Excessive materials handling costs, design mishaps, costly do-overs, wasted man hours, production delays…
These are just a few of the bottom-line draining risks associated with metalforming if not performed by a turnkey manufacturer with metal engineering expertise. If your component fails to function properly in the final assembled product, the results can be financially devastating.
You can eliminate these risks by seeking out a full-service manufacturing partner with an experienced metal engineering and design team who can envision how every component will work in your final assembly. When searching for a new partner, the company’s engineer should ask to see your full assembly design and specifications, not just the component design. When it comes to taking a design to production, there’s no such thing as a simple, metal part.
Success Begins with the Part Design
Once your metal engineer and the design team team understand how the part will function in the complete system, they can look for enhancement opportunities to improve the overall value of your final assembly. The metal engineer will likely ask plenty of questions to see if more functionality can be added to the part that didn’t exist before.
For example, if you have a design for a metal handle to go on the side of a semi, the engineer can work with you to meet your specifications. But, they’ll also look for ways to improve the part. Maybe your design is based on aerodynamics for reducing wind noise, but your metal engineer may recommend ways to metal form additional features, such as grip additions for safety. Your engineer can then help you create a part with more functionality and value.
Perhaps you have a tubular metal design for oven vent tubes that pose hydroforming challenges due to cost. Your partner should have the metal engineering and forming expertise to quickly determine if your design can be adjusted to save production costs, and at the same time function as intended.
The metal engineering and design process for your vent tube design may include steps such as:
- Consulting with your design group to assess the part’s “buildability” criteria, such as:
- How the part is supposed to function in the final assembly
- Specific metal thickness and tube dimensions required for proper functionality
- Your industry’s standards for quality control and performance
- Your metal manufacturing partner will also look for ways to enhance your part’s design to make it less expensive to produce, such as:
- Utilizing a less expensive material
- Changing the tube dimensions, such as adjusting the radius so it requires less tooling
- Finding molds that work more quickly for more lead time
Your engineering and design team should open the lines of communication with you as soon as possible to find ways to add more value to your part, make it less expensive to manufacture, and most importantly, identify potential flaws that could affect your bottom line.
Prevent Design Flaws and Improve ROI
A turnkey metal part and assembly manufacturer should have the right equipment and metal engineering expertise to identify part design flaws that could cause the final assembly to malfunction. Qualified metal engineers can use 3D modeling and prototyping to ensure your product or component will be both functional and financially viable to produce.
Without this metal engineering expertise, the final product may not work as intended, such as an automobile visor tube. If the metal tube is not engineered properly, the visor may not be able to slide back and forth as designed. The right R&D in the beginning of the forming process can identify tooling issues that prevent such flaws.
One of the biggest risks with metal part forming is producing a part that could have been manufactured at a fraction of the cost. Your partner should have the engineering expertise to factor in such cost considerations, as well as the 3D modeling capability to look at the final assembly “big picture” for overall return on your part investment.
Metal engineering and design ROI may include:
- Lowering the scrap rate for your part model
- Finding a lower cost material to produce your part
- Ensuring hydroforming isn’t pushing the metal limits, such as going beyond fatigue limitations for stainless steel handles, which can result in excess scrap and overhead expenses
Using this “early and often” approach, your manufacturing partner can help you find opportunities to reduce your part’s weight, cost, and time to market.
Metal Engineering Expertise: Your Competitive Advantage
At Mills Products, our customer-focused culture begins with communication early in the part design process. We’ll collaborate closely with your design team to help you close the gap between your vision and reality. Our metal engineering and design team can help you lower manufacturing costs and increase your part’s overall value, giving you a critical, competitive advantage from design through production.
Our proven Finite Element Analysis (FEA) can predict part design flaws before production begins. We’ll use our extensive customer database to create prototypes to research and test, such as tooling options that work best with your part’s design.
Our metal engineering team can use our 3D modeling capability to:
- Simulate tube expansion severity
- Predict material thinning
- Determine the failure and success rates prior to manufacturing
From heavy truck handle grabs to tubular metal oven trim, no part is too complex for the Mills engineering and design team. We’ll ask you plenty of questions early in the process to get the big picture of your full assembly in both form and function.
We’ll help you identify opportunities to add more features to increase overall value, reduce scrap and use less expensive material, and add functionality to the part you did not anticipate in your original design.
To learn how we can leverage our expert metal engineering expertise to your competitive advantage, please contact us today.