Insaco solves unique problem

Service Detail from Insaco, Inc.


Insaco solves unique open-end wrench problem for USGovernment

An arm of the US Government recently needed a team experienced in precision machining, material selection, modeling, and custom material formulation for a special hand tool. A team was formed that consisted of Professor Sridhar Santhanam at Villanova University, and Dr. Zachary Wing at Advanced Ceramics Manufacturing and Scott Mittl at Insaco, Inc. The part is a straightforward and common shop tool, the open-end wrench. The unique requirement was that the wrench had to be made of a material that would not cause sparking while in use, be non-magnetic, and also possess low density/light weight features. Due to non-disclosure requirements the true application for these wrenches was not declared, however, non-sparking presumes a flammable or explosive work environment. After careful consideration, the US Government, working with our materials engineers, agreed that a Silicon Nitride ceramic was the best option for this application.

Since 1947, when we first supplied the phonograph market with sapphire needles, Insaco has been custom fabricating precision parts in unusual or complicated forms from most technical ceramics. Over the years our unique expertise has attracted inquiries and business from an ever expanding marketplace including aerospace, medical, semiconductor, life sciences, research and instrumentation. Most applications for precision ceramic parts lie in high-tech industries, or certainly cutting edge developments from more conventional industries. Ceramics offer high temperature strength, chemical resistance, hardness and wear resistance unmatched by metals, and are therefore indicated for use where metals will not survive, or would create issues that far outweigh the benefits of metal.

As the market leader in precision machining and polishing of parts from all technical ceramics, sapphire, glass and quartz, Insaco machines these materials to very precise tolerances (many times measured in millionths of an inch) for dimension, flatness, wedge and roundness or cylindricity. We also have the capability to grind and polish spherical radius parts in a variety of hard materials, both inside and outside diameters, to optical requirements. However, Insaco does not produce the ceramic materials we machine. We source materials as already fired blanks or standard rod or plate and then use diamond grinding technology to fabricate to customer specification. This gives Insaco the freedom to work on most any ceramic and we often use our unbiased marketplace knowledge to suggest specific materials due to key property or available size and of course costs to purchase and to process.

A Designer's Guide is available on our website www.insaco.com for design engineers to easily sort multiple ceramic materials by desired property. Using this Guide led our customer to specify Silicon Nitride as a good candidate for the combination of high compressive strength, low density, non-magnetic and non-sparking properties for his wrench design. Insaco was able to then source the material and precision machine to specification.

Given the unique specifications and features required for this wrench, you're unlikely to find these ceramic wrenches for sale at your local Home Depot since the costs of producing and then machining Silicon Nitride make them quite expensive. However, for certain unique situations, these special tools are able to do the job no steel wrenches can.

For more information about Insaco go to www.insaco.com

watch >>>Precision Fabrication by Design

High Precision Machining of Hard Materials

Since 1947 Insaco® has been a precision machining and polishing fabricator of parts from all technical ceramics, sapphire, glass and quartz. We machine these materials to very precise tolerances (many times measured in millionths of an inch) for dimension, flatness, wedge and roundness or cylindricity. Our customers typically have a critical application that requires extremely tight tolerances in ultra-hard materials. We also have the capability to grind and polish spherical radius parts in a variety of hard materials, both inside and outside diameters, to optical requirements.

Insaco's features include:

  • Extremely high accuracy and tight tolerance machining
  • Lights-out manufacturing
  • Machine automation including large capacity envelope
  • Automated centerless grinding
  • High efficiency/low cost volume production
  • Low-volume prototype machining
  • 5-axis machining capability
  • ITAR compliant
  • High-volume robotic machining
  • Video inspection and a Class 100 Cleanroom
  • Extensive Quality Control protocols
  • Sapphire tubes and polishing

Insaco also has extensive inspection and documentation procedures so parts are always to print. With a seasoned team of engineers and machine operators we are available to discuss your application needs including alternative materials and cost drivers. Click here to find out more about our company and our people.