Metal stamping is an inexpensive approach to manufacturing, but that doesn’t make it cheap. In today’s competitive business environment, companies need to save money in any way they can. Here are thirteen ways your company can reduce your expenses when using metal stamping manufacturing.
Scheduling and Planning
Last-minute manufacturing can cost a lot. While manufacturers may be able to rush production, it often comes at a premium. Plan your supply chain ahead of time to find the best companies to partner with. Rushed production may also mean you don’t have time to optimize your process, which may mean higher defect rates.
Watch Metal Prices
Metals prices fluctuate regularly. These changes can be substantial – a ton of aluminum was about $1,960 at the start of 2021, and six months later, the price climbed to $2,320, an 18% increase! Raw material costs are a significant expense in metal stamping, so shifts in raw material prices will directly impact overall project pricing. Choosing to manufacture when prices are low can save you tons of money.
Design Stamping Process to Reduce Scrap Metal
Scrap metal is the pieces of sheet metal that are not included in the final parts. Scrap metal doesn’t go to waste, as it can be recycled. Still, the scrap is less valuable than the sheet metal as it needs to be reprocessed. Any piece of scrap metal represents lost money.
Innovative die design will reduce the amount of scrap metal. A good die layout will maximize the sheet metal used. Work with your engineering team to optimize your process, and you can substantially reduce your costs.
Relax Tolerances Where Possible
Some engineers become a bit too strict in their design specifications. Precision is always necessary to limit defective parts, but overly precise tolerances will increase your tooling costs. Understand your part and your manufacturing process – what level of precision is actually needed downstream? Relax your tolerances where possible, and save your budget for the parts that matter.
Design Part to Reduce Downstream Costs
Your metal stamping costs aren’t just your metal stamping costs. Once your parts are manufactured, are there any finishing steps that are needed? Is there some way to reduce your post-production costs by improving your die design? Can you alter your part or process to make your final assembly easier? Alternatively, are you completing unnecessary finishing steps? Make sure you are accounting for all your expenses in your final cost analysis.
Optimize Your Stamping Process
Optimal die design is an impressive engineering feat. Each part should be produced using the most efficient route possible to decrease tooling costs. On the other hand, cutting corners in your process will increase defect rates and risk damaging the die. Finding the perfect die will ensure your parts are consistent without unnecessary downtime.
Good die design also relates to the speed of operation. Longer cycle times mean slower production times, which means higher staffing and equipment costs. Optimizing for all these variables is complicated work.
Choose an Inexpensive Metal
Sometimes, the choice of metal is easy – only one metal will do the trick for your product, or you are following a customer’s specifications. Other times you have some flexibility in the materials you can use for a job. Ask an engineer if a lower-cost material would work for your part.
Choose a Lower Thickness of Metal
Thinner sheets of metal are generally less expensive than thicker sheets. The reason is obvious – lower thickness means less metal is being used. If you can use a higher gauge of metal, you can reduce your material costs substantially. Thin metal is also easier to pierce, bend, or cut, meaning you can cut operations costs as well as raw material costs.
Use the Correct Type of Die
Progressive and transfer dies have advantages and disadvantages in terms of cost. With a small production run, it is often cheaper to use a transfer die, as the price for constructing the die itself will be lower than a progressive die. Alternatively, if you require a high volume of parts, a progressive die is often best (if you can use it).
To learn more about progressive and transfer dies, read our overview.
Order the Correct Number of Parts
Both over-manufacturing and under-manufacturing can be a considerable expense. Over-manufacturing means you produce too many parts. Since many parts are purpose-built for particular applications, it can be challenging to sell surplus parts. Alternatively, organizing a second order of parts can be expensive, especially if the order needs to be completed quickly.
Depending on your industry, it can be challenging to decide how many parts to order. Work with your manufacturing and sales teams to develop realistic projections.
Choose a Factory Close to Downstream Manufacturing
Shipping can be extremely expensive, especially when moving large quantities of metal. Suppose your part is a small portion of a larger supply chain. In that case, it is efficient to locate your manufacturing close together to decrease your shipping costs. Co-location will also simplify logistics, as you will deal with fewer shipping companies or regulatory bodies.
Outsource Your Metal Stamping
China has been the world leader in manufacturing for many years for a good reason! Manufacturing is much cheaper in China between low labor costs, a geographically concentrated manufacturing sector, and supportive regulatory bodies. Low cost doesn’t mean low quality – Chinese manufacturers are experienced in producing parts to your exact specifications while keeping expenses low.
Use an Experienced Metal Stamping Company
Your manufacturing process is only as good as the engineers, millwrights, and machinists you are working with. An experienced team can find tell you which cost reduction methods will work and which will cause problems.
Experienced teams will also deliver on their promises. Poorly managed factories that miss production deadlines or their parts will have a high defect rate. These problems can cost a lot in the long run, especially if you need to order another product batch.
Gold Precision are experts in helping our customers manufacture their parts as efficiently as possible. Our team has over 20 years of experience in the metal stamping industry. With almost 2 acres (8,000 m2) of factory space, we have tools and equipment suited for a wide range of stamping procedures.
Want to learn more about how we can save you money? Contact us today to get a free consultation.