Creating an object out of raw materials can range from reasonable prices to outright expensive costs. Engineers need those premium materials to form the best products and prototypes in the marketplace, but they also have a strict budget. Learn more about sheet metal fabrication and how to reduce its overall costs. There are clever ways to stay within budget when engineers focus on design.
1. Find a Direct Supplier
Raw materials have a certain cost. As they move between suppliers or even retailers, the cost slowly rises because of profit margins and other factors. Engineers can lower the costs of sheet metal by working with a mill-direct fabricator. They have more leverage when it comes to cost. There aren’t a lot of markups to cover shipping, handling, and various other price points.
Be sure to verify quality as price checking at mill-direct facilities continue. There may be a low cost, but compromising on quality should never be part of the deal.
2. Look at Design Features
Engineers may have a fancy idea in mind, but focus on simplicity during fabrication. Don’t select complex bends or tight tolerances. Be aware of inside radii equaling the material’s thickness. Working outside these values will only increase the price. Try to keep the object’s shape as simplistic as possible. Your costs will dramatically drop as a result.
Pick out standard sizes when it comes to gauge and sheet dimensions. Whether engineers need a 3D print or injection molding service, these material choices add up to lower costs in the long run.
3. Outsource Only Once
Moving sheet metal between several different fabricators will increase its overall cost. Each expert must add in his or her labor costs to the completed step. Look for a facility that can handle design verification, fabrication and assembly. These steps can be worked into a single labor charge so that costs are ultimately low.
Engineers also save time with this strategy. There’s no concern about moving the object between facilities, which will always increase the lead time. Saving time on the engineer’s end also creates cost savings on an entire project. This professional can move ahead to other projects without being bogged down by fabrication efforts.
4. Go Local
Most regions have a local fabricator. With 3D printing and injection molding service required by most engineers, working with a local facility is crucial to low-cost success. Engineers remove the cost associated with shipment and lost time.
Local fabricators are often experts in certain industries that are common to the region, such as aeronautics or construction. They can service a project with the necessary attention to detail that it demands. There’s practically no price on an expert fabricator’s skill when it comes to complex designs. Using other facilities just isn’t cost effective.
Explore every option in the sheet-metal world with an engineer’s eye for detail. Those slight changes to bend radii and other factors can make a huge difference in the overall cost. Fabricating an idea can now be an everyday option with today’s manufacturing options.