Manufacturing to a budget can be accomplished with a visionary approach, incorporating the design of cost-efficient parts and the selection of a multiskilled manufacturing partner. Whether your company needs five parts or five million, identifying cost-cutting techniques isn’t virtually impossible. After all, cutting costs need not imply sacrificing on quality.
In this article we will learn about:
- Efficiency in Design
- Finding the Right Manufacturing Partner
- Moving from Prototypes to Production
Efficiency in Design
Every part starts with a design. And although the end product might be different from those first sketches, the design of a part has a huge impact on the eventual cost of manufacturing. It’s why artistic product designers need to know all about engineering and manufacturing. Fail to understand the ins and outs of the manufacturing process, and costs can skyrocket.
So do you wonder how efficiency in a design affects manufacturing costs? It all depends on Design for Manufacturing i.e 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 moulding or another process entirely, it pays to design a part that
a) Fits within the building envelope of the manufacturing machine
b) Does not present geometrical difficulties for the machine
c) Can be built by the machine using as little surplus material as possible
d) Can be fabricated by the machine in as little time as possible
The particular design choices needed to meet those criteria depend on the elected process. A machined part, for example, should avoid undercuts, while a moulded part should incorporate draft angles. Respecting the manufacturing process will ultimately lead to efficient material usage, shorter timescales and minimal defects. Design efficient parts to save yourself money.
Finding the Right Manufacturing Partner
When outsourcing manufacturing to a third party, even the most efficient designs can be plundered by a poorly chosen partner. And with so many options out there, it can be difficult to assess the qualifications of each candidate.
However, finding a cost-effective manufacturing partner requires you to partially ignore cost. That’s because an attractive quotation only tells half the story. If the manufacturing partner does not hold the best of skill or reliability, those costs can end up increasing and increasing down the line.
Think about it this fashion. If you order a single prototype from a budget manufacturer, it may not be important whether the part is of the highest quality. If it is unusable, you may be able to get your money back. But if you need to place an order 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 eventually save you money in the long run — while objectively improving your business prospects with an improved product.
Moving from Prototypes to Production
Being able to cut the cost of manufacturing often depends on handling the product cycle entirely. 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 phases of the cycle can minimize expenditure.
The relationship between prototyping and production can therefore be key in cost reduction. While it is alluring to view prototyping as an R&D stage and separate from manufacturing, it can be beneficial to employ a prototyping partner who can at least offer a connection between production services, if not mass production in millions of units.
This is because a low-cost prototyping service and a low-cost manufacturing service does not necessarily equal a low-cost project. Your appointed manufacturer may have vastly diverse ideas to your prototyping partner about how to actualise 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 competent in prototyping and production, and you can certainly cut costs since the partner will be ready to execute your project on a bigger scale immediately after prototyping.
Our expert engineers at Dainsta can help tailor your part to maximum cost-efficiency, and our production services can take you from concept to market without friction. Also, if you are interested to read more on similar manufacturing topics, you can check out our other fascinating blogs here.