Why Are Tolerances Important in Manufacturing?

why are tolerances important in manufacturing
Why are tolerances important in manufacturing? The short answer is, a certain amount of variation is inherent in all manufactured parts. Tolerances are used to control those variations, ensuring greater consistency and proper performance from the parts. Because different materials and manufacturing methods can affect tolerances, it is important to choose an experienced plastics manufacturer who understands the different tolerances each plastic can sustain.

5 Key Reasons Why Tolerances are Important in Manufacturing

While some parts require tighter tolerances than others, nearly every part has certain aspects that need to be controlled through tolerance measurements. The five main reasons for tolerances are:

  1. They clarify specifications – Vague communication is the number one enemy of manufacturing. If you are not specific in your needs, you may end up with a part you can’t use. For example, if you have a part that needs to be 3″ with a tolerance of .2″, the manufacturer knows that a part measuring 2.9″ will still be acceptable. However, if your tolerance is .001″, a 2.9″ part is functionally useless. Tolerances tell the manufacturer how precise they have to be and also how many processes they will have to use to achieve those tolerances.
  2. They improve the fit and function of parts – Tolerances are especially important when parts have to interact with other parts because there is a high potential for tolerance accumulation. To ensure parts are compatible with other components, you will have to closely define your tolerances. You should also keep in mind that part design has an impact on tolerance as well.
  3. They provide a margin of error – As we said earlier, a certain amount of variation is inherent in any manufacturing process. Tolerances account for this variation by defining the margins within which a part remains functional. By defining tolerances from the beginning, it is less likely that a part will fail or need to be remade.
  4. They improve the end-look of a product – If aesthetics are an important aspect of a product, tolerances will need to be important as well. For example, if parts need to be flush to one another with no obvious gap, you will need to define tight tolerances for both parts.
  5. They are cost-effective – Generally speaking, the tighter the tolerance, the more it will cost to manufacture. So by defining your tolerances, you will not pay for extreme precision when looser tolerances are acceptable. And for parts that require tight tolerances, you assure the tolerances are achieved the first time, avoiding costly delays.

For Tight Tolerance Machining, Choose Reading Plastic

At Reading Plastic, we’ve been an industry leader in tight tolerance machining for decades. We have produced close tolerance parts for clients all over the world in nearly every industry, delivering the precise, dependable plastic parts you need. If you have a part that requires tight tolerances, call us today at 610-926-3245 or email site2@readingplastic.com to request a quote.

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