Manufacturing to budget can be achieved with a forward-thinking approach, encompassing the design of cost-efficient parts and the selection of a versatile manufacturing partner.
By Ronan Ye
Whether your business needs five parts or five million, identifying cost-cutting techniques can be easier said than done. After all, cutting costs can seem like a surefire route to cutting quality.
But that needn’t be the case. With the right mindset, it is possible to eliminate unnecessary costs from your manufacturing project without compromising on quality.
In this article, rapid prototyping and short-run production specialist from China 3ERP talks us through a simple plan for reducing manufacturing costs.
1. Efficiency in design
Every part starts with a design. And although the end product may differ greatly from those first sketches, the design of a part has a huge impact on the eventual cost of manufacturing.
It’s why creative product designers need to know all about engineering and manufacturing. Fail to account for the ins and outs of the manufacturing process, and costs can skyrocket.
So how does efficiency in design affect manufacturing costs?
It all comes down to Design for Manufacturing, or DfM, the principle of designing parts with the manufacturing process in mind, not just the user application of the finished product.
Whether you’re using CNC machining, injection molding, die casting or another process entirely, it pays to design a part that
The specific design choices required to meet those criteria depends on the chosen process. A machined part, for example, should avoid undercuts, while a molded part should incorporate draft angles.
Respecting the manufacturing process will ultimately lead to efficient material usage, shorter timescales, minimal defects and a reduced need for post-processing and corrective steps.
Speak to a machinist. Consult an injection molding specialist. Design efficient parts to save yourself money.
2. Finding the right partner
When outsourcing manufacturing to a third party, even the most efficient designs can be spoilt by a poorly chosen partner.
And with so many options out there, it can be difficult to assess the qualifications of each candidate.
Counterintuitively, finding a cost-effective manufacturing partner requires you to partially ignore cost — at least at face value.
That’s because an attractive quotation only tells half the story. If the manufacturing partner does not possess the highest level of skill or reliability, those costs can end up increasing and increasing down the line.
Think about it this way. If you order a single prototype from a budget manufacturer, it may not be hugely significant whether the part is of the highest quality. And if it is unusable, you may be able to get your money back.
But if you need to place an order for 10,000 units and the quality of the deliverables is below par, you’ve got a real problem on your hands. Even if defects are covered under warranty, the cost implications of a delayed shipment can be severe.
By all means, shop around for a low-cost manufacturing solution, but remember that quality and reliability can ultimately save you money in the long run — while objectively improving your business prospects with an improved product.
3. Moving from prototypes to production
Being able to cut the cost of manufacturing often depends on treating the product cycle holistically.
That can come in to play in several ways. However, it is essential to think about how different iterations of the product relate to one another in the product cycle — and how consolidating aspects of the cycle can minimize expenditure.
The relationship between prototyping and production can therefore be key.
While it is tempting to view prototyping as a stage of R&D and separate from manufacturing, it can be profitable to employ a prototyping partner who can at least offer bridge production services, if not mass production in millions of units.
This is because a low-cost prototyping service + a low-cost manufacturing service does not necessarily = a low-cost project.
Your chosen manufacturer may have vastly different ideas to your prototyping partner about how to realize the design, which can lead to surprises down the line. And that’s to say nothing of the time and cost required to consult with two separate organizations.
Find a partner capable of prototyping and production, and you can almost certainly cut costs, since the partner will be ready to execute your project on a bigger scale immediately after prototyping.
3ERP’s manufacturing services
3ERP is a provider of prototyping and short-run production services, offering proven affordability, quality and reliability.
Our services include:
- CNC machining
- Vacuum casting
- Rapid Tooling
- Injection molding
- 3D printing
- Rapid metal casting
- Sheet metal prototyping
- Aluminum extrusion
We believe that high-quality manufacturing can still be affordable manufacturing, and we work closely with all our customers to deliver exactly what is needed — from one-off prototypes to large production requests.
Our expert engineers can help tailor your part to maximum cost-efficiency, and our bridge production services can take you from concept to market without friction.
Contact us today for a free quote.
To learn more about 3ERP: https://www.3erp.com/
Sponsored content by 3E Rapid Prototyping
It is very rare that one is able to think from end to end. Often we work in a racing scenario of 4×100 mt. relay race. And hence we lose sight of end objective. This article reminds me of 1×400 mt. relay race. i.e. Design looking through prototyping as well as serial production. very good article