In modern manufacturing, sheet metal fabrication, as a widely used manufacturing process, plays a key role in connecting prototype production and mass production. However, with the continuous expansion of its application fields, the cost of sheet metal fabrication has become one of the focuses of debate among product developers. Every aspect of each project comes with related costs, from design to prototype production to precision machining processes, meticulous execution requires financial support. Besides the process itself, material procurement is also an expense that cannot be ignored.
In this context, it is particularly important to develop a plan that can effectively reduce sheet metal fabrication costs. This article will delve into various factors that affect sheet metal fabrication costs and provide six practical techniques to help you maximize cost savings and improve the economic benefits of your project. Before delving deeper into these techniques, let’s first understand how to accurately estimate sheet metal fabrication costs.
Estimate sheet metal fabrication costs
In today’s highly competitive market, gaining a thorough understanding of the cost structure in sheet metal fabrication is a crucial step in establishing appropriate pricing strategies. The production cycle of sheet metal components involves various key stages, including cutting, bending, rolling forming, stamping, welding, and other intricate processes.
Firstly, we need to break down the production cycle into manageable units to more accurately estimate the costs associated with each stage. Building upon this, our focus shifts to the calculation of raw material costs. By considering the volume of the product, material density, and specific material costs, we can use the following formula to estimate raw material costs:
As an illustrative example, assuming the use of steel with a density of 7.4 kg/dm³, sheet dimensions of 800 x 400mm, thickness of 1mm, and a material cost of $0.8 per kilogram, we can calculate the raw material cost per unit.
Secondly, we must add processing costs, taking into account the machine’s hourly cost, cycle time, and system efficiency. The formula for machining costs is:
For instance, if the cycle time is 12 seconds, efficiency is 85.5%, and the hourly cost is $78.4, we can calculate the processing cost per unit.
Finally, by summing up the raw material cost and processing cost, we obtain the total direct production cost per unit. By repeating this calculation process at different production stages, we gain comprehensive insights into the cost structure of the entire production cycle, providing a solid foundation for devising effective cost-saving strategies. Such detailed cost estimation is indispensable for formulating sustainable manufacturing plans and pricing strategies.
Factors affecting sheet metal fabrication costs
When making sheet metal fabrication cost estimates, there are several factors that require special attention, which will directly affect the economics and final cost of the project.
The choice of manufacturing technology
Different fabrication techniques can have a significant impact on costs. For example, the adoption of automation equipment may increase initial investment, but reduce labor costs and improve production efficiency in large-scale production. Therefore, choosing the right manufacturing technology at the beginning of the project has a critical impact on cost.
Supply chain management
Effective supply chain management can reduce raw material procurement costs. Building strong relationships with reliable suppliers, optimizing logistics, and being flexible to market fluctuations are all key to maintaining cost effectiveness. Regularly reviewing the supply chain for potential cost savings can have a positive impact on overall costs.
Technological innovation and sustainability
The introduction of technological innovations and sustainability practices may reduce costs in the long term. For example, the adoption of environmentally friendly materials and production processes may be in line with market trends, reducing resource waste while reducing the associated regulatory compliance costs. By constantly promoting technological innovation, enterprises can better adapt to market demand and improve competitiveness.
Human resource training and development
Investing in employee training and development can improve productivity and reduce operational error rates, thereby reducing costs. Highly skilled employees may be able to tackle complex manufacturing tasks more effectively, reducing scrap rates and increasing productivity. Therefore, investment in human resources is not only a concern for employees, but also an important strategy for long-term cost control of enterprises.
Tips to reduce sheet metal fabrication costs
If you want to reduce costs in sheet metal fabrication , you really need to use some clever skills. Let’s take a deeper look at the various ways to ensure that projects can be more cost-competitive:
1.Select raw materials
The choice of raw materials directly affects sheet metal fabrication costs. In order to ensure cost savings without reducing product performance, it is essential to choose the right raw materials. In this regard, inventory size is usually the most economical option. In addition, for prototype selection, the most affordable materials should be considered. For example, depending on the specific application scenario, choosing aluminum instead of stainless steel can effectively reduce costs under the premise of ensuring performance.
2.Make good use of common specifications
The use of common specifications can effectively reduce costs. When designing, try to use common plate gauges and sizes, avoid special ordered materials. Common specifications are often more economical than custom specifications and can be more easily integrated into standard manufacturing processes, increasing production efficiency. This standardized design not only simplifies the manufacturing process, but also helps to better adapt to fluctuations in market demand.
3.Simplify design elements
Complex designs often lead to more production steps, which increases manufacturing costs. Therefore, in the design phase, the design elements should be simplified as much as possible to avoid multiple cuts, bending and welding. Aiming for simplicity not only helps reduce costs, but also increases productivity. By reducing the complexity of the parts, you can reduce the scrap rate and improve the overall manufacturing efficiency.
4.Consider finishing cost minimization options
When choosing a finish, you need to balance cost and application requirements. For parts used in harsh environments, simple finishes such as pre-gold plating may be required without excessive professional treatment. Reduce costs and lead times associated with special finishes by choosing materials that are naturally resistant to corrosion. Such a design choice to minimize the cost can control the cost within a reasonable range while ensuring the quality.
5.Comprehensive evaluation of manufacturer options
Partnering with a full-service professional manufacturer is an effective way to reduce costs. Such manufacturers are able to complete the entire project from design to assembly, avoiding additional costs and outsourcing the process. When working together, the experience and technical level of the manufacturer can help optimize the production process, improve efficiency and reduce manufacturing costs. Choosing a strong manufacturer with long-term cooperation can help build a solid relationship and further reduce costs.
6.Invest in technological innovation and sustainability
The introduction of technological innovation and sustainability practices is a long-term cost reduction strategy. The introduction of automation equipment can reduce labor costs and improve production efficiency. At the same time, the use of environmentally friendly materials and processes not only conforms to market trends, but also avoids additional costs due to environmental regulations. By constantly promoting technological innovation, enterprises can better adapt to market demand and improve competitiveness.
When designing sheet metal parts, manufacturing cost is a crucial consideration. By applying many of the techniques discussed above, the goal of reducing sheet metal fabrication costs can be effectively achieved. However, in addition to these tips, it is also crucial to choose a manufacturer with highly skilled technicians and extensive knowledge of custom sheet metal fabrication.
At Longsheng, we are not only proficient in the various skills mentioned above, but we have a professional technical team that can provide leading sheet metal fabrication services to manufacture high quality parts for you at very competitive prices. As an ISO 9001:2015 certified company, we focus on the construction of quality management system to provide customers with reliable service.
Our team of experts has the experience to perform DfM (Design for Manufacturability) analysis to improve your design. We are not only a manufacturer, but also a partner, committed to providing full support and professional advice to our customers to ensure that the design can reduce manufacturing costs while still meeting high quality standards.
If you have a design model that needs to be manufactured, please upload it to us immediately and we will provide you with an immediate quote. Choose Longsheng, choose a quality, high technical level, cost-effective sheet metal fabrication partner, let us work together to create outstanding parts for your project to achieve greater success.
To reduce fabrication costs, focus on efficient material selection, streamline designs for simplicity, embrace automation for repetitive tasks, optimize energy usage, manage the supply chain effectively, invest in employee training, ensure rigorous quality control, explore reuse and recycling options, and foster a culture of continuous improvement. These strategies collectively contribute to cost savings without compromising on the quality of fabrication processes and end products.