Why Shims Matter More Than You Think

When you require a small component to help balance something or create additional clearance, you might reach for a scrap of wood or even fold a piece of cardboard a few times. This can be a satisfactory temporary solution around the house or in a workshop, but what if you need to maintain precision and uniformity when stabilizing or adding clearance within an application?

This is why shims are more than just an afterthought or improvised component when it comes to industrial uses. The fact that they are used to create clearances and add support means that they affect the integrity and security, and therefore should be made to a high standard.

Carpentry, masonry, building, automotive manufacturing, electronics production, and other industries regularly rely on shims that are stamped to precise specs. These sectors need shims that come in a variety of materials due to specific properties and performance capabilities.
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While wood is a common material used to create a basic shim, they are also made from a variety of metals. Steel shims, for example, are popular when a strong and economic spacing component is needed. When an additional property such as corrosion resistance is also required, stainless steel shims can satisfy this requirement. For electronic applications, where conductivity must be carefully controlled, a shim that provides electrical insulation, such as one made from nylon, rubber, or other industrial quality polymer, can be ideal.

In addition to material, the shape of shims can factor into how suitable they are for an application. Square, rectangular, and slotted shims with various inner diameter shapes, are some of the most common types. Selecting the right dimensions will greatly affect the quality and stability of their placement. This is why uniformity matters when utilizing shims. When each spacer is identical, it’s easier to control adjustments in clearance and better predict results when seeking to add stability.

Such adjustments can be completed at a highly precise level with laminated shims. These are spacing components that are comprised of many, many compressed layers of foil. Each layer can be peeled away, one by one, to carefully adjust the clearance that laminated shim will provide. These components are especially advantageous in an application where even minor adjustments can have a significant effect on the results.

Lastly, an important consideration for using shims is where you’ll source them. Since shims are used primarily for support services, their consistency in terms of quality and true-to-spec matters a great deal. This is why it only makes sense to get them directly from a reliable manufacturer. Many industrial professionals and OEMs choose Superior Washer as a source for shims for this reason.

Wherever you decide to get your shims, or if you choose to make them yourself, remember that they are more than just an afterthought element within a structure. These small, basic spacing components can make a big impact whenever they are used.