When it comes to high-quality coating applications for industrial and medical parts, cost is always top of mind. That’s what the bidding process is all about. But what if you’re stuck in a position where your costs seem to exceed your budget no matter what supplier you talk to? We talked to Dave Arney, COO and Steve Hockett, VP of production, about smart and risky ways to make significant cuts in cost.
Do Save Costs By….
Reducing or eliminating masking. If you can eliminate intricate masking without sacrificing product performance or quality, you could reduce cost by quite a bit.
Streamlining inspections. Review your inspection process to ensure that all of your inspection points are contributing valuably to your quality outcomes. While reducing quality outcomes is never an option, eliminating unnecessary redundancies in the inspection process can be an excellent cost saver.
Doing higher quantities of parts. Running an automated line or batch of parts requires set-up, so coating the most parts possible per set-up is one of the easiest ways to save on cost.
Maybe. You might reduce costs by…..
Changing coating material. This is a popular way the manufacturers seek to reduce costs - but it’s not the right answer in every case. (We’d suggest looking at the areas listed above, first.) If your coating is more cosmetic than functional, changing materials might work. But if you need certain functional properties or have a fussy substrate, listen to your coater about the potential issues down the road. Their experience can save you extra costs in reworks or in an extended development process that may not lead to a better solution.
Don’t try to save costs by….
Reducing pretreatment. A quality coater will give your part the precise pretreatment it needs. So cutting pretreatment usually means that you’re going to see quality problems on the other end - which can end up costing you more in reworks.
Reducing cure cycles. Cure cycles take time, and you know what they say about time. It’s true that there are some (but few) quality coatings available that offer shorter cure cycles. But generally speaking, cutting short the curing time will result in brittle coatings, adhesion problems, poor chemical resistance, and a host of other issues that you just don’t want.
Reducing quality standards. At AIC, we give our customers the best rates we can while always adhering to the strict quality standards that make us a mainstay for medical, automotive, and tech clients. But there are, of course, places you can go to get cheaper prices. We had a customer once leave us to outsource their coating applications. Even though they anticipated the quality being lower, they figured that even with a 20% reject rate, they would still be saving costs. After a short time away, the customer was back. They discovered that the radically reduced cost of processing their parts came with a radically reduced level of quality that they had not anticipated. Which actually raised their costs due to reworks. If you’re looking to save costs by changing coaters, be sure that the new coater is offering better talent or technological innovations that save costs, rather than reduced attention to quality.
Have a technical question or need more specific advice about what’s possible? Contact AIC’s COO Dave Arney at (866) 858-9881, or submit your question through the form on the AIC website.
by AIC Staff Writers, March 2014
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