Ultra-hard Materials Machining Information

Ultra-hard materials machining services fabricate components from ultra-hard materials such as glass, ceramics, sapphire, quartz, stainless steel, and titanium. Providers of ultra-hard materials machining services differ in terms of capabilities. Basic services include drilling, milling, turning, etching, and honing. Laser machining, CNC machining, and micro machining services are also available. Companies that perform electrical discharge machining (EDM) use a shaped die sinker, electrode, or wire to cut parts. Companies that provide grinding services use a variety of techniques. For example, some ultra-hard material machining services perform centerless, creep-feed, double-disk, or jig grinding. Others specialize in internal or inner diameter (ID) grinding, external or outer diameter (OD) grinding, or surface grinding processes that produce flat, parallel surfaces.  


Many ultra-hard materials machining services provide additional services such as CAD/CAM support, design assistance, low or high volume production, rapid prototyping, reverse engineering, or just-in-time manufacturing. Computer aided design or drafting (CAD) is used to design products quickly and accurately. Computer aided manufacturing (CAM) is used to fabricate products directly from CAD outputs. Ultra-hard materials machining services that provide design assistance can help with concepts, manufacturing costs, production methods, and material considerations such as sourcing. They may also be able to assist with upgrading, redesigning, reevaluating or modernizing existing products to increase performance and/or reduce costs.

Materials Used

Ultra-hard materials machining fabricates components from a variety of materials. Carbides are compounds, alloys, and metalloids with excellent wear resistance and high hot-hardness. Ceramics are hard, brittle, heat-resistant, corrosion-resistant materials that are made by shaping and then firing nonmetallic minerals at high temperatures. Synthetic diamond is also produced at high temperatures, but in a high-pressure process that uses an anvil press. Industrial grades such as polycrystalline diamond (PCD) are often used in high-speed cutting applications. Glass is a hard, brittle material made of silicates. Quartz is an ultra-hard form of silica or silicon dioxide. Glass ceramics can be fused and then molded, formed, ground or machined using conventional glass fabrication techniques. Sapphire is a high-purity, single crystalline form of aluminum oxide which contains chromia, titania, yttria or other dopants.   

Certifications and Standards

Ultra-hard materials machining services are located across the United States and around the world. They adhere to a variety of certifications, regulatory requirements, and quality standards. Ultra-hard materials machining services follow four main specifications from the International Standards Organization (ISO): ISO 9001:2000, ISO 13485:2003, ISO 14001, and ISO/TS 16949:2002. AS 9000, AS 9100, and QS-9000 are industry-specific quality standards that are based on ISO 9001. Both AS 9000 and AS 9001 define quality management system (QMS) requirements for suppliers to the aerospace industry. QS-9000 is a quality standard for suppliers of DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors Corporation. Some ultra-hard materials machining services are registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or comply with U.S. military specifications (MIL-SPEC). Others meet internal company specifications or requirements from original equipment manufacturers (OEM).