Sometimes the tiniest elements of a piece of equipment can be the most powerful component in the system. They can be completely unassuming and nondescript, yet have a large impact on the function, performance, and longevity of a piece of equipment. Shims are such components, easy to overlook but with the potential to greatly reduce costs.

Powerful Components in Parts Manufacturing

As many in the manufacturing industry know, shims can be essential components in the design of a piece of equipment. They can be made from a wide range of materials including metals and plastics. These pieces are inserted as components between two surfaces to improve the fit or alignment of the two surfaces.

Shims are most effective when incorporated into the design of a piece of equipment. Designing shims into product specifications eliminates the time and cost of putting precision tolerances on interacting components.   

Shims Reduce Tolerance Requirements

Shims are instrumental in lowering tolerance requirements. When equipment is designed, tolerance around components must be foreseen and planned for. This must be addressed in the design stage, and manufacturing these precise qualities can be very costly. Failing to do so, however, can leave you unprepared when equipment malfunctions, and dealing with these situations can significantly add to business expenses.

Shims can greatly lower machining costs like these when they are inserted between two machined components. By filling the gap, the tolerance requirements of these machined components can be reduced. This can add to process efficiencies and additional cost savings.

Shims Extend Equipment Lifetime

Anyone who has spent time in a manufacturing plant knows full well how equipment can degrade and wear over the course of its lifetime. This means components of the parts must be constantly replaced or repaired as a result of normal processes. In automotive manufacturing, for example, brakes can wear and deteriorate due to various impact sources, and as a result can cause serious hazard risks if not checked.

Shims can help extend the longevity of equipment. In many equipment systems and assemblies where vibration, collision and wear can occur, shims can be inserted as a sacrificial element. They can take the brunt of the impact and any potential damage, saving costly assemblies from wear and tear. The shims can be easily replaced during scheduled maintenance, and in the process extend the life of equipment and assemblies.

Shims Can Be Inexpensive to Manufacture

Since they can be made of a wide range of materials, shims include a number of comparatively inexpensive production options. Stamping, laser, waterjet, and wire EDM cutting can be used to produce shims and washers in just about any shape and varying thickness. The versatility of shims makes them useful for any number of specifications in many projects across industries. Best of all, their value significantly outweighs their cost.

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