Washers, the small round metal disks that look like a ring pressed flat, mean different things to different people. For example, homeowners think of washers as the parts that can fix faucet leaks (even though those are actually gaskets). In an industrial setting, with heavy machinery and moving parts, washers can mean the difference between a well-functioning machine and one that experiences a lot of unnecessary vibration.
That’s just a glimpse at how many different uses washers have. They are much more common in everyday uses than you might think! Curious about how washers make a difference in so many areas of industry? Read on and we’ll explain.
Aerospace applications require precision. The standard size washers and shims won’t be quite good enough. Aerospace engineers need custom washers that will fit the job exactly. You may need a washer with a thickness as narrow as .0005” or with a custom shape. If you’ve ever wondered how NASA builds their complex systems, they couldn’t do it without the right washers!
Agriculture uses washers in a number of ways. Washers assist with crop production, farm machinery, processing, marketing, and more. Washers can help distribute the load with heavy equipment, tools, or other fixtures. A washer can relieve some of the pressure on a screw or a nut, providing extra stability and a tight fit around the screw. The diameter of the washer will depend on the size of the screw, and the thickness of the washer depends on the load.
In the automotive industry, washers may be used on the vehicle itself—like the engine—or on machinery used to manufacture or repair the vehicle. Car builders know that high-performance cars are only as good as their parts, and that means precise, custom-made washers. To reduce vibration, friction, and corrosion, auto engineers need washers with the right material (like rubber) and in the perfect size.
Building and construction companies also need special washers in custom sizes, as thin as .0005” and as small as .05” in diameter. Everyone from project managers to design engineers to project architects understands the necessity of quality washers. When engineers recommend washers of specific size, shape, and material, builders know they cannot cut any corners. Building and construction regulations are more specialized than they once were, accommodating seismic activity, climate changes, load-bearing needs, and much more. Structures can only meet regulation if they are built with the right washers.
The production of consumer goods is becoming a more personalized process. Businesses are constantly working to adapt products to their consumers’ wants and needs. Businesses need mass-produced, specialty parts to protect against defective or malfunctioning products. That’s why washers come in many more shapes than the simple, flattened disk. They can be square, oval, or even hexagonal and as thin as they need to be in order to fit the product.
Distribution usually refers to the step in the process of delivering a product or service to the person who needs it. In distribution, you may need postage machines, packaging machinery, delivery vehicles, package sorter, or other equipment. Properly fitting washers, large or small, are essential to ensure every part of the assembly line runs smoothly.
Electrical contractors and electronics manufacturers utilize specialty washers for repairing, servicing, designing, testing, and manufacturing electronics. Electronics is a fast-changing industry. Electrical engineers require specialty washers with specific dimensions to create high-tech electronic devices that function accurately and meet consumer expectations. The washer material is extremely important to handle electrical pulses and prevent electronic malfunction.
The energy industry is complex and requires washers that are equally complex. Some common washer style configurations include circular, square, and linear-shaped washers. Washers range in diameter from .05” to 6” to accommodate any size job. The field of energy also requires washers made with particular materials and with higher or lower tolerances, depending on their use. Metal and plastic are common materials, including stainless steel, aluminum, rubber, brass, copper, nylon, and much more.
The medical field requires manufactured parts that support medical innovation and precision. Medical equipment, automated machines, and hand-assembled products all require custom-fit washers. We produce custom-sized washers that allow no margin of error in the use of medical equipment.
In addition to those industries listed, washers are used in a variety of compressors, machines, motors, and pumps. Many industries simply could not function without the right washers, shims, and stampings. Washers come in numerous shapes, sizes, and materials and play a vital role. Their thickness can range from .0005” to .260” and we can make them from over 300 varieties of raw materials.
It’s amazing how something so small can have such a huge impact on everyday life. Whether you need them as a load distributor, spacer, spring, or vibration reducer, make sure you choose a custom-made washer with the exact specifications for thickness and diameter that your job requires. At Phoenix Manufacturing, we make custom washers for any need and offer among the fastest turnaround times in the industry. Let us know what you need and we can assist you no matter what industry you’re in.