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Tips on Choosing the Right Prototype Manufacturer

It is great to manage your own business, and exciting to create fresh new products for your market. In order to succeed in launching any product line, you need to produce unique products that appeal to the market. For this reason, it is crucial to test your products by means of building prototypes to ensure that the finished product comes out fast and right. To accomplish this, you need to find the right prototype manufacturer.

Small Minimum Orders

As a start, in searching for a prototype manufacturing service provider to create your new product, opt for one with small minimum orders. All custom manufacturing companies or manufacturers of metal products have a minimum order quantity (or MOQ requirement), which you need to comply with to let them work on the job. Usually, MOQs range from 100 to 10,000 pieces. If you have a small-scale business, it is best to remain within your budget. So, look for a prototype contract manufacturing company that only requires small minimum orders, so it is easier to go to market.

Tooling and Molding

Next, remember that you are creating something that has never been done before, so you have to find a custom manufacturing company that could make your prototype; this provider also needs to make tooling and molds to produce your product. The prices of tooling and molding can range from $1,000 to $250,000 or even more. Reputable custom manufacturing service providers will try to lower your costs of investment for you – to be able to invest more in the actual product development and marketing.

Lead Times

One more thing to pay attention to when choosing a manufacturer is shorter lead times. A manufacturer of metal products, whether for your prototype or final product, has to be capable of giving fast turnaround times. If your product cannot be produced in time for your pre-sold products to be delivered, or inventory to be restocked, you can be sure to see an increase in returns and refunds. The prototype manufacturing company that will be able to deliver a continuous supply of goods can contribute to the success of your business.

Bill of Materials

Also opt for a manufacturing company that will help in the breakdown of costs of materials. No matter what is used, it is important to know the cost of each and every material, including the smallest items, and a good manufacturing company will provide you with a breakdown to show transparency on the materials used.

Quality

Last of all, it is important to ask the manufacturer for an explanation on their quality assurance processes for the finishing and transport of your products. The use of computer numerical control (or CNC manufacturing) can greatly increase the quality of your products. At times, companies that make use of this process are categorized as CNC manufacturing companies. When you choose such a company, you can be sure that this firm will be very reliable and consistent, since they have an automated rather than a man-operated production line.

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Custom Metal Fabrication and How It Works

The process by which metal is cut, shaped or molded into a final product is known as metal fabrication. Here are included metal bars, metal rods, sheet metal and stock metal components that come in a wide range of material and dimensional specifications. Additionally, a lot of fabrication shops can create metal products in a vast assortment of sizes and shapes. There are times, though, when manufacturers require a non-standard, distinct metal product, and custom metal fabrication services can supply the design, as well as assist in producing these made-to-order components.

Types of Services

A custom metal fabrication service can assist in any stage of the development process. No matter what you need, whether it is a complete production run or component assembly project, you can benefit from the following different services:

  • Design – a particular part or product characteristic is conceptualized, created and analyzed
  • Build – the metal product is constructed
  • Finishing and assembly – the quality of product is enhanced by means of post-fabrication treatments

Assembly and Finishing

Some metal products require additional finishing treatments to accomplish the specifications as planned. Assembly services may be needed as well to combine two or more components to form a single functional unit. Some of the common secondary treatments required are adhesive bonding, grinding, painting, sawing, screwing, bolting deburring and riveting.

Materials used

The majority of these products are created from various metals and alloys that are commonly used, such as aluminum, silver, gold, copper, brass, nickel, iron, tin titanium and different grades of steel.

Deciding on a Shop

It is very important to decide on which shop would meet your needs and expectations, since this can have an effect on the quality of production, rate of manufacturing, plus the cost efficiency of a given project. So, consider the following factors to help you choose:

Experience

It is best to opt for a custom metal fabrication service with a good reputation in terms of service, and who has years of experience.

Industries served

It would help to find out the industries that this shop services, and the kinds of products/processes it specializes in to know if they meet your requirements.

Resources

To know more about their capabilities and quality of their metal products, check the shop’s available machinery plus tooling capacity.

Type of Production

Whether the production run is high-volume vs. low-volume and short-term vs. long-term, this should be one of the crucial factors you need to consider when choosing the service that suits you best.

Stock materials

Last of all, you need to make sure that the custom metal fabrication service has the ability to supply the particular metal to be used for a product.

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