14 Sep 5 hidden costs of traditional component manufacturing techniques
We’re now three months on from that remarkable Brexit vote and it’s fair to say the impact it’s had on the manufacturing industry so far has been much greater than expected. The Financial Times has reported that manufacturing production is down in the UK following the vote and the British Chamber of Commerce has more than halved its GDP growth prediction for next year.
With budgets tight and investment likely to be minimised in post-Brexit Britain in the short term at least, there has never been a more important time for manufacturers to focus on getting value for money. One area where this can be achieved is in component production.
At present, many companies, including yours, might be at risk of paying too much for component manufacture/metal forming. Why? Because of hidden costs that are often overlooked. These are the main five hidden costs you should be aware of:
Tooling – This is an essential part of the component manufacturing process. However, the cost of tooling varies considerably from project to project, and, due to the trial and error nature of the process, can be inconsistent. For best results, work with a specialist that uses process simulation software, as this can reduce your tooling costs significantly.
High material usage – Traditional types of machining notoriously waste large volumes of material. In fact, the manufacture of many components that are cut, milled or ground from solid workpieces can result in 80% or more of the original material being converted to waste. This doesn’t have to be the case. By opting for alternative, less wasteful methods of producing components you can cut your raw material costs.
Multi-process – More complex component designs sometimes require a multi-process solution. Whether it is milling followed by grinding, or turning combined with laser cutting, a multi-process component manufacturing process is more time intensive – usually increasing costs. However, a technique such as cold forming is a one-step process, which makes the process more efficient and usually more cost effective.
Self-assembly – Where components are involved, multi-part assembly is normally a necessity. However, doing this in-house isn’t necessarily the most cost effective method. An experienced specialist can often complete this part of the operation for you. This can enable you to free staff up for other tasks, while also saving on the costs associate with packing, delivering and unpacking multiple component parts.
Energy usage – Although not necessarily considered a direct cost to you, the energy usage of a component manufacturing technique can impact on your costs. Processes such as hot forming use high levels of energy to produce components; the cost of this energy usage is likely to be passed on to you, the customer. A process that consumes lower volumes of energy is a sensible option both for your budget and the environment.
Through getting to grips with these hidden costs and exploring alternative methods, such as cold forming for example, you can drive down your component production costs, relieve some of the pressure on your budgets and better position yourself to compete in post-Brexit Britain.