Shims are precision components in assemblies that ensure parts are arranged in the correct orientation with appropriate spacing or clearance between them. As many complex assemblies have dozens or hundreds of parts that may be made by different manufacturers, some gaps may fall out of acceptable tolerances. Well-designed shims correct those spacing issues without interfering with the performance of the assembly. They will protect components within gearboxes and other products from wear or undue stress.

At Principal Manufacturing Corporation, we specialize in creating shims and other specialty components for custom projects, OEMs, and more. Learn how Principal Manufacturing can partner with your organization to create the right shims for your project.

Creating Precision Shims for Industry Applications

Assemblies for consumer, commercial, and industrial applications use shims as supplemental components. At Principal Manufacturing Corporation, we use the following processes to create precision shims for virtually any end-use application:

  • Fineblanking. Fineblanking, or fine-edge blanking, is a manufacturing process that reshapes metal blanks. Similar to conventional metal stamping processes, fineblanking also includes an element of cold extrusion to create precise exterior edges. The metal stamping process pushes on the top and bottom of a metal blank and cuts the part to shape with a single stroke for flat, high-precision edges. Fineblanking processes minimize uncontrolled tearing as much as possible. For small shims that need to meet extremely tight tolerances, fineblanking gives better control over the final dimensions of parts’ outside edges. At Principal Manufacturing Corporation, our fineblanking presses range from 100 to 700 tons of force.
  • Double-disc grinding. Double-disc grinding equipment has two wheels that sit opposite each other to efficiently grind or polish two faces of a workpiece at once. Double-disc grinding processes create finished products with parallel tolerances by removing excess stock material from both sides of the workpiece. Not only is this process fast, but it removes the risk of potential variation that comes from using single-disc grinders.
  • Wash and package processing. Industrial washing and packaging processes remove excess material and debris on a finished product after various machining, grinding, and finishing stages. By choosing a manufacturer that offers in-house wash and package services, you can simplify your supply chain logistics and receive finished, ready-to-use products faster for sending to retailers and end-users.

Project: Shims

Despite being a complex product for lowering the tolerance ratio, shims are sometimes an afterthought due to their low cost. In a recent shims production project, a client in the battery electric vehicle (BEV) space needed shims for the inside of precision gearboxes that drive the wheels. We offer high-quality shims with an excellent tolerance ratio. Well-designed shims can correct for small discrepancies in gearbox components that don’t quite meet specification requirements.

To provide the right products, Principal Manufacturing Corporation’s engineering team reverse-engineered different existing shim options to find the right fit for the specific gearboxes. This project was managed by our in-house program manager, a grinding engineer, and a fineblank engineer to ensure complete quality control and fast production within a three-week timeline. To reverse-engineer, select, and produce shims from 50,000 to 800,000 units, we utilized a fineblank press, a double-disc grinder, and a parts washer to provide a complete solution.

Our team fabricated the shims from steel with dimensions ranging from 45 mm to 95 mm and tight tolerances of 0.0125 mm. We finished each product to a 1.8 RA material finish and inspected for appropriate part thickness. As a result of this project, the gearboxes were assembled within their tolerance levels and production could continue.

Services From Principal Manufacturing Corporation

Precision shims solve potential discrepancies in tolerances and alignment in complex configurations by correcting spacing issues. At Principal Manufacturing Corporation, we can devise the right shim product for your needs through reverse engineering, testing, and development stages. Our team can then quickly produce high-volume orders of repeatable shims with tight tolerances and superior dimensional control to meet or exceed your timeline and expectations. Contact us today to learn more or request a quote to start your order.

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