Dawson Shanahan provides the answers


Dawson Shanahan provides the answers

In this special blog, Robbie Williams, Quality Assurance Manager at Dawson Shanahan, answers some the questions most frequently asked by our customers.

How long will it take for my parts to be delivered? Has the pandemic affected lead times?
Our lead times are typically dependent on those for the materials specified for the production of the parts. The pandemic has certainly affected the lead times of some of our predominantly European suppliers; raw materials that used to take six weeks to get to us now take 20 weeks. To manage this, we maintain buffer stocks. For example, we always keep 100 tonnes of copper on-hand to ensure that we never run low. Further, our expertise in cold forming means that, if a certain diameter of stock isn’t available, we can re-form existing stock so that it’s fit for the job.

How much will my order cost?
This is dependent on many factors, but the cost of raw materials has sky-rocketed in the last two years. The cold-forming process that we can use, however, ensures that we can limit the impact this has on our customers. Cold-forming can cut production costs without sacrificing the quality of the resulting components. Thanks to cold forming, material savings of up to up to 80% can be achieved in comparison with machining. The process is also highly energy-efficient. These benefits are not only good for your bottom line, but they are also great for the environment, too. In addition, where there is a family of parts to be produced, tooling can be shared—cutting costs even further.

How do I design for the cold-forming process?
If you get your design right, the benefits of cold forming can be significant. Take vacuum interrupters, which are used throughout the power-distribution sector to protect high-voltage components. Traditionally, these parts have been manufactured from solid copper rod, which was machined to shape with a flat section to prevent the component from rotating when in use. This approach, however, reduces the cross-section of the part and adversely affects its electrical properties.

Working with our customer, we took a radically different approach to the design and manufacture of the part. Using cold forming, we reduced unit cost and enabled parts with improved surface finish and mechanical strength to be produced in a single operation and in high volumes. It also enabled four anti-rotation splines to be extruded along the length of each component, increasing its surface area to improve thermal conductivity.

What sort of volumes can you produce?
Generally, the larger the part, the more we are prepared to do lower volumes. Further to our cold-forming expertise, we have more than 25 years’ worth of experience of high-speed machining on horizontal and vertical twin-pallet milling machines and precision turning. We have been investing in our precision machining capability for decades and continue to expand our UK engineering facilities, furthering our already considerable abilities to develop and manufacture high-quality components and assemblies that deliver exceptional value—all at the rates demanded by such as the automotive industry.

How do you ensure that you produce always high-quality parts?
In addition to the significant investments we have made in our machinery, production processes and people, we have also put quality management systems in place and have had them certified to two key standards: IATF 16949 and ISO 9001. At Dawson Shanahan, planning for any external audit starts the day after our last one takes place. Between external audits, we carry-out over 50 internal audits—ensuring that our standards never slip. For many more FAQs, you can read all about it here.