The metal trim on your cubicle—roll formed.
The steps on your ladder—roll formed.
The stainless steel grill bars on the truck that just passed by—roll formed.
The roll forming process hasn’t changed much in the many years it’s been used by metal fabricators and manufacturers. Despite its resemblance to the original lines of the past, roll forming continues to be an efficient production method that offers in-line processing, consistent profile geometry and high yield.
And yet, the field faces a problem. A lack of education around roll forming (due in part to its absence from collegiate engineering curriculum) has made it difficult for roll forming to gain traction as a viable alternative to extruding, stamping and press braking. In addition, the process has become commoditized, with little to differentiate one roll former from another.
So what’s the secret to standing out? We believe it is to meet the evolving needs of our customer base. Manufacturers need more than an outsourced metal fabrication vendor; they need a supply chain partner.
Tooling presents a significant upfront cost to new fabrication projects, and escalating tooling costs can hurt businesses’ bottom lines. As a result, tooling can be cost-prohibitive for many would-be roll formed products.
In response, some metal fabricators offer “free” or partially owned tooling. This allows manufacturers to reduce the upfront costs of roll forming, and free up cash flow.
But in the long-term, it’s not that simple.
To acquire the highest quality goods, services and raw materials at the lowest possible cost, sourcing managers must have a pulse on:
Evolving market trends.
The sourcing manager’s responsibilities may also include overseeing a product redesign, and as a result, internal and external engineering teams. During a redesign project, coordination of these parties is crucial to production success.
Burgeoning technologies, healthy markets and innovation are all responsible for 2014 being a good year for U.S. manufacturing. According to the December 2014 Manufacturing ISM Report On Business, manufacturing continues to experience growth.
In late November 2014, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy announced that the agency was proposing new standards for ground-level ozone pollution. The EPA’s proposal would lower the current standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb) to a standard in the range of 65 parts per billion to 70 parts per billion.
Below are three predictions and observations we have for the manufacturing industry in 2015.
In an evolving and increasingly competitive manufacturing landscape, cutting costs is a more heightened priority than ever before.
When faced with the decision to produce parts in-house or outsource a project, understanding total cost of ownership is imperative. Costs such as inventory, material and tooling costs all fall under total cost of ownership for manufacturers.
We have all heard the phrase “too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth.”
The same sentiment can be shared regarding big decisions in your company— such as fabricating a metal component.
Depending on the size and organizational structure of your business, there are a few key stakeholders who should be involved in every metal fabrication meeting. Below are the people whose input should be considered when evaluating production options.
U.S. manufacturing activity is growing, and as the industry evolves, companies are looking for ways to adapt. They will strive for improvement with the ultimate goal of increasing revenue. In this process of growth, manufacturers may ask:
How do we become a more agile business?
Where can we reduce waste and be leaner?
Are our product lifecycle management (PLM) processes streamlined?