Vacuum Chamber RFQs: 3 Tips to Save Time & Money
Are you in the market for a custom vacuum chamber? If so, you likely understand by now that the process for procuring such an item is not as cut-and-dry as buying off-the-shelf vacuum components. Relative to catalog parts, vacuum chambers are often complex, bespoke, and expensive. Though some drivers of complexity and price are unavoidable when it comes to chambers, there are steps you can take when preparing your Request for Quote (RFQ) to reduce quote turnaround, optimize your design for manufacture, and, ultimately, save time and money.
At ANCORP, we’re proud to manufacture world-class vacuum chambers right here in the United States. Our cylindrical, spherical, and box chambers serve a variety of industries and applications including ultra-high-vacuum (UHV), and each chamber is made-to-order here in Florida by our team of master machinists, welders, and fabricators.
For a detailed, downloadable PDF outlining the steps for spec’ing a vacuum chamber, click here.
Read on for 3 Vacuum Chamber RFQ Tips that will help you get faster responses, reduced lead times, and lower prices.
Avoid Excessive Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing (GD&T)
Understanding your true GD&T “must haves” is critical to getting both a price and lead time that are reflective of your needs. Applying unnecessary constraints (or making the magnitude of necessary constraints lower than required) will significantly impact the cost of fabricating a chamber.
For example, let’s say a customer has specified a flatness tolerance on their chamber’s top flange of 0.005”. Practically speaking, they really only need a flatness of 0.020”, but they’ve over-specified to be safe (or, perhaps their CAD software defaulted to 0.005” and they didn’t change it). This seemingly small difference on paper could require an entire additional manufacturing step since, to achieve a top flange flatness of 0.005” on most chambers, a post-welding machining pass is required. The result is additional set up and machine time that is ultimately unnecessary to achieve what the customer really wants.
To ensure your quote is reflective of your actual needs, specify only the GD&T constraints that you truly require, and make the magnitudes of those constraints only as small as is functionally necessary.
Eliminate Unnecessary Complexity
CAD software gives engineers and designers the freedom to come up with all manner of complex part geometries. But, when it comes time to actually cut steel, simplicity is a manufacturer’s (and therefore a customer’s) friend.
Increasingly complex part geometries require increasingly special machining capabilities. The more that specific machinery is required to make your chamber, the higher your price climbs and the longer your lead time becomes. When functionality and practicality allow it, reduce part complexity wherever you can. Even the elimination of something seemingly simple like an angled or offset port can simplify your chamber to the point that the machining options for making it double or triple. When a manufacturer has multiple options for fabricating your chamber, both price and lead time will drop.
Provide a Set of Drawings that Fully Defines the Chamber
Even if your application requires you to keep tight GD&T constraints and complex part geometries, you can save yourself valuable time by providing the manufacturer with a set of RFQ drawings that fully define your chamber (PDFs are typically best). Drawings that lack critical dimensions, don’t specify tolerances, exclude a bill of materials, or don’t provide enough views to fully understand the part typically provide more questions than answers to estimators. The process of compiling these questions and communicating back and forth to resolve them delays quote turnaround and costs all parties involved both time and effort. If you don’t have the bandwidth to generate a fully defined set of 2D drawings, a fully defined 3D model of your chamber in STP format will usually get the job done.
These 3 simple steps will go a long way in gaining you faster quote turnaround, favorable prices, and shorter lead times.