The global steel market is currently producing more than 2,300 million metric tons (MT), yet, global demand is only at 1,500 MT. Furthermore, an additional 352 MT capacity is planned for this year. That’s a lot of excess, and it’s affecting U.S. companies, workers and the global steel market. So what’s going on?
Headlines like “How to Keep Your Job When Robots Take Over,” and “Industrial robots will replace manufacturing jobs — and that’s a good thing,” only serve to confuse us about the future state of manufacturing. Are robots in manufacturing something to be excited or worried about?
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.
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.
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.
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.
The first step to solve any problem is to identify what’s wrong.
Evaluation is an important step in the problem-solving process. Through proactive evaluation, design engineers can identify where material can be reduced, in-line processes consolidated and assembly costs cut.
Once you identify the cost savings, you can develop the right metal fabrication solution.