Considering Offshoring your stamped metal parts?

Hamond Industries Ltd - the Slide Forming Specialists

Sometimes, sending a manufacturing process offshore is a good idea. Sometimes. Especially if labour is a large cost factor.

But in the case of stamped metal parts, if the part was designed well and manufactured well, using the right metal forming process for the job, there should be next to no labour cost. So where's the saving?

Before you send a stamping offshore, it might be worth a look to see if (a) it's the right design and (b) it's implemented using the right process. Sending a wasteful process offshore still makes waste, leaving it in someone elses backyard. Cleaning it up may eliminate enough waste to achieve your goals without the complexities and logistics of offshoring.

Slide forming is a manufacturing process for small to medium sized stamped and formed metal parts. Because the slide forming machines themselves are more sophisticated than regular stamping presses, the parts are manufactured more quickly, more accurately and there is less waste material. All of this results in a more economical part. As a bonus, complex shapes require less dedicated tooling, making the tooling faster and cheaper to manufacture.

This single part replaced several different fasteners used across a range of sizes. It holds a dome in place. For small domes, the lifted up edge (with purposeful burr) in the center is sufficient to hold the dome in place. For larger domes, a self-tapping screw can be fed through the "speednut" hole to the left of center and driven into the dome.

Because the shapes manufactured can be more complicated, a single part designed (or redesigned) with slide forming in mind can replace several parts welded or screwed together into an assembly, reducing assembly, inventory, warehousing and downstream labour costs.

Complex shapes made by conventional stamping often waste considerable material in what's called a carrier strip. Slide formed parts rarely need a carrier strip, so material consumption is lowered. This is just one way where the right process will yield a better part price.

This part accurately holds a number of tubes in alignment. The vertical tab is welded to a larger assembly, assuring the tube are where they are supposed to be. This formed wire clamp used in power distribution applications replaces older designs where the clamp is cast or machined from a solid block of metal. The interlock is stronger than the screws, which strip their threads when overtightened before the interlock gives way. thm_p0003393.gif

Want to learn more?

and more about the flip side:

  • Before You Move It...Improve It - about moving manufacturing overseas. If you document the process (which you have to do anyways in order to move it), you likely will find and remove the waste, at which point you may not have to move it.
  • The Hidden Costs of Offshore Outsourcing - Moving [Information Technology (IT)] jobs overseas can be a much more expensive proposition than you may think.
  • The tide may be turning ... Is "Onshoring" the next big trend? from the Stamping Out a Living BLOG
  • Why Offshoring is Economically Unsustainable (not for the faint of heart) “Fallacy of Composition” — When we act as if what is true for a part is true for the whole. I stand up to get a better view. From this position my view is better. But then, there is a dramatic play and everyone stands up. They stand up to get a better view and when everyone does that no one can see any better than when we were all sitting. An action that provides benefits for one person may provide no benefits at all if everyone does it. People who study logic call this the fallacy of composition. In simple terms, when everyone outsources, there will be no point to it.
  • Buyers look toward China—but with a degree of caution One of the hesitancies: the difficulty in calculating the total cost of producing and shipping products to the U.S.
  • My mother is an artist, and so fountain pens were part of my life growing up. Here's an interesting article on the imminent demise of North American fountain pen manufacturing, and the resultant loss of quality.
  • And finally, a little outsourced IT humour. You need to know a little undergrad computer science to get one part of it, but it can be read well without understanding that one reference.