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Understanding Spacers

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At Phoenix Specialty Manufacturing, we produce a wide variety of spacers. Among all the spacers we produce, our metal spacers are the most popular and widely used. But in order to understand why metal is so popular and widely considered the perfect material for spacers, you need to know what spacers are and how they are used.

A spacer is, in its most basic form, a thin piece of material designed to fill a gap between 2 objects. As you can imagine, the size and thickness of a spacer can vary tremendously according to its intended purpose. Large spacers can be several inches thick, and thin spacers, known as shims, can be made as small as .05″ in diameter and .0005″ thick. Most spacers are round, though they can be made into any shape depending on the specific need and application.

Spacers and washers are both very similar. Spacers are generally designed to fill a gap and prevent leakage, while washers are usually designed to distribute a load. There is crossover in use and function, and in many cases the 2 terms can be interchangeable.

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How Are Spacers Used?

Spacers serve a number of purposes in a variety of industries. While that sounds vague, it actually highlights the diverse role of the common spacer. From orthodontic applications to asthma inhalers, spacers find homes in a variety of products, parts, tools, and machines.

Our metal spacers find homes in just about every industry and product you can imagine. Most commonly, they are used in the aerospace, automotive, agricultural, and electrical industries, as well as specific compressors and other high-pressure tools.

Our spacers are designed to provide a snug fit between 2 objects. Because the number of metals available is diverse, the spacers can be used for everything from protecting against corrosion in steel and iron connections to reducing vibrations and providing a somewhat flexible fit.

Why Metal?

We have more than 300 materials on hand and ready to be transformed into any product or part you need. Our parts range from PVC and nylon to carbon steel and aluminum. While we do offer a number of nonmetal materials, metals make up the bulk of our raw materials and spacer orders.

What makes metal unique and useful at the same time? While it would be impossible to list the numerous benefits of every single metal we carry, here are just a few of the benefits metals and their alloys provide:

  • Stainless steel and aluminum are both incredibly corrosion resistant and can survive in highly caustic or damaging situations without failing.
  • Copper is a relatively soft metal that is capable of providing a vibration buffer while still offering a bit of flexibility in a situation where absolute rigidity would lead to cracks or breakages.
  • Copper and bronze both conduct electricity, making them perfect for electrical applications where currents and electrical flows must not be interrupted or need to be precisely directed.
  • Carbon steel is incredibly durable and strong for its size, allowing users to save money without sacrificing strength or quality.
  • High-temp and cobalt aircraft-grade materials are unrivaled when it comes to quality, precision, and strength, making them perfect for aerospace applications.

 

How Are They Made?

Our metal spacers find homes in racecars, rockets, and tractors throughout the world. For as many metals as we offer, we have a unique machine and manufacturing process for each one. How a spacer is made depends on what material it will be made from and the end purpose it will serve.

Our most commonly used machines include our OBI presses, waterjets, and OBS presses. These machines, when used together, allow us to rapidly produce high-end components to exacting tolerances.

In order to create our spacers and shims, we start with the finest materials available. We have more than 1.5-million pounds of raw materials in stock, which is the largest inventory in the industry. Our experts in the Material Department team assess every batch of material, making certain they meet our customers’ expectations.

Once the materials are delivered to our production area, along with a die, we use one of our many presses to stamp the material. Screw machine and water jet parts are also produced in this area.

After the products have been manufactured, we check them again for quality and accuracy. If you need an aircraft-grade spacer or shim, you can’t afford to have your parts off by even .0005″. We perform first piece, in-process, and final inspections on all of the products we produce; the inspection and calibration equipment we use makes it possible for us to find even the tiniest imperfections and fix them at once.

Fast and Efficient Production

You might think that working with a variety of metals would lead to long production times and even longer delivery times. At Phoenix Specialty Manufacturing, we know that you can’t wait weeks for your order. If your team has a big race, a launch, or a project date rapidly approaching, delays simply won’t do. That’s why we pride ourselves on offering quick fulfillment times for all of our orders. If you need any of the 400-million parts we have in stock, we can ship them within 24 hours.

While we have millions of parts in stock, we specialize in creating custom parts as ordered. When you need to make a custom shim or metal spacer order, our state-of-the-art machines and skilled team can produce your order as efficiently as possible. For most custom orders we can have them finished and shipped in as little as 2 to 3 weeks.

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