OEMs often complain about the high cost of manufacturing, especially when they face cost overruns incurred from the output of the product design process itself.
After a design is complete, problems arising with one part can have costly implications for all other parts in the final product. That's why the easiest way to ensure proper timing of new product introductions and avoid cost overruns is to involve manufacturing partners early in the design process.
Up-front engineering and design optimizes part manufacturability and material selection, minimizes tooling costs, increases processing speeds and results in cost-effective parts. This approach produces a distinct competitive advantage.
The following examples illustrate up-front engineering in plastic manufacturing, but the benefits will be apparent to all manufacturers.
Capital expenditure is a major hurdle in the cost justification of all manufacturing projects. This is especially true for the short-run projects in which Donnelly Custom Mfg. specializes. Due to the lower volumes associated with these projects, the justification of capital expenditure based on reduced part price becomes more difficult.
When analyzing part design before a mold is made, the biggest opportunities to save money derive from simplifying the part. The elimination of complicated surfaces is one of the best ways to take cost out. Good molders and manufacturers can help simplify a design while maintaining its functionality and aesthetic requirements.
The thicker a part, the longer it takes to cool, whether it is plastic, metal or otherwise. Paying close attention to part thickness in design, therefore, can dramatically reduce manufacturing cycle times and also reduce material costs.
Thousands of material choices and other factors come into play on any given part, especially when dealing with thermoplastics as Donnelly does. Seasoned manufacturers can save OEMs money during design by identifying cost-effective material alternatives that meet the customer's design requirements while, at the same time, reducing part cost.
Establishing an up-front engineering process requires a manufacturing partner capable and committed to becoming closely involved in design. Incorporating this valuable step into the design process should not be difficult. If your manufacturer is unable or unwilling to be invested in design development, or can't deliver the appropriate value, this will not do. Leading OEMs need suppliers who can operate as an extension of their business. Finding such partners benefits designers, other suppliers, OEMs and, ultimately, end-users through lower costs, better functionality and higher quality throughout the product lifecycle.
Proper timing in the introduction of innovative new products should be a collaborative and disciplined process, providing your business with a well-earned revenue stream. Since the output is typically defined by the vibrancy and precision of the process from which it is born, it's imperative to get it right up front.