Today's Industrial Products and Solutions November 2018 - Page 13

When OEMs outsource component parts manufac- turing, the type of fabrication, stamping or machin- ing technique utilized is often a major factor in the final, per-piece cost. However, the initial volumes re- quired may also dictate the metalworking technique or process selected, particularly for new products just beginning to find a market. While certain complex metal parts can only be machined, thinner gauge parts and enclosures are typically stamped using hard tooling or fabricated using lasers, turret presses or press brakes. For start-ups or smaller companies with more mod- est production requirements, however, avoiding the high, upfront costs of hard tooling can be appeal- ing. As a result, fabrication alternatives that do not require that investment - even if the cost per piece is higher - are the better initial choice. But what happens when demand increases and an OEM needs to scale up production? When this is the case, determining the ideal time to transition to a more economical alternative can be challenging. In some cases, it can even involve the difficult decision to move from a trusted supplier. After all, most sheet metal fabricators do not also offer stamping, and vice versa. This is where more sophisticated “one-stop” met- al parts manufacturers can deliver a significant advantage. By offering the full gamut of sheet metal fabrication, stamping and machining options under one roof, these larger operations are in a much bet- ter position to scale with the customer as demand increases. OEMs turn to one-stop metal parts shops that can transition to more cost-effective fabrication and machining techniques as demand increases This includes facilitating the transition to hard tool- ing, mixing and matching metalworking techniques for multi-component assemblies, and incorporating hybrid and secondary tooling approaches to further reduce costs.