Managing the cost of metal fabricated parts
At Noble Industries, we work diligently to give our customers exactly what they want and when they want it. Keep these things in mind when determining all of your needs. Additional value added processes can increase your costs.
We understand that everyone looks for cost savings. Here are a few tips that you should consider for metal fabricated parts.
1. Overall Design
Keep the manufacturing process in mind when designing components. Multiple parts can be less costly than one very complex part.
2. Part dimensions and tolerances
Extremely tight tolerances generally add to the cost of the part. Make sure only critical dimensions are specified and have the other dimensions covered in your title block.
3. Specific notes on your prints
Those little general notes we add to prints that say remove sharp edges and burrs seem informative, right? These instructions can be some of the most costly procedures in the metal fabrication process. If you aren’t expecting grinding to be necessary, don’t add those words. Give the engineer information about how the part is going to be used and if there are specific areas that need to be watched but don’t just give a general comment .
4. Material Specifications
When several components are required, attempt to use a common material type and thickness on as many parts as possible. A good metal fabricator will nest or cut parts to get the most out of the raw material. Also don’t specify a rare material type unless it is absolutely necessary. This will add cost and increase the timeframe as most metal suppliers keep commonly used material on their floor and will have to special order materials not commonly used. If in doubt, please ask.
5. Finish requirements
Powder coating is a very economical finish for your parts. Custom colors are common but be careful when specifying a specific color or supplier as that may add cost. If you can, ask what colors are commonly used or in stock. Also if there are only certain portions of the part that are surface critical, please specify on the drawing.
6. Packaging and Shipping
Most metal fabricators will have a good understanding on the most economical way to get product to their customers on time and undamaged. Specify special packaging needs but don’t if you don’t have special needs don’t add to the cost.
7. Supplier Warehoused Inventory
Suppliers regularly manage their customers finished goods. The popularity of this activity has grown with the evolution of lean manufacturing. Just remember, there are costs associated with this. To obtain the lowest cost parts, you may find that purchase orders with multiple releases and no inventory requirements to be the lowest cost option.