Are you spending too much money fabricating your metal parts? Perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate your approach.

But where to begin? At the beginning, of course. But saving cost doesn’t mean making compromises on your design or your material. Instead, look at the bigger picture for more sustainable cost savings. Here are three areas to consider:

1.The Location

Location matters. Regardless of whether your parts are being fabricated across the country or across the street, the reality is that there is a hard cost associated with moving the finished project to you. Part of ensuring that parts are machined and processed in the most cost-efficient manner means working with partners that can provide locations that are close in proximity to you in order to cut down on logistical costs. Furthermore, a partner that can evaluate your supply chain to help identify repeatable cost savings for you over the long run. 

2.The Approach

Plasma cutting, laser cutting, oxyfuel cutting, waterjet cutting, and more—there are a variety of ways to cut your metal. Get an idea of where to begin with the three T’s to cutting metal. Then confirm that with a partner who can take your prints and evaluate how to best manufacture the part.

But it doesn’t stop there. A technically advanced partner will have access to not only the equipment but the tools that streamline the process. For example, 3D laser scanners that can match the dimensions of your part to your print to ensure no deviations.

A partner that has the knowledge to suggest consolidating multiple steps on the same equipment can be highly valuable. For example, multi-process machines that are capable of drilling and burning plate can reduce the amount of time handling material. Another example is a plasma machine that can burn bevels right into a plate, reducing the amount of time needed to prepare the weld—ultimately saving you time in the shop assembling the part.

3.The Intended Use

Ultimately it comes down to the intended use of the part. For instance, let’s say you will need additional machining after the initial cut. Certain alloys develop a hardened edge when heated, which can ultimately disrupt the tooling when machined. You can anneal the alloy in order to eliminate that hardened edge, but that comes with an additional cost. Armed with this knowledge, your partner can suggest ways to reduce cost before the processing begins. 

Want more tips? Ryerson Advanced Processing can offer solutions that provide value beyond the fabricated part. These solutions focus on such things as reducing lead times, improving speed to market, eliminating demands on working capital, and supporting design around standard processes and material grades.

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