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.
Knowledge is like a muscle. You have to focus on and exercise it if you want it to grow.
When knowledge plateaus, it can negatively affect output. An engineer’s knowledge is his or her greatest asset. Engineers who lack knowledge of alternative production methods can inhibit a product’s cost efficiency, and in turn, hinder profitability.
Solar panel prices continue to decrease, and as a result, solar panel and mounting manufacturers must find new ways to stay competitive. The new cost-reduction goal is to substantially reduce mounting system production costs.
When prioritizing products or parts for a redesign, consider:
The weight of the part or product. If a product is heavy, there is probably an opportunity to reduce weight, and with it, production, inventory and shipping costs.
The complexity of the part of product. Evaluate the part’s design complexity and whether it requires multiple steps to fabricate, or to assemble.
Overall production costs. Is the part or product is expensive and inefficient to produce? Flag it for a redesign.
Once you have identified the components to be evaluated, there are multiple ways to approach the process. For engineers, this is a step in the process that allows us to flex our design muscles and create a more efficient solution.
Before a manufacturer makes a large investment in tooling a new project, engineers must make sure the new designs they propose work perfectly. The best way to test and ensure new designs work as desired is through prototyping and product refinement.
As sections become more complex and tooling costs increase, it is more important than ever for engineers to get prototypes right before production begins. How can engineers make the most of the prototyping and product refinement phases of production? That’s the big question this post sets out to answer.
Do you work to live or live to work?
I imagine many engineers struggle with this question. We’d like to work to live, but external forces such as rapidly evolving technology, shorter product lifecycles and new product capabilities have us living to work.
Engineers across industries are stretched. Forced to do more with less time and money, and pulled in different directions by competing priorities. Because of this, work-life balance can quickly become an illusive dream rather than a reality.
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.
When you hear or see the word “valuable,” what comes to mind?
We tend to look at the Merriam-Webster definition of valuable and view it as something or someone who is:
- Very useful or helpful.
- Important and limited in amount.
A valuable engineering partner is useful in creating effective production solutions and important to the overall strength of your business. Below are an additional five key characteristics every engineering partner should possess.
In any business, consistent collaboration is the driving force for continued efficiency and effectiveness. For manufacturing engineers, a lack of collaboration with other departments can result in high costs and scope creep.
Similar to the metal fabrication decision-making process, collaborative engineering is an interactive process that requires participation from several key stakeholders involved throughout the supply chain process. The goal of collaborative engineering is for engineering stakeholders to create solutions, resolve conflicts and agree upon courses of action that affect a fabrication project.
All manufacturers across the world have at least one thing in common: They want to cut costs in order to keep prices competitive.
It often falls upon the manufacturer’s engineering team to figure out creative ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality.