Sheet metal fabrication is considered a cost-effective manufacturing method. However, if your product design is over intricate, or if you choose inappropriate assembly method, it still can be a costly process. Here’re 6 efficient ways to cut the cost for your sheet metal parts, ranging from optimizing designs to adopting standardization. Find inspiration for your next project and reduce production costs by implementing the following techniques.
1. Reduce the Outer Dimensions of Sheet Metal Parts
The outer dimensions of sheet metal parts are one of the reasons increasing the cost of sheet metal stamping molds. The larger the outer dimensions of parts, the larger the stamping mold size, and the higher the mold cost.
As shown in Figure-1, in the original design, all four bending edges of the sheet metal were attached to the bottom four edges of the sheet metal, resulting in a cross-shaped layout when the sheet metal was unfolded, leading to material waste. In the optimized design, the last two bends of the sheet metal are attached to the first two bend edges, avoiding the cross-shaped layout when the sheet metal is unfolded, allowing for a more efficient nesting, increasing the material utilization rate by over 30%, and reducing sheet metal and the mold costs.
a) Original design
b) Optimized design
Figure-1 Avoiding a cross-shaped layout of sheet metal parts after unfolding.
2. Appropriately Design Sheet Metal Part to Reduce Part Numbers
Sheet metal fabrication uses punching, bending, and others to create different geometries. This processing advantage of sheet metal components should be well leveraged to reduce the number of parts and consequently lowering the sheet metal parts cost.
a) Original design b) Optimized design
Figure-2 Appropriately design sheet metal part to reduce the part numbers.
As shown in Figure-2, in the original design, apart from bolts, the assembly includes three parts: Part B was fixed to Part A using two bolts, and Part A and C were welded together. In the optimized design, sheet metal Part A was designed to merge the functions of Part B and C, thereby reducing the manufacturing and assembly costs of parts and lowering the product cost.
3. Choose the Right Assembly Method
There are various assembly methods for sheet metal components. In case you aren’t aware of, the choice of assembly methods for sheet metal components is closely related to product cost. The cost of commonly used sheet metal assembly methods is shown in the following:
When designing sheet metal components, it is advisable to use standard holes, slots, etc., as much as possible, which allows for the use of standard stamping dies and punches, reducing tooling costs. When selecting sheet metal materials, choose those with standard thicknesses and those readily available in the market. For example, aluminum, steel, and stainless steel are common sheet metals in stock, the additional fee for special material will can be saved.
5. Narrow the Gap Between Sheet Metal Parts to Reduce Waste
The shape of sheet metal parts should be easy for nesting to minimize scrap and enhance the material utilization. A well-thought-out design for sheet metal parts can result in high material utilization and reduced waste during nesting, consequently lowering the overall cost of sheet metal materials.
As shown in Figure-3, a slight modification to the external shape of the sheet metal part can increase material utilization, thus saving on production costs.
a) Original design b) Optimized design
Figure-3 Adding process flanges or process holes
6. Get DFM Analysis to Cut Sheet Metal Costs
Reducing the cost of sheet metal parts is not only about cutting expenses but also about optimizing processes and designs for maximum efficiency. By collaborating with leading mechanical part manufacturer such as RPWORLD, you can get a detailed and in-depth design analysis to improve manufacturability, including but not limited to lowering the cost.
Feel free to contact our manufacturing experts via [email protected] to get in-depth design analysis. Upload a 3D CAD model to start your next project today.