Laminated shims offer cost-effective production 20 May 2014

It is often quicker and less expensive to use a laminated shim, a thin piece of metal or composite, to level a machine tool or to make components fit together. Acting like a folded piece of paper used under table legs to prevent wobbling, a shim can also be used to quell vibrations and to silence noisy equipment.

SPIROL industries’ laminated shims have peelable layers of precision gauge metal foil or composite, which are removed until the shim has the proper thickness. The layers are bonded into a rigid structure that appears and functions as a solid sheet or plate. Adjusting them is as easy as peeling off laminations with a knife or in the case of some materials, using no tool at all.

The foils can be aluminium, stainless steel, carbon steel and brass, amongst other materials. Final shims range from 0.15mm to 6.35mm thick. The bond is made by heat and pressure, which hardens and reduces the resin to a point where it is almost undetectable.

Designers need to know the forces that will be placed on the laminated shim before choosing a shim material. Shims can be partially solid and partially laminated and these semi-solid shims can typically be used to add rigidity to a design or accommodate a bearing surface on one side of the shim.

In terms of wear compensation, shims compensate for wear and are often designed to be the sacrificial component so the basic equipment retains its original accuracy. Shim faces should have a PTFE treatment if exposed to friction causing motions.

Laminated shims reduce assembly time and provide dimensional accuracy without machining components. Quick production line adjustments and field repairs can be carried out and there is no need for grinding.

Claire Aldridge Deputy Editor t: +44 (0) 1727 743 889

Having spent a decade in the fastener industry experiencing every facet – from steel mills, fastener manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, as well as machinery builders and plating + coating companies, Claire has developed an in-depth knowledge of all things fasteners.

Alongside visiting numerous companies, exhibitions and conferences around the world, Claire has also interviewed high profile figures – focusing on key topics impacting the sector and making sure readers stay up to date with the latest developments within the industry.