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Case Study: Shims for Industrial Hydraulic Pump


Application: Industrial Hydraulic Pumps

Hydraulic Pump

A global leader in hydraulic pump design and manufacturing was approached by SPIROL Shims regarding their use of shims. They were interested in changing their existing program with the goals of improving quality, having consistent supply and reducing overall cost.

Hydraulic pumps serve virtually every industry in manufacturing and technology applications such as chemical plants, automotive engineering, marine / offshore projects, railway engineering, civil water facilities and many other industrial applications.

The precision steel shims used in hydraulic pumps are engineered to be durable and meet extremely tight tolerances. Shims account for the variation in the pumps components for precise fit and proper bearing load.

Shims used in hydraulic pumps are manufactured to precise hardness specifications and dimensional tolerances to ensure proper long lasting functionality.

Parameters of note:

  • Thickness tolerance (to .0004 inch), flatness and parallelism are important for the correct shim selection based on the assembly measurements. Precise fit is needed for optimum pump functionality and durability.
  • The steel shims must be heat treated to a specified hardness required for strength vs. stress ratio and dimensional integrity throughout the product's life.
  • ID and OD dimensional control is critical for proper fit of the pump's assembly and for operational efficiencies.  
  • Burr free, clean and surface smoothness are mandatory for hydraulic components overall operations and lifespan.

Old program Issues:

The program is very large with over 140 part numbers and an annual usage over 200,000 shims. The shims under their old program were produced from expensive bar stock. The shim were either machined to the specified thickness or produced to a rough "blank" thickness. Both the finished shim and the rough blanks had to be sent out to another vendor for heat treating. The machining company that produced the shims was unable to consistently meet demand and quality.

The rough blanks still needed be ground to specified thickness. This was done on-site at the pump manufacturer. The grind operation was not part of their core business, was costly and slowed down the assembly lines. The hydraulic pump manufacturer wanted to remove grind operations from their facility.

Overall, the existing program was not efficient, was difficult to manage, it was expensive and often resulted in down assembly lines because the correct shim parts were not available.   


The SPIROL Shims sales engineer worked closely with the pump manufacturer to determine the part's requirements, program scope and the goals of improving quality and availability while reducing overall program costs.  After careful review and project development, SPIROL Shims was able to offer a program that addressed all of their goals.

SPIROL was able to develop a comprehensive "one stop" solution. Our in house grind, heat treat and machine shop departments are able to produce all parts complete. This saves time and money.

Another proposed cost savings involved material. SPIROL proposed using a steel grade in sheet/coils. The grade proposed met all physical and chemical specification.  With a small one time tooling investment, SPIROL is able to produce consistent quality parts. The coil stock and dedicated tools means high volume runs of repeatable quality parts at a lower cost per piece.

The SPIROL proposal for the large shim program allows the pump manufacturer to focus on its core business of hydraulic pump production and not managing a time consuming shim program.

The SPIROL Shims Program has many advantages for the pump manufacturer. We offer:

  • In house grinding operations capable of tight thickness tolerances.
  • In house heat treating able to meet strict hardness specifications.
  • In house machining department for critical ID/OD tolerances
  • In house bench department to package each part in optimum quantities resulting in improved operation and efficiencies at the manufacturer's assembly lines. 
  • SPIROL Shims also offers vast experience working with large program business that requires Kanban/JIT style planning, production scheduling and logistics; which keeps the customers line operations running.

In summary, SPIROL Shims is now producing the entire package of shims for the hydraulic pump manufacturer. The shims are manufactured as complete parts with superior quality, improved availability and at a significant costs savings.

SPIROL Shims Division works closely and effectively with customers of all sizes. We are often able to propose creative alternatives in manufacturing processes or design that will lower the part's cost and improve quality.

Our staff of engineers will review your application needs and work with your design team to recommend the best solution. To start the process request a quote.

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