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5 Points to Consider for Efficient Component Manufacturing

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Efficient Component Manufacturing

Component manufacturing allows for the production of versatile parts with tight or rigid specifications, essential to industries such as healthcare. If we take a close look at the evolution of electronic devices, automobiles, and medical devices, we can see that components are getting smaller, packing more functionality in the same volume. The journey to miniaturisation is aided by advances in technology and leads to more incredible speed, efficiency, and power, not to mention decreased weight. Still, many pursue big part opportunities and invest in machines that can process oversized components for plant operations. As companies create items with complex geometries and sizable parts, precision manufacturing has never been more critical.

Even the slightest error can result in disaster, so the abilities of the machines shouldn’t divert attention from getting components done quickly. In the world of manufacturing, time is money, which means that the easier and faster processes can be completed, the more profit a company can make. The best way to ensure well-built and reliable components is to partner with the right company, which can turn your ideas and prototypes into tangible products. You’ll need the assistance of a manufacturing facility, especially if you’re struggling to produce in bulk. Without further ado, these are the factors to take into account when seeking to optimise parts manufacturing.

1. Quantity

Quantity refers to how much is produced when it’s produced, and what resources are paramount to produce it. Parts can be made in quantity with less demand on skill and effort if adequate tooling is deployed, but the quantity must be enough to recoup the special tooling costs. Understanding production capacity makes it possible to forecast future financial performance and create a realistic timeline for delivering the products. Failing to reach a suitable volume of production can inhibit growth and slash profitability, but it’s necessary to adhere to a base level of quality standards as a manufacturer.

Quantity strategies include but aren’t limited to optimising local inventories, make-to-order, and other release/dispatch policies, and they should be selected based on how efficient they are. Any decision, regardless of motivation, will have an impact on quality performance. Bringing quantity and quality together can produce unexpected but realistic benefits. Keep in mind that yield is a function of the entire system. When attempting to create components, you must be able to replicate those parts when needed, meaning that identical products should be made again and again. Injection moulding large plastic products allow for high repeatability, so it’s practical to use.

2. Lead time

It takes time to create a product and deliver it to the customer. Lead time is calculated by adding the number of days necessary to procure the materials, manufacture the components, and deliver the finished products. As a rule, time constraints to execution are easy to identify. Every complex system consists of several linked activities, of which one acts as a bottleneck for the entire system. It’s up to you to identify the limiting factor that’s preventing you from ramping up your production and meeting your goals; until you decrease the capacity of the time constraint, you won’t be able to increase your throughput. Reducing production cycle times is essential to generating higher volumes.

3. Moulding & tooling

Moulding and tooling are required to create viable components. Moulding involves shaping a liquid or malleable raw material by means of a fixed frame, and several types of processes exist, including casting, injection moulding, compression moulding, and structural foam moulding. Let’s focus for a second on structural foam moulding, a common alternative for parts requiring specific geometries and flow lengths. It’s like injection moulding, the only difference being that a chemical blowing agent is deployed during the process. The components obtained are structurally sound and have minimal warpage. Additionally, the part weights can be reduced by 15%.

Tooling is a significant investment due to the fact that the manufacturing of the components is more efficient, as multiple stages are required to finish the final product. Common categories of machine tooling are jigs, fixtures, moulds, dies, patterns, and cutting equipment. It goes without saying that having the right tooling in place is of the essence. If they don’t function as they should, components aren’t manufactured correctly. To select the right tooling, it’s imperative to take into account the production output, power requirements and consumption, durability, space requirements, and expenses. Contrary to popular opinion, tooling isn’t expensive or cost-prohibitive.

4. Coatings and materials choice

Several factors affect the choice of a coating, including but not limited to life expectancy, component shape and size, service environment, and substrate material compatibility. Blackening, for instance, is suitable for variable materials, such as stainless steel, copper, and zinc, creating a strong barrier against humidity and corrosion. The added value far exceeds the cost of the coating process and materials. The coating is developed to meet customers’ requirements as far as appearance, uniqueness, durability, and compliance are concerned. It’s generally custom-made and used during the later stages of production.

When selecting materials, it’s crucial to get a good understanding of their properties and applicable conditions, no to mention taking into account the requirements of use, process, and economy of the components. You can reduce material usage by applying smart production techniques. Failure can be traced back to the selection of the material, so it’s advisable to deploy strong, long-lasting materials to ensure graceful ageing. Make informed decisions about the materials you use, with a thorough understanding of the pros and cons. Beyond 30,000 thermoplastics grades can be grouped into 300 subfamilies, which means you’re spoilt for choice.

5. Correct Specification

Finally, yet importantly, don’t neglect the correct specification, which is paramount for product development. No matter if it’s in the shape of complaints, questions, suggestions, or feature requests, consider customer feedback and initiate internal discussions. There must be opportunities for everyone in the organisation to take part in the development process to invite fresh perspectives. Make sure the design is relevant to the application, and remember that over-specification (i.e., the choice of materials with greater strength than required) will lead to increased costs, even if it contains complete information.

In conclusion, there are many challenges to consider in component manufacturing, yet there are solutions to overcome them. Outsourcing your moulding allows you to leverage the extensive processes and resources available. It’s more about saving money – it’s about maximising the investment.