Leveraging a Full-Service Quality Control Lab for Precision Control in CNC Machining

Every new product starts at a very human level; then the engineers get involved in making the idea reality by replacing the humans with numbers… lots of numbers. Those numbers provide us with a couple of benefits. They accurately describe how we humans want the device to function -how it should feel, sound, perform, and look. They also give us repeatability.

The quality of your engineering is determined by how well those numbers give us humans the thing we need.  But there’s more to it than that. There’s the process -the production steps; the guardrails we put up to protect the process. And that is why Macfab goes to the extreme level of maintaining cleanroom facilities.

Precision Control of the Environment

Any CNC machine shop can produce complex parts. Years ago, however, Macfab saw situations requiring capabilities you normally wouldn’t associate with a machine shop: cleanroom assembly and packaging of medical devices; off-gassing testing for finishes, adhesives, and materials; microscopic surface inspection for foreign contaminants. Even some metrology relies on cleanroom conditions.

So Macfab added an ISO Class 7 cleanroom to their offerings. At this classification level, there are no more than 10,000 particles per cubic foot of air, and the air is changed every minute. That’s thousands (if not millions) of times cleaner than standard room air. This investment helped us cement our position in medical precision CNC machining, but it has gone on to provide Macfab with much more.

Cleanroom Benefits Catch On

It immediately provided for the uses we intended. Cleanroom-level packaging of medical assemblies for our customers became far more practical. Not only can we test for cleanliness to their specifications within the room environment, but we can provide assembly services to aid with their inventory management and do so in the same room environment where they’re certified clean. This is a huge cost and time savings over having to package the components and ship them offsite for final assembly.

Despite the evolution in the CNC industry, Macfab continues to stand out with its unique cleanroom facilities, a feature that is uncommon among typical CNC machine shops. Commercial space investments have mushroomed. Having the cleanroom has provided Macfab with the ability to offer real savings in this market. It’s rare to find genuine cost savings in an industry that is so focused on expanding the leading edge. But we can verify the chemical stability of various materials in a pure environment.  This matters when simple off gassing can push a satellite into an unwanted orbit or orientation.  We can also verify the proper geometries of features at a microscopic scale and confirm features like metal-metal separations to avoid cold welding on satellites in space.

The defence industry wasn’t far behind.  More and more our cleanroom facilities are being called on to ensure the quality of devices that were once closer to science fiction than national defence. Features like stealth and tactical invisibility are cutting-edge precision control today -just like clear night vision and head’s-up-displays were yesterday. New materials with all new numbers to describe how they function in human hands.  It doesn’t end, and Macfab will always be out in front of the technology.


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