Struggling to stretch the budget for your next metal fabrication project? We get it. It’s expensive, between the cost of tooling, labor and sheet metal. There’s a lot of pressure to keep costs down and ROI high.
Your choice of a metal fabricator could be the solution to decreasing your metal fabrication costs while retaining a high-quality product. Below are four ways your metal fabricator can lower your costs, contribute to sales growth, improve profit margins and optimize your cash flow. If you choose the right partner, that is.
Between 2000 and 2009, close to 6 million jobs in manufacturing were lost due to offshoring. Now, we’re hearing that Chinese industries are catching up with, and sometimes already exceeding, the west.
However, there’s hope for U.S. manufacturers still. The industry is seeing a slow but steady uptick in jobs, with about 250,000 created from 2009 to 2016. This increase came in part from climbing overseas labor and freight costs, government initiatives like the Reshoring Initiative and a slew of benefits for reshoring companies, such as tax breaks, improved brand image and better quality control.
But what is the importance of made in America? Why should we be looking to domestic manufacturers for our products and services?
Metal extrusion is a production process that has stood the test of time. Manufacturers have used the popular process as a common fallback method to create a variety of metal parts and products.
Low tooling costs and its success forming lightweight parts has made aluminum extrusion a trusted method for many engineers—especially engineers unfamiliar with an alternative process such as roll forming.
Maybe you don’t have experience designing parts and products for roll forming, or you’re not sure what products are appropriate for roll forming. Whatever the reason, roll forming’s ability to cut costs and increase efficiencies is worth taking the time to evaluate.
Roll forming is all around. Yet, for many, it’s hard to recognize how roll forming techniques are applied in everyday life.
For example, walk into a grocery store and grab a carton of milk from the dairy section. There’s a good chance that the shelves of the refrigeration unit are roll formed.
Or on a Sunday when you want to clean the gutters, you might not realize that the rails on your trusty Little Giant ladder were redesigned and roll formed.
In an uncertain market, balancing your inventory is critical. And when forecasting is a challenge, you need to place more of a focus on keeping production costs low without sacrificing quality.
One of the first things to consider is the volume of the project. Whether your project requires a high or low volume run, you have options as to what metal fabrication process will produce the most efficient returns.
Below we discuss the factors you must weigh when choosing between metal forming processes for the expected production volume.
Managing metal fabrication costs can pose many challenges, such as fluctuating raw material prices, rising energy and transportation costs, and product design scope creep. Among these, avoiding scope creep can prove to be one of the toughest. However, by applying the Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA) approach, a project has a much better chance of being completed on time with minimal waste.
With any new metal fabrication project comes plenty of planning, challenges, critical decisions and efficiencies to strive for.
Before you budget your next fabrication project, it’s important that you have a full grasp on the different manufacturing factors to consider, and how you can optimize each step of the process for cost reduction, timeliness and efficacy.
To help narrow down the field of many, we’ve listed the four main factors of your metal manufacturing project and tips to optimize each:
To roll or to stamp—that is the question.
Your mission is to source a high quality, custom steel part to be manufactured efficiently at a relatively low cost.
As you well know, there are a variety of different metal forming techniques when sourcing a new project. But how do you choose between two popular methods, roll forming and stamping?
How you will manufacture your custom steel part is an important decision that requires you weigh and prioritize a variety of factors.
To help, we’ve listed five main factors to consider when making your metal sourcing decision:
Solar Power International 2016 brought together nearly 18,000 visitors, and with those visitors came innovations, ideas and projections for the future of solar. With 600 vendors and more than 40 scheduled events, it was almost as difficult to keep up with the goings-on at SPI as it is to keep tabs on the rapid growth of the solar industry.
In case you missed anything, below is a wrap-up of the show’s key takeaways.
“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
- Steve Jobs
In some iteration or another, you’ve heard of the KISS principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
The KISS principle was developed in the mid-1900s by Clarence “Kelly” Johnson, a former Lockheed Martin advanced aircraft development engineer, who believed that systems performed best when they had simple designs rather than complex ones.
Maybe Mr. Johnson was onto something. Many years later, the KISS principle is still used by manufacturing engineers and software designers, where the threat of scope creep can make projects unmanageable over time.
Image Credit: Brennan via Flickr
There are many different factors that can affect your part or product design, including cost, material, project scope and time to market. Below are three rules based in simplicity to help manufacturing engineers reduce design complexity.