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In the fabrication industry, specifically metal fabrication, you are probably in one of three phases: prototype, production, and mass production. All three are treated completely different when manufacturing.  Below is a preview of the different quantity brackets of manufacturing run types:

Many times prototype quantities range from 1 to 10 depending on the industry and part.This stage may also be known as product or part development. This is when your part or product is in its infancy stage. Since there is less economies of scale and the set up costs are allocated to very low quantities, prototypes are substantially more expensive per part to fabricate than production or even mass production. Read more...

This stage of manufacturing consists of batches of parts that range from 50 to the hundreds and usually performed in batches. This stage of product development is perfect for VIP’s capabilities since our shop floor is divided into departments based on our capabilities. Since there are several parts involved, the set up costs are much less per part since the set up costs are allocated by all parts making the total cost per part more reasonable than say a prototype. Read more...

Mass Production
Once production has reached a point where the demand for the part or product is consistent and has reached quantities in the thousands to tens or even hundreds of thousands, your product is ready for mass production. Here at VIP, we have the equipment and staff to cater to these types of requirements! Read more...

Views of Manufacturability

When fabricating parts that are in different production stages, the parts are manufactured differently. Take a look below at the different views that are critical based on your particular job funtion to better understand manufacturability.

Buyers / Purchasing Agents
If you are a buyer or purchasing agent, here’s some important information to consider and what you could expect based on the quantities to be ordered. When there are low quantity orders, it is expected that the pricing will be more expensive. This is due to the set-up costs being allocated between low quantities. For instance, a part has a set-up cost of $100, and you request pricing of quantities of 1, 5, 25, the pricing will be drastically different. For the sake of keeping things simple, lets not include any labor, material, or mark up costs and only consider the set-up cost of $100. Regardless of the number of parts being ordered, it will cost $100 to set-up the machines. So to break down the pricing based on the quantities, here is the pricing: Quantity 1 = $100, Quantity 2 = $50, Quantity 25 = $4.

Other aspects to consider are the run type, prototype, production, and mass production stages when looking at pricing. If you go to two suppliers for a quote to fabricate prototypes, and say Supplier #1 was significantly higher in price than Supplier #2, it would be wrong to think that for production and mass production, the pricing different would still be the same. See, depending on the run type, parts will be approached differently when being manufactured. For instance, say the cheaper Supplier #2 that was used for prototypes has a one-man shop and can easily be competitive with pricing compared to the more expensive Supplier #1 that has a shop with 100 workers. When you reach production, there needs to be several workers and machines in order to be competitive with pricing and lead time. Therefore, the production would be approached differently for manufacturability and Supplier #1 would be the right fit.

If you are an engineer, here’s some important information to consider and what you could expect based on the quantities ordered. When engineering parts, it is crucial to keep in mind of how a part would be manufactured based on the quantities to be ordered. For instance if a part requires holes, during the prototype stage the holes might be hand drilled, whereas during production and mass production, a tool would be used on a turret punch machine. So it is good to plan hole sizes and tolerances based on how it will be manufactured. Engineering parts based on the approach of manufacturability will make parts more cost effective and will help lower lead times. This is important to remember whether parts require forming, punching, or welding. A part can look great in a model, but keeping in mind the appoach of how it will be manufactured is key!

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