Modern Machine Shop

OCT 2017

Modern Machine Shop is focused on all aspects of metalworking technology - Providing the new product technologies; process solutions; supplier listings; business management; networking; and event information that companies need to be competitive.

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20 MMS October 2017 ONE-OFF Commentary We've essentially reached a point where the abilit y to machine par ts to specif ication and deliver them on time to customers is a given. They're expecting more, but that expectation creates an opportunity. If your shop can provide the type of added value your customers value, there's a bet ter chance that you can secure long-term relationships with them, serving more as an ex tension of their operation than just a machining vendor. One helpful capability shops can provide is design for manufacturability (DFM) advice on suggested changes to the design of machined parts and assemblies that will make them easier and less expensive to produce. DFM is becom- ing increasingly important as more companies look to outsource their machining work. In these cases, their product-design engineers don't have access to internal manufacturing engineers who c a n su gg e st ways that n ew d e s ig ns c a n b e modified to facilitate production. For example, designers might call for com- ponent tolerances that are overly precise. While an assembly might have a variety of components, t h e r e m i g h t b e o n l y o n e o r t w o i n te r f a c e s Help Your Customers' Engineers, Help Your Shop One way to build customer relationships is by clearly demonstrating how your design for manufacturability advice is helping your customers' engineers. that re quire ve r y tight tole ra nc e s. Simila r l y, change s to par t mate rials that are e asie r to machine can also facilitate production and reduce overall costs. Many shops base their DFM changes on their extensive machining experience, while others are bolstering their own engineering staff to help in that regard. In a story I wrote for our August issue, I highlight how Parametric USA (Santa Clara, California) is leveraging finite element analysis (FE A) as a means to provide a more sophisticated level of DFM consultation for its customers. The goal is not just to refine custom- ers' new-product designs to speed, simplify and lower the cost of machining work, but also to build solid, long-term relationships with its cus- tomers' engineers. To that end, Parametric USA creates summary infographics for those engineers that quantif y how their efforts in streamlining part designs via DFM have saved their companies time and money on various projects. The shop encourages them to share this information with their managers. This gives the engineers personal wins in their workplaces by clearly demonstrating their added value while providing leverage in negotiating higher wages, earning more respect within their companies and so on. As a result, those engi- neers are more likely to approach the shop early in a new-product design cycle and recommend to oth e r e n g i n e e r s th at th ey ta p th e s h o p's machining and DFM services. In the end, these relatively simple efforts can result in a win-win-win situation for your custom- ers, your customers' engineers and you. DEREK KORN EXECUTIVE EDITOR DKORN@MMSONLINE.COM "Helping your customers' engineers shine through DFM builds long-lasting relationships."

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