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What Is Skiving? A Precision Skiving Guide


Manufacturing Services & Engineering
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Precision skiving was patented in Germany in 1910. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s that it was put into general use in the U.S. when advancements in tool design, machine controls, and hardware enabled manufacturers to use it on an industrial scale to make gears and splines.

While the term “skiving” might not be widely recognized outside of precision manufacturing circles, many companies benefit from material skiving without even realizing it. The precise foam cutting technique’s applications are ubiquitous, enhancing consumer product durability and design and ensuring optimal results in various automotive and consumer electronics industries.

Skiving in Precision Manufacturing: How It’s Used

Precision skiving is a specialized manufacturing process that peels, shaves, or slices material into thin layers with remarkable preciseness, creating smooth, accurate surfaces. A sharp blade carefully removes layers from materials like foam, leather, and metals to meet exacting specifications in diverse manufacturing sectors.

Understanding skiving’s basic principles and benefits helps manufacturers achieve superior quality and enhanced functionality in their finished products.

Key Applications & Techniques

A highly flexible manufacturing process, skiving can be tailored to meet various specific industry needs, including:

  • Gear manufacturing: Skiving is widely used to produce high-precision gears, especially internal gears and splines. It increases production times compared to traditional gear-cutting processes and achieves smoother finishes.
  • Leather industry: Skiving was first invented for leather. The technique thins edges for easier joining and reduces seam bulk. Popular applications include preparing pieces for a cleaner finish in goods like shoes, belts, and handbags.
  • Foam, foam rubber, and Neoprene products: Industries that require precise foam shapes and dimensions, including mattresses, automotive interiors, or packaging, use skiving to ensure consistent thickness and density.
  • Textile layering: Skiving is often used to create textile layers without adding bulk, an essential feature in high-performance sportswear and technical garments.
  • Electronics and aerospace: Thin layers of specialized materials like composites are skived for use in electronics and aerospace components, where precision layering affects functionality and durability.

Advantages of Precision Skiving

Skiving’s ability to shave thin layers from a material to create smooth, accurate surfaces is crucial for several reasons:

  1. It allows manufacturers to achieve high precision and tight tolerances in a material’s thickness. This is essential in industries like aerospace and automotive, where component dimensions must be exact, as even a slight deviation could lead to performance issues or safety concerns.
  2. The process produces an extremely smooth surface finish, which is important for aesthetic and functional purposes. Smoother surfaces reduce friction and wear, enhance the performance of mechanical parts, and improve a product’s overall look.
  3. Skiving is essential to material efficiency, particularly costly specialty metals and composites, as it minimizes waste by removing only what’s needed to achieve the desired thickness.
  4. The technique can create complex geometries that might be impossible to achieve with other methods. It also allows for integrating features such as grooves or tapers during the material removal process, which can eliminate additional machining steps.
  5. Skiving is faster and more suitable for high-volume production than other material removal techniques. This speed and scalability contribute to reduced manufacturing times and increased throughput.

Schedule Skiving Services With Sur-Seal Today

Skiving is an essential technique, particularly when dealing with small geared components, and its versatility and productivity benefits make it suitable for any size production lot. For over 80 years, Sur-Seal has worked with businesses throughout the U.S. to provide custom manufacturing of engineered components through advanced processes like skiving. We can size your materials to whatever thickness your application requires and help you choose the best materials for your budget.

Is precision skiving right for your manufacturing needs? Tell us about your next project, and we’ll help you find the best solution!

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