What to Look for in a Contract Machine Shop

Aerospace & Government

When businesses and governments need precision machined parts like gearbox housings, shroud sets, control panels, and other aerospace or defense components, they contract with machine shops across the USA. But what makes a machining shop a smart choice for aerospace and government contracts? It all comes down to quality and capabilities.

Quality, certifications, and machining capabilities are the most important points to consider when choosing a contract machine shop. When the contract is in the aerospace and government industries, these three categories become more important than ever. Fair Haven Machine, Inc. has robust CMM quality control, ISO 9000 & AS 9001 certifications and ITAR membership, and CNC machining and tooling facilities. Combined with our experience, expertise, and unfailing commitment to quality, these capabilities make Fair Haven Machine, Inc. the clear choice for a contract machine shop for aerospace and government machining contracts.


A contract machine shop cannot ensure quality without the right certifications. Whether contracting for aerospace or government, even the most impeccably made part is useless without the appropriate certifications. When looking for a contract machine shop, two certifications are crucial: the International Organization of Standards 9001, and AS 9100. Many aerospace machine shops are ISO 9001 certified, but that is not necessarily the case for AS 9100. So what’s the difference?

ISO 9001 must first be in place before shops may acquire AS 9100. ISO 9001 establishes the most basic standards, and AS 9100 expands on those standards for the intricate CNC machining required for aerospace components.

What’s so special about AS 9100? Aerospace-specific language, and higher standards for risk management, validation, and verification of parts make AS 9100 crucial and unique to a contract machine shop producing aerospace components.

International Traffic in Arms Regulations Registered Certificate

A Note on ITAR

Contract Machine Shops who contract in defense work must adhere to strict ITAR regulations, which address the export of defense and military-related technology and information. ITAR ensures that contractors of US government components do not share technology or information with foreign agents without authorization. Fair Haven is proud to be a registered ITAR machine shop.

Tooling and Machining Expertise

A contract machine shop needs quality management, certifications, and memberships to the relevant regulatory boards. Most importantly, though, they need machines!

When looking for a contract machine shop, investigate their machining tools. Does your shop offer the most advanced CNC equipment? Do they offer tools with fourth axis capabilities for making complex cuts? Milling centers, spherical grinding capabilities, and the capacity for machining large complex parts from exotic materials set contract machine shop Fair Haven apart from its non-specialized counterparts.

In-house tooling for aerospace and government work is essential. To accommodate the intricacies of specialized parts, Fair Haven completes all tooling requirements to ensure the quality of these complex components.

State-of-the-art machinery is only as good as the people who operate it. Fair Haven’s machinists and engineers have the experience and knowledge to control the fabrication process to ensure that design constraints are met in a sensical, realistic way.

Quality Management & On-time Delivery

If you’re looking for a contract machine shop, the basics of any business still apply: you want excellent quality management, on-time delivery, and quick, clear communication. Speak to the shops you are considering working with, and pay attention to response times, hours of operation, ease of access, and past customer experiences.

It would be ideal to assume that any machine shop will guarantee precision, but impeccable precision in the aerospace and military industries is required 100% of the time. A machine shop with well-maintained CMM machines can make the difference between smooth operation and catastrophic breakdown. Fair Haven keeps our measuring machines up to date and uses the highest standards for ensuring the accuracy of every part produced.

What to Look for in a Contract Machine Shop: Fair Haven Machine, Inc.

When looking for a contract machine shop for aerospace and government contracts, look for certifications, quality management, state-of-the-art machining tools, and expert staff. The right equipment, knowledge, expertise, and commitment to the latest technology make the difference between a shop you use once and a shop you can depend on for the future of your machining needs. At Fair Haven, we proudly contract with aerospace and government to provide fast, excellent machining for the most exacting contracts. Get in touch today and see what Fair Haven can do for you.