluding statement to each of the questions above to define your overall project scope and potential first steps.

Follow up this particular exercise with another process improvement tool like the 5 Whys or the Fishbone Diagram.

5S – is a process for Sorting, Setting in order, Shining, Standardizing, and Sustaining your work environment. It eliminates waste and lost time due to a poorly organized work area.

Check sheets – also referred to as location or concentration diagrams, are used to collect and display data. The data collected can be used to identify the location of an issue, the frequency, patterns in defects or downtime, etc.

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) – provides a measure to track how well you eliminate waste from the process.  Check out this article for a more in-depth explanation.

Bottleneck analysis – finds the weakest link in the manufacturing process.

Value stream mapping – charts a current state and a future state and then provides a means of mapping out how to eliminate waste and make process changes to reach the optimal future state.

Fishbone Diagram – starts with listing out a problem definition in the head, then identifies the significant factors involved. Included in the diagram and manpower, method, material, and machine as major bones. In a fishbone diagram, you’ll continue creating “bones” off of each of the significant factors and identify causes to eliminate.

Plan – Do – Check – Act (PDCA) – applies scientific experimentation methods to a manufacturing process. First, propose an improvement (Plan), then implement the improvement (Do), evaluate the results (Check), and refine and propose new changes (Act).

Spaghetti Diagram – provides a map of the physical flow that material or documentation travels throughout a manufacturing process. This diagram can be useful in identifying wasted travel times or ways to streamline complexities.

All of these processes are helpful in both micro and macro levels of manufacturing. For example, 5S could review the entire production floor layout, or it could look specifically at the tool and material locations around a given machine.

Be better!

At United Scientific, we use process improvement to create parts with a 99-plus percent accuracy factor and yielding only 131 defective parts per million. For superior accuracy, and high quality, precision parts, contact United Scientific.

Let their experience in process improvement make your next project outcome the best it can be.


Parts Manufacturing With Subtractive vs Additive Methods

A table with many different types of metal parts.

Samples of stainless steel metal parts

Making the right manufacturing choices is crucial for quality products and a successful business.

If you’re involved in designing, building, sourcing, or purchasing metal components, you’ll want to understand the differences between subtractive and additive manufacturing.

You’ll also want to know when it’s better to choose one of these manufacturing methods over the other.

There are a few things you’ll want to know about your finished part when choosing between subtractive and additive manufacturing. For example, the size, the volume, the finish, and the materials used all affect the decision.

Here at United Scientific, we’ll help ensure your parts manufacturing choices meet all your needs. We’ll help you determine what is the best parts manufacture process for your project — subtractive or additive manufacturing.

What’s the difference between subtractive and additive manufacturing?

It’s easy to remember the most significant difference between additive manufacturing and subtractive manufacturing. Here’s why: the two terms mean just what they sound like they say.

Subtractive manufacturing starts with a single piece of material, such as metal, glass, or plastic. There are also some composites and woods that can be used.

Then, the manufacturer removes any part of the material not needed until only the desired manufactured product remains.

Additive manufacturing analyzes the finished product and then builds it “from the ground up,†layer by layer. Once all the layers are assembled, the product is complete. Materials are often plastic composites and may be more flexible.

 Close up of CNC machine at work with coolant streams

More About Subtractive Manufacturing

Here’s an easy way to understand subtractive manufacturing: Visualize a sculptor chiseling away marble to leave behind a beautifully detailed statue made out of one piece of stone.

Subtractive manufacturing is a similar process. You start with one solid piece of material, and sections are removed until you’re left with the finished product you want.

The removal process can be done manually, but most often, it’s done with Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining. CNC uses computer technology to ensure the removal process is precisely accurate and replicable on a large scale.

Now, you might be wondering: how is the material removed? Lasering, drilling, and boring are just a few of the ways unneeded sections can be removed.

Many different materials can be used with subtractive manufacturing, but aluminum and stainless steel are popular options. Glass, nylon, and composite materials can also be used.

3D printer printing blue wavy shaped part

More About Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing builds a part layer by layer. Often, a computer program like CAD is used to create a 3D model that is then “sliced†into layers that the 3D printer (the most common additive manufacturing tool today) produces.

Parts made from additive manufacturing may need additional work after they are manufactured. For example, the finish may be wrong, or there may be support structures that need to be removed.

There are many different materials that can be used in additive manufacturing, such as nylon or resin. However, material selection is more limited in additive manufacturing than in subtractive manufacturing.

When Should You Choose Subtractive Manufacturing?

You might want to choose subtractive manufacturing if:

  • The part is made of metal. While it is possible to use metal in additive manufacturing, it’s usually cost-prohibitive.
  • Durability is important. Because the item is from one solid piece, there are no seams or weak spots. The durability of subtractive manufactured goods has made them a popular choice for aircraft manufacturing, for example.
  • You want a smooth finish. The lack of lines might mean less work post-manufacturing, depending on your desired outcome.
  • Stringent specifications or sharp angles are required. Using CNC machining results in more consistency and detailed precision.
  • The part is needed in high volume. Subtractive manufacturing with CNC machining is fast and is an excellent choice if you need a large number of identical parts.
  • Industry qualified materials are required. The automobile industry is one industry that relies heavily on subtractive CNC manufacturing.
  • The part is large. Building a large part from “nothing,†as is done with additive manufacturing, can take a long time and diminish the stability and sturdiness of the piece. On the other hand, subtractive manufacturing is a quicker process.
  • There is a near-net-shape part produced by additive manufacturing that needs to be finished. Hybrid manufacturing is an option, and subtractive manufacturing is usually the last step.

CNC machining with sparks shooting out

When Should You Choose Additive Manufacturing?

You might want to choose additive manufacturing if:

  • The design is exceptionally complex geometrically. Intricate models and minor changes are more difficult and costly to make with subtractive manufacturing.
  • Only a few copies of the part are required. Additive manufacturing can be an excellent choice for prototypes or samples.
  • The turnaround time is incredibly short. It is quicker to program a 3D printer than a CNC subtractive machine, so if you need your part in a day, choose additive manufacturing.
  • The material for the part is flexible. Subtractive manufacturing works better with more rigid materials.
  • Limiting waste is crucial for your business. Since the part is built layer by layer, there’s less wasted material to discard when finished, and compostable plastics can even be used. (However, it’s not entirely waste-free and will still require waste-management efforts.)
  • The part has a hollow center. Additive manufacturing is more efficient at creating pieces with hollow interior sections.
  • The part is small. The layered construction method means the finished product isn’t as structurally solid as an item manufactured subtractively.

Can you use both additive and subtractive manufacturing together?

Some clients find that the best way to complete a project is to create a hybrid part, one made using both subtractive and additive manufacturing.

Typically, a hybrid manufacturing process means the geometrically complex pieces are completed using additive manufacturing. Then subtractive manufacturing is used for precision elements.

Need help getting started?

Starting your manufacturing process right is essential. Reach out to United Scientific today to discuss your manufacturing needs and how we can help you fulfill them.

Safety Basics for Machining Companies

A chalkboard with the words work safety written on it.

gloves, work boots, safety goggles, hard hat on a wood plank background w/ "work safety" written on a framed chalkboard

In any industry that utilizes any type of machinery, the absolute number one rule everyone knows is “Safety First.†When machining companies don’t take safety seriously, serious accidents happen.

That’s why we take safety seriously at United Scientific. We serve machining companies that take every precaution to make sure their employees and customers are safe, so we do the same.

If you are looking for a partner that takes safety as seriously as you do, look no further than United Scientific. Not only do we provide the highest quality materials, but we also do so in a manner that surpasses safety standards.

How We Stay Safe

Each one of the employees at United Scientific is well-trained in safety. We know you don’t cut corners in your business, so our employees don’t cut corners in their own safety.

Personal Safety

There are a few basic rules all of our employees follow, and they are likely similar to your safety guidelines.

  • Always wear appropriate clothing.
  • Never wear loose clothing.
  • Steel-toed shoes are STRONGLY encouraged.
  • Secure or cover hair and facial hair.
  • Always be aware of and use proper safety equipment, including safety goggles, respirators, gloves, aprons, or coats.

danger placard held by a clasp held by a safety lock

Machine Safety

When it comes to operating machinery, it is essential everyone operating the machine knows the basic rules.

  • Know and follow the lockout or tag-out procedures.
  • Ensure all tools are in good, working condition with no chips, cracks, or burrs.
  • Only work on a machine you are trained or certified to use.

Workplace Safety

Employers know that a factory or workplace is only as good as its employees and the quality of the machines. If your workplace is not safe, the quality of the product suffers.

At United Scientific, like most other machining companies, we focus on keeping the workplace safe.

  • Keep each work area clean.
  • Return every tool to its proper place.
  • Walk or stand in designated safe areas only.
  • Always know where the first aid and eyewash stations are located.

Why We Stay Safe

It might seem obvious why safety is paramount. However, it is essential to employees why focusing on safety is critical, and why it should happen every day at every station.

  • Focusing on safety minimizes injuries.
  • Focusing on safety ensures equipment is used correctly and eliminates faulty mechanisms or tools.
  • Focusing on safety ensures the highest quality parts for the least amount of dollars.
  • Focusing on safety means no downtime due to not following procedures.

Check out the 10 Commandments of Good Safety Habits here.

man with industrial hand injury

Essential Safety Tips

With all of these safety focuses in mind, it’s time to focus on some safety tips. As a profitable business, you must be able to produce high-quality items customers trust at a reasonable price in the most efficient way possible.

Focusing on safety is the key to all of this and more. Read on for some essential safety tips that are always in place at United Scientific.

Take Extra Steps When Necessary

Most heavy machinery comes with safety mechanisms like safety interlocks. However, some machines don’t, or they aren’t in all parts of the machine. If you have a machine without a built-in safety mechanism, add one.

While we are NOT advocating altering your machine, it is perfectly acceptable to add a sign or a barrier. Furthermore, ensure you thoroughly train all of your operators on which areas need extra consideration.

This rule is especially true with newer operators that don’t have experience with that particular machine. To avoid catastrophic accidents, clearly label all areas with the appropriate precautions.

A simple way to keep your operators safe is to have a sign or warning telling each operator when the machine is back in its home position, or when it is safe to open a compartment.

Finally, allow each new operator to complete a dry run on all new machinery without stock or tools. This step will allow everyone working on the machine to see and understand the process without risk of injury or damage to products.

Clean and Maintain all Machines

Cleaning and maintaining all of your machines has multiple benefits. Obviously, a clean machine runs better, ensuring the operator is safer while working with it. When the machine is up to date on all maintenance and free of debris or residue, there is less chance of malfunction.

Furthermore, a clean and well-maintained machine will extend the life of the machine. Not only will the machine last longer, but it will also produce high-quality parts for longer.

Industry Worker working on cnc machine in metal industry factory

Utilize All Essential Safety Equipment

Ensuring each of your operators uses the correct PPE, personal protective equipment, is vital. It is up to the employer to provide training and equipment, so every employee meets the correct standards set by OSHA.

Proper PPE doesn’t stop at the eyes and feet. Consider protection for ears, hands, faces, and bodies when necessary. Even if the machine has a suitable enclosure and specific protection is not required, it is always wise to utilize appropriate foot, eye, and ear protection.

Along with using the correct personal protective equipment, ensure every employee knows where the first aid and eyewash stations are. To be even more secure, provide regular training to all employees on how to use these stations.

Have a Checklist

Having a checklist all employees must complete before clocking in or out for the day can ensure safety measures are always being met. A few examples might be:

  • Wear all appropriate PPE:
    • Safety Goggles
    • Protective Gloves
    • Respirators
    • Proper Clothing
    • Proper Shoes
  • Inspect your machine and all parts before operating. Ensure there are no loose bolts, screws, or other components.
  • Slow down! Do not rush the machine or feeds. Not only can you get hurt, but you can also damage the machine.
  • Pay attention! Don’t leave your machine unattended. Listen to your machine while it is operating. If something sounds wrong, stop and inspect it.
  • Always follow the appropriate procedures for lockout before doing any work to a machine.
  • Be a professional! Never goof around or play around machines.
  • Clean up after yourself. This includes your machine and your workspace.

Let United Scientific Partner With You

United Scientific is the partner you are looking for that cares about safety and quality of the product. We focus on safety and providing the best parts at the most competitive prices.

What is Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)?

Two men in blue overalls are looking at a machine.

Two workmen operating machines in modern industrial shop standing by control panel and pushing buttons

Makers of Things, this article is dedicated to you. In any production line, all stakeholders benefit from Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). The ability to produce or receive high-quality parts and products at the lowest price, and the quickest turn-around should be a primary goal for all CNC operators.

From food service to rocket mechanics, your productivity hinges on the achievability of top OEE. At United Scientific, our CNC operators understand the ins and outs of overall equipment effectiveness. OEE is a metric we use to improve our efficiency regularly.

Join us as we break down the components of OEE and show you what to look for in a highly effective parts manufacturer. When only the best CNC collaborator will do for your product or part, United Scientific stands ready. Contact us today to discuss your precision cutting and part production project.

The moving parts of overall equipment effectiveness

One might think that quality or on-time delivery alone signals a high OEE score. In fact, there are three components to achieving top marks for OEE. They are:

  • Availability
  • Performance
  • Quality

Let’s define those terms in depth.

Pale blue mirrored letters OEE on gray gray upturned arrows


The availability metric of OEE is a product of Planned Production Time, Planned Stops, and Unplanned Stops in production.

In other words, if your factory runs from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday, a 100% Availability score means there are no stops in production during your open hours. A perfect availability score each day is not realistic.

Every production line will encounter equipment breakage or downtime, as well as material shortage from time to time. Other unplanned stops may involve staff shortages or other personnel issues while the line is scheduled to run.

Planned stops include regular equipment maintenance, cleaning, shift change over, process set-up, or something else. Though it would seem that unplanned stops affect the OEE availability the most, the truth is that planned stops have the largest negative impact on availability.

If your shop has inefficient maintenance schedules, long and lingering shift changes, or unclear set-up instructions for your shop floor team, these phenomena can drag down your availability score quickly.


The performance metric of OEE measures actual cycle time or run rate against ideal cycle time or run rate. In other words, if at our best we could complete a production cycle in 45 minutes, but instead only complete it in one hour, our performance metric would only be 75%.

Slow cycles and small stops contribute to a lower performance score. Whenever your line sits ready-but-idle, constitutes a small stop. Reduced speed on your production line defines a slow cycle.

Old equipment breaks or runs slowly. Machines have their quirks and must be reset. Lubrication runs out, and production materials come in different quality grades. Operators have varying levels of experience and expertise.

All of these “kinks†can slow production or stop it for just a few moments to enact a quick or routine “fix.â€

Since production equipment and personnel are fallible from time to time, small repairs or settings adjustments seem like a frustrating but normal part of manufacturing. Many shops become “blind†to these performance-suckers because they happen with such regularity.

However, when slow cycles and small stops pile up, those seemingly “routine†stoppages can have a disastrous effect on performance metrics. It’s smart to periodically evaluate your reasons for slow cycles and small stops so you can proactively reduce their frequency.

Engineer wearing a yellow hard hat and safety glasses inspects a manufactured part while holding a laptop computer


The quality measure of OEE has everything to do with finished product output. Any imperfect pieces that must be reworked or scrapped will bring down overall OEE.

If you’re striving for a 100% quality score, that means every part you machine must come out to acceptable selling quality. It’s nearly impossible to hit a 100% quality score consistently, as there will always be defective or rejected parts that can be reworked and sold in any project.

Making sense of OEE and setting realistic goals

Of course, any machining or production shop wants a 100% OEE score all the time, right? However, with three independent scoring factors, an A+ in OEE is likely the unicorn you’ll never capture.

A company’s OEE score is a product of Availability x Performance x Quality. Even if each criteria scores 85%, the composite OEE score comes out significantly lower than each individual marker.

On a positive note, improving even one of your OEE component scores will raise your overall OEE. As a company, you’ll likely have one score where you can truly be a rockstar when you apply conscious effort and sound strategy.

As a benchmark, an OEE score of 85% puts you in a world-class category. If you’re not close to that mark yet, consider setting realistic goals for incremental improvement.

For example, if you’ve noticed your shift changes lack a sense of urgency, consider rallying your shop floor team leads. Perhaps you can empower your team to innovate ways to help staff keep production lines running at top speed even as employees change locations on line.

What if the bottleneck in your production is an old and worn out cutter?

A strict budget for the short-term goal of replacing a cantankerous piece of equipment makes sense to increase OEE for long-term productivity.

Two machinists and one supervisor standing around a piece of CNC machining equipment

Increasing OEE is a team effort

When your team knows and understands why OEE is essential to the company’s success and how they benefit from that, OEE scores may be easier to improve.

Gaining valuable input from operators as well as motivation from the top leadership down is essential in achieving and maintaining a high OEE score.

When you get serious about elevating your OEE score, be sure to include all stakeholders in goal setting and benchmarking for success.

Outsource your OEE with United Scientific

At United Scientific, we machine parts with superior precision for each client we serve. We partner with a wide variety of sectors, from automotive to medical devices, and many industries in between.

Contact us today and see how our attention to OEE in our parts production can work for your application.

What Can You Make with Fiber Reinforced Plastic?

A close up of a drill bit on top of a keyboard

The milling machine processes the plastic blank

The manufacturing world has transformed drastically over the decades as materials have become stronger, lighter, and more readily available. One of the most innovative changes has been the introduction of fiber-reinforced plastic. This incredible product helped revolutionize many industries.

With the advent of CNC machining, fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) now has many applications. The experts at United Scientific Inc. use computer numerical control processes to craft what you need from FRP for all your design and building needs. We work with expertise, accuracy, and precision on all of your projects.

If you’re ready to see what FRP can do for your business, take a look at all the possible applications.

What Is Fiber-Reinforced Plastic?

Also called fiber-reinforced polymer, FRP is a composite material. It consists of a plastic matrix that has fibers in it made of a different material. These fibers are usually glass or carbon, and they serve to reinforce the plastic to make it stronger without adding significant weight.

The plastic matrix, on its own, is prone to breakage under high heat or pressure. It is quite weak. But with the addition of the fibers, the product suddenly can handle more demanding tasks. This strength, without a lot of weight, makes FRP an ideal product for many industries.

Toy parts designed and precisely cut out by a CNC machine from a sheet of ABS plastic.

Benefits of Fiber-Reinforced Plastic

This incredible material offers tremendous advantages over stand-alone plastics.

  • Corrosion Resistance – Because of its ability to maintain integrity, even in water, FRP is excellent for maritime applications. The material remains intact, no matter the environment.
  • Lightweight – FRP is exceptionally light for its strength and durability, making it perfect for civil engineering and aerospace projects.
  • High Strength – The simple addition of fibers to the plastic matrix vastly increases the strength of the product. FRP is highly valued in civil engineering and seismic retrofitting projects for this reason.
  • Impact Resistance – Panels made of FRP retain their shape and integrity even in collisions.
  • Moisture Resistance – Fiber-reinforced plastic won’t warp, crack, or mold when exposed to water. This property makes FRP perfect for oceanic uses.
  • Environmental Friendliness – Since FRP has excellent durability on its own, it does not require hazardous coatings to protect it from the elements. FRP’s long lifespan means it does not require frequent replacement, so there is less waste.
  • Cost-Effectiveness – Compared to other high-end or unique building materials, fiber-reinforced plastic tends to be lower in cost and much more economical.
  • Exceptional Thermal Properties – FRP products provide excellent insulation, making them the perfect choice for many uses.

Engineers, designers, and builders know that FRP is a game-changer for their businesses. With the availability of this incredibly durable, lightweight, and relatively inexpensive product, the sky’s the limit.

Inlet manifold of car engine with fuel injection. Shallow depth of field with the manifold in focus.

Who Uses Fiber-Reinforced Plastic?

FRP panels show up in all kinds of applications. No matter where you are in the supply chain, there is likely to be a use for fiber-reinforced plastic. The highly-prized benefits of this material make it ideal for parts manufacturers, designers, and builders. The top industry users of FRP are:

  • Aerospace Industry – The high strength and low weight of FRP make it perfect for aeronautical applications. Aerospace engineers and design teams require materials that can withstand significant pressure and can handle vast changes in temperature. Fiber-reinforced plastic fits the bill.
  • Maritime Industry – Because FRP is less likely to corrode than other materials, it is an ideal candidate for shipping and oceanic purposes. The strength and low weight are also necessary for this industry.
  • Civil Engineering – Structural projects such as bridges, skyscrapers, and seismic updates benefit from the use of fiber-reinforced plastic. In particular, FRP is ideal for projects that involve retrofitting and upgrading existing structures.
  • Automotive Industry – With an unmatched strength-to-weight ratio, FRP is perfectly-suited to car manufacturing. From gas pedals to intake manifolds, this miracle product provides just what the engineer and design crews need to make their ideas a reality.
  • Construction Industry – Aluminum doors and windows often have FRP coatings for insulation.
  • Sporting Goods – FRP no longer exists solely in big engineering industries. It is making its way into homes, gyms, and clubs as part of sports equipment. Hockey sticks, rackets, and bike frames can all make use of FRP products. Sporting items with fiber-reinforced plastic are very lightweight, improving the player’s performance.
  • Other Consumer Goods – As FRP becomes more mainstream, it’s showing up in guitar picks, violin bows, instrument cases, and remote-controlled items. Drone manufacturers also rely on fiber-reinforced plastic.

lathe machining a plastic blank

Can CNC Machinists Work on Fiber-Reinforced Plastic?

Not all machinist shops can work on FRP. At United Scientific Inc., however, we are proud to provide excellent FRP work for our clients. From small and intricate parts to large panels, we can deliver what you need.

FRP is valuable to many industries and for a wide variety of uses. The CNC machinist works with precision and care to create what the customer requires. The USI team is proud to offer this service to our clients. Here is some of what our expert crew provides:

  • Molding
  • Extruding
  • Laminating
  • Drilling
  • Forming
  • Assembly
  • Stamping
  • Deburring
  • Swiss Screw Machining

Whether you need a part that is big or small, our team can craft it for you with accuracy and skill. We create the quantity you need when you need it.

Fiber-reinforced plastics have changed the face of manufacturing across all industries. Designers, builders, and engineers have almost limitless choices now thanks to FRP products. And planes, trains, and automobiles are built stronger than ever.

United Scientific Provides Expert CNC Machining

No matter what parts your company needs, the USI machinists can deliver. Fiber-reinforced plastics offer almost unlimited options in size and configuration. And the United Scientific CNC machinists are up to the task.

Whether you need a single prototype or thousands of parts, our team can get the job done. We have the highest-quality technology and expert staff to create just what you need. Our machinists deliver on time and with 99% accuracy.

As leaders in the machining world, we serve a range of industries, including aerospace, defense, automotive, and agriculture. Reach out today to the most trusted name in machining to get your project underway.

The Basics of Heat Treating Metals

A group of cylinders in the middle of an orange room.

metal parts on a glowing orange hot oven floor

Long before blacksmiths were making horseshoes and shaping armor, metalworkers knew that if you heated metal, worked it, and cooled it again, the final mechanical properties of the piece differed from where it started. Metalworkers and machinists are still using the same basic process, but now have precise techniques and advanced technical equipment to control the exact characteristics of the final part.

Specific heat treating processes will change the grain structure of steel, and make metals harder or more ductile – an optimal characteristic needed for wire forming. Additional reasons for incorporating heat treatment into the production process include increasing a metal’s resistance to electrical current or making it less magnetic.

Heat treating is just one of the processes used at United Scientific Inc. to guarantee a durable, high-precision component. Read on for more information on the basics of heat treating, or contact us today to learn about all the services we have to offer.

What is Heat Treating?

Many standard CNC production facilities use heat treating. Manufacturers can modify the strength, plasticity, and corrosion resistance of a finished component by opting to include a heat treatment process.

Heat treating metal consists of systematically heating the material to a critical temperature and then cooling it to modify the material’s physical state or mechanical properties. The high-temperature target, how long it remains at that temperature, and then how rapidly, or gradually, the item is cooled is what determines the altered material characteristics.

open door to a hot furnace interior

Types of Heat Treating

There are many heat treatment types, and one or more of these processes can be applied to any given component. The desired mechanical, magnetic, or electrical properties of the final part will define which steps to include.


Annealing is the heat treating process by which the material is brought to its critical temperature and then slowly cooled. The annealing process changes the physical structure of the material, making it softer and more malleable.


Like annealing, quenching heats the material to its critical temperature, but then it is quickly cooled, or quenched. Typical quenching materials include water and oil, however, gases, polymers, or salts are sometimes used depending upon the final desired mechanical properties of the part.

The goal of quenching versus annealing is to keep the metal’s original microstructure as intact as possible. This consistency is needed if the slower cooling process results in undesirable changes, such as making the material brittle.

Cryogenic treating

Components can also be cryogenically treated by slowly lowering the temperature of a part in liquid nitrogen, leaving it in that state for a defined period, and then putting the part through a more standard heat treatment process. This cryogenic treating results in a more corrosion resistant piece.

Stress relieving

A secondary heat treatment process requires heating the material to a temperature lower than the critical temperature used in the methods above, and then slowly cooling the part. This process is referred to as stress relieving.

Stress relief is necessary to remove the stress within a material caused by previous manufacturing processes. Without stress relief, the part can crack or lose its tolerances upon use, eventually leading to part failure.

CNC machine working w/ a coolant flush

Heat Treating Processes

Each of the types of heat treating listed above can be achieved through one or more different processes.

Annealing is one of the most common heat treatments and is achieved through retort, air, or vacuum processing. Retort furnaces are optimal for the continuous heat treating of small parts.

Cryogenic, air and vacuum processing are often used for stress relief. When used for stress relief, these processes do not change the material’s mechanical or chemical properties.

Magnet and metal nails on light background

Benefits of Heat Treating Metal

Hardening is a typical desired outcome of the heat treatment process. Selectively applying that process to a limited section of a component allows for localized hardening. Creating a specific finish on just the surface of a piece is another example of selective heat treating.

An additional reason to incorporate heat treatments is to upgrade a particular characteristic of the metal or alloy, such as improving electrical or magnetic properties or increasing the toughness of the material.

Iron and steel are the most common heat treated metals. However, non-ferrous metals such as aluminum alloys, copper, and other materials also benefit from the application of heat treating.

Benefits associated with heat treating non-ferrous materials such as bronze and titanium include improving strength, preventing cracking, and improving durability at high temperatures.

Manufacturers and Heat Treatment

The history of metalworking is impressive, and modern technology in metalworking continues to break new ground. These advances continually offer manufacturers improved opportunities in terms of component accuracy, material strength, forming options, surface finishes, and pricing of materials. Advances that yield better components while maintaining competitive pricing.

The industries that benefit from heat treating metals are countless and include automotive, construction, aerospace, and agriculture, to mention just a few. United Scientific Inc. is committed to providing top-notch service to all the industries with which we work.

No matter the industry or customer base, United Scientific Inc. operates under the Quality First banner. That means we provide consistency, precision, and attention to every detail – on the production floor and throughout the organization.

As a full-service Computer Numerical Control (CNC) component manufacturer, heat treating is just one of the additional processes available.

Join the community of Midwest manufacturers, engineers, and designers that trust United Scientific Inc. to provide top-of-the-line services. Our management team combines more than 70 years of expertise and customer service. For more information about the services offered by our full-scale CNC operation, visit our homepage here.

CNC Precision Machining Best Practices

A man holding up a sticky note that says " best practice ".

A man holding up a yellow post-it with the word "best practice" on it.

When thinking about best practices for CNC precision machining, it’s not just the process at the machine on the production floor that you should scrutinize. Producing the most optimal part in the least amount of time, at the lowest cost, while maintaining the highest levels of quality, means you need to consider the entire organization.

Starting with a full team of experienced professionals, United Scientific has implemented best practices throughout our company in the Twin Cities. Our methodology includes:

  • Creating prototypes
  • Designing for Manufacturability (DFM)
  • Maintaining an ISO 9001 certification and 99+% accuracy factor,
  • Customized inventory management
  • Fulfillment solutions

United Scientific will apply our full range of best practices to your next project. Contact us today and let us put our experience and expertise to work on your next CNC precision machining project.


CNC machining best practices start before any material ever hits the production floor. DFM is the first step in the optimally produced piece part.

DFM for machined parts starts with standardization:

  • reviewing the design for any simplifications,
  • replacing with standard parts wherever possible, and
  • reducing the number of individual components.

Material selection is next, determining the most cost-efficient material that will:

  • meet strength requirements,
  • handle the environmental conditions of the final part, and
  • meet functional needs such as being weldable, corrosive resistant, or heat treatable.

Also, whenever possible, choose material blanks in standard sizes rounding to the nearest 1/8 inch as smaller tolerances on starting blanks may require unique mill runs.

You should also consider the final part tolerances. The tighter the tolerances, the more time consuming and costly the machining process. Therefore, reviewing tolerances to allow for the maximum amount of variability while still maintaining a final working design will ensure the best value in your project.

Shop Floor

Now that you have optimized your design, it’s time to move the best practices to the shop floor. The main goals here are to:

  • minimize WIP,
  • minimize the number of touches to optimize the processes, and
  • eliminate variation.

You can achieve these goals with Lean manufacturing processes and some Six Sigma techniques.

Lean manufacturing tools can range from something as high level as Hoshin Kanri, where you align company strategy to middle management tactics in the form of action taken on the floor. Or it can be as straightforward as incorporating 5S into the workstations:

  • Sort
  • Set in order
  • Shine
  • Standardize
  • Sustain

Lean manufacturing works well as a best practice on the production floor.

While Lean takes out the excess waste in a product or process, Six Sigma takes out the variation.

One Six Sigma tool is utilizing run charts to establish upper and lower control limits for a machining process. Using process maps to define the workflow steps is another Six Sigma effort.

The point of implementing any of these best practices is so the manufacturing process can repeat regardless of shift, operator, or machine.

Business man holding a computer tablet. Background is out of focus, 4-high warehouse racking.

Supply Chain

Lean and Six Sigma are best practices not confined only to the shop floor. You should implement these best practices along the entire supply chain.

Sourcing and Procurement

Using swim lane diagrams to make sure the communication between functions is the most efficient and accurate every production step. This diagram is one way to implement Lean at the start of the supply chain.

Warehouse and Fulfillment

A critical best practice to incorporating Lean in the warehouse is minimizing steps and touches. If the most commonly used materials are located at the back of the warehouse, or moving materials to the production floor requires touching four different screens in the ERP software first, those moves require an excessive amount of time and overhead.

Locating the most commonly pulled materials, the least amount of physical distance from the production floor eliminates wasted steps.

Better yet, implementing a Kanban system ensures that materials are always available. A Kanban system pulls a standard quantity of the most commonly used materials whenever that item hits the low stock level value. This way, there is no downtime waiting on material moves.

To eliminate touches in the issuing process, determine how frequently the rest of the organization needs real-time inventory data.

Once the urgency of the inventory transactions is determined, utilize the most straightforward steps within the software, and complete the steps promptly within the defined time-frame.

Now, you’re assured that the rest of the organization has the most up-to-date information. Current information eliminates wasted time tracking down exact inventory levels or recalculating demand multiple times due to misaligned data.

Distribution and Logistics

Implementing standardized work in the distribution and logistics portions of the organization are also best practices that can lead to repeatable, auditable results. At United Scientific we have incorporated this best practice, as evidenced by an Independent ISO 9001 Auditor stating that we have one of the best internal audit programs ever witnessed.

This best practice culminates in United Scientific’s continuing ISO 9001 Certified status.

Person holding a touch screen control panel programming a mechanical machining arm.


You might think that a technology best practice is ensuring you invest more money in the latest equipment and software upgrades. There is some truth to that; however, it is more important to upgrade your processes and people first.

Never throw a piece of software or equipment at a problem thinking that is the solution. Put the process steps in place first and then implement a software solution or new machine to speed those steps or increase capabilities.

As for technology and equipment, that brings us to our last CNC Precision Machining best practice area — Human Resources.

Older gentleman wearing a light blue shirt and safety glasses setting up a CNC machine using an electronic control panel.

Human Resources

One final CNC precision machining best practice is to ensure that you have the most experienced and trained staff available. Continue providing training for your team, in all areas of your organization. You’ll keep their techniques and skills at the top of the industry standards. Everyone can benefit from this best practice.

When you need the best people, as well as the best practices utilized on your next piece-part production job, contact United Scientific. You can benefit from over 70 years of experience producing superior quality components at the highest accuracy rates around. Let’s put practice into action and be the best together.