Large part processing for steel parts

Large-scale machining in mechanical engineering: challenges, applications and technologies

Introduction to large-scale machining

Large-scale machining in mechanical engineering is an essential area that deals with precise manufacturing and mechanical processing of large steel components busy. The focus is on components with above-average weights and dimensions, which represent a particular challenge for the machining processes.

Delimitation of large-scale processing

There is no clear definition for large-scale machining, but it is often applied to workpieces with an edge length of more than one meter or shafts with a length of more than two meters. When machining such massive parts, the possibilities are: Contract Manufacturing limited, which requires collaboration with specialized providers. For components of around three meters or more, the selection of suitable processing companies is reduced again considerably.

Challenges of large-scale machining

The machining of large parts presents a number of challenges, from the appropriate equipment to the efficient handling of the manufacturing processes. The weight and size ratios require not only special machines, but also specialized devices for transporting and loading the components. Safety plays a central role here in order to avoid accidents and ensure the integrity of the components.

Large part machining applications

Large-scale machining is used in various industries:

Energy and power generation

There are big ones in the energy industry Machine housing and shafts needed in turbines and generators. The precision requirements for these components are enormous because they are based on heavy materials base frame be assembled, which in turn have tight tolerances. State-of-the-art portal milling systems are essential to achieve the required accuracy.


Mining requires machined components for various applications such as transport vehicles, pulleys and rock crushers. These components must withstand the high loads in mining and be manufactured precisely to ensure smooth functionality.

Oil and gas industry

In the oil and gas industry, large gearboxes for drilling rigs as well as pump housings and hose couplings for the transport of oil and gas are of great importance. Here, too, precisely manufactured components with tight tolerances are essential.

Machines for machining large parts

Machining large parts requires specialized turning and milling machines:

milling machines

There are horizontal and vertical milling machines. Horizontal milling machines allow for optimal chip disposal, while vertical milling machines have the spindle perpendicular to the plate.

3-axis, 4-axis and 5-axis milling machines

The number of axes determines the complexity of the machining. 4-axis machines allow the workpiece to rotate around one axis, with 5-axis machines even two axes can be moved. This enables complex geometries to be processed.

portal milling machines

Large components often require portal milling machines, where the milling head is attached to a crossbeam. Due to their stability and size, these machines can process very heavy workpieces.


Horizontal and vertical lathes are used depending on the type of workpiece. For very long shafts, additional support rollers are used.

Challenges when searching for suppliers

The search for suitable ones Suppliers for large-scale machining is complex. Due to the size and weight of the components, the following factors must be given particular attention:

Special transport

The transport of large components often requires special solutions. Logistical planning for loading and unloading is crucial.

Heat treatment and coating

Some components require heat treatment after processing. The painting and coating must also do justice to the dimensions of the workpieces.

On-site audit

Before the contract is awarded, an on-site audit makes sense to check the capacities and quality of the suppliers.

Contract manufacturer for large-scale machining

Large-scale machining in mechanical engineering is a complex field that requires specialized equipment, careful planning and close collaboration with experienced suppliers. Precisely manufactured large parts are indispensable in many industries, and the right selection of machining partners is the key to the success of such projects.

We work with cost-effective contract manufacturers from home and abroad and can produce a wide range of parts for you. Contact us for an offer!


Last revised on September 6, 2023 by Andreas Janisch