Manufacturers of all kinds have known about the power of aluminum for a very long time. This lightweight alternative to steel is a very available commodity globally speaking. It trails behind only oxygen and silicon as one of the Earths most abundant elements. In terms of manufacturing this amazing material also has a deep connection in many different sectors within the industrial world. Like in many things we see today, technology has grown and the way we process aluminum has benefited greatly. When procurement looks to source aluminum parts there are a few considerations to make, some minor alterations and collaboration with design and engineering can result in some excellent cost savings.
Know Your Grade
As an introduction its is important to understand that within aluminum there are many different grades usually categorized with a 4-digit code. A great reference found here from Metal Supermarket helps to explain the difference and where it is used in real life applications. It is very
important to know the grade needed to match the right job to ensure the proper physical and structural components are met, before considering any cost saving techniques.
Changes You Can Make to Save…
- You Are Using the Wrong Cutting Process – Like it was pointed out earlier these are general not job specific cost analysis practices. With that said it is a good idea to review what types of cutting services you have available to your shop. If you are outsourcing locally a CNC shop that offers a combination of HD Plasma, Laser and/or Waterjet cutting can help open doors to using the most cost-effective process. Plain and simple if the design simple enough & the plasma system is powerful enough to cut the thickness of material plasma is hard to beat. Waterjet Can com into play for thicker materials, and laser is very well suited for thin gauges with intricate and complicated designs.
- Quantities Are Too Low – This is not news to anyone in manufacturing, the higher the parts the better the pricing. With that said the current market for Metal and Aluminum have become very close is price per sheet. Making Aluminum a more economical choice for designers and engineers looking to keep strength and lose weight in materials. Packaging orders together and adding different parts or additional stock can really help shops give discounted rates.
- Over Complicated Designs – This again circles back to using HD Plasma to cut aluminum that is thin to medium grade with fairly lose tolerances. Its an idea part from plasma and the speed will save you a ton in overall production. If its possible to round out a corner or alter the thickness of a part, it might be well worth it!
For more tips and tricks to use while sourcing CNC cutting check our website www.vykan.