“Let’s schedule a brainstorm meeting to come up with some new ideas.”
How many times have you heard this phrase? We’ve all been subject to brainstorm meetings, and often the result is a lackluster, unfocused plan. Why does this happen?
With fewer internal resources and smaller engineering staffs, many manufacturing companies are now seeking outsourced partners to help them enhance engineering activities so they can concentrate their internal bandwidth on core competencies.
Roll forming is often viewed as a cost-prohibitive process for metal fabricators. Typically, metal fabricators turn to stamping, press braking and extrusions for their needs, and roll forming is cast aside without consideration.
Yet roll forming can be the most cost-effective method to achieving a quality product. Roll forming has the ability to reduce your product’s weight, simplify design and cut secondary fabrication needs that can be handled inline.
Even if you’ve never designed for roll forming, it may be time to consider what its capabilities can do for your bottom line. This roll forming guide has everything you need to determine whether roll forming is your best option, manage costs and take the next steps in designing a roll formed product.
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.
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:
“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.
Designing for roll forming is in many ways a different process compared to other metal fabrication design methods. Roll forming removes some of the challenges other fabrication methods present, creating design opportunities for:
- Products requiring edge conditioning,
- Parts with complex geometry,
- Long parts,
- Redesigned aluminum extrusions and more.
When designing, or re-designing, a metal fabricated product, engineers strive to keep it simple, lightweight and cost-effective while still maintaining strength and integrity.
In order to achieve those goals, you may need to challenge traditional notions about how things should be done.