Precision Machining for Oil & Gas Applications
The tough alloys used for demanding applications in the oil and gas sector pose serious machining challenges. Cutting forces are high, inserts wear rapidly, and chips refuse to break. Add these problems to the tight tolerances and complex geometries required and it should be clear why few machine shops are up to the task.
Impro employs precision machining experts, has invested in advanced CNC machine tools and heat treatment capabilities, and has developed deep expertise in producing parts for oil and gas industry customers. Here’s an overview of what we can do.
Tough Alloys for Challenging Environments
Oil and gas operations take place in extreme conditions. High and low temperatures, dust, rain, salt spray and mud are commonplace, and many of the fluids being used, stored and pumped are corrosive.
Engineers designing equipment for such environments choose the best materials for the job, regardless of how easy or hard they are to machine. Austentic and martensitic grades of stainless steel are widely used because they offer good temperature and corrosion resistance, but most, like 304L, are hard to machine.
Special situations call for superalloys like Inconel 718 with high temperature strength and extreme corrosion-resistance. For some offshore applications only titanium has the saltwater resistance needed.
These alloys all offer exceptional strength, toughness and corrosion-resistance. Unfortunately, those same characteristics tend to complicate machining.
High hardness alloys need rigid machine tools with powerful motors and stiff tool holding systems. Some of these alloys wear cutting inserts rapidly, which requires extensive tooling knowledge to address. Most, except for some martensitic grades of stainless, (like 416,) are sufficiently ductile that chip breaking becomes a problem. Again, this is a challenge that’s only answered through experience and technical know-how.
Heat can be a problem with some alloys. Ideally, the chips will take this away from the part, but with some alloys heat stays in the workpiece. The resulting expansion makes it harder to achieve the tight tolerances and precise surfaces needed for reliable part function.
Precision Machining Capabilities
Impro has invested in an impressive array of CNC machine tools from manufacturers known for engineering excellence. Spanning, turning, milling, grinding and 5-axis machining, these give us the ability to maintain tight tolerances and produce smooth surfaces over both small and large quantity orders.
Machining is backed by precision metrology capabilities, quality management systems certified to ISO9001/AS9100/IATF16949 and multiple NADCAP certifications. Together, these give our customers the assurance they will receive precision parts machined to their expectations.
Impro operates foundries with both sand and investment casting technologies. Together with precision machining, these let us offer a “one-stop-shop” service to customers needing complex engineered components in challenging alloys.
Investment casting is especially attractive for hard-to-machine alloys. Near-net shape capabilities mean it reduces the amount of metal removal required, saving time and money in production.
Post machining heat treatment is often needed to ensure oil and gas industry components have the toughness required. Our automated heat treatment line from industry-leading furnace solutions provider, AICHELIN, performs operations including carburizing, normalizing, carbo-nitriding, and tempering.
Examples of Parts Machined for the Oil & Gas Industry
The parts we produce go into drilling equipment, well testing apparatus, transportation equipment and flame and gas detection systems. These are used both on and offshore and in some of the most challenging environments found on the planet.
A list of specific items coming out of our machine shops includes:
- Pump bodies and housings
Take Advantage of our Expertise and Capabilities
If you’re in the oil and gas sector, we can produce the complex machined parts you need in the difficult alloys required. If you’re in another industry, our ability to produce precision machined components for some of the toughest, most challenging applications imaginable should demonstrate that we can manufacture the parts you need.
Contact us to discuss your need for precision machined components.