The Benefits of Contract CNC Machining
Many companies with a product offering do not always have the in-house capabilities to produce some or all of their products. They rely on outside sourcing to produce some or all their components. Many aerospace/space/defense components have complex shapes in various materials. Machining complex shapes to exacting tolerances and standards usually requires CNC equipment. There are contract CNC machining sources in the aerospace/space/defense markets that can provide precision parts at competitive prices.There are many benefits of contract CNC machining
There are pluses and minuses in weighing the value of in-house versus outside sourcing. There is no right or wrong; it usually depends on determining how best to allocate your resources (capital equipment, engineering, staffing, building, etc.). This determination usually boils down to what is the most economical way to manufacture your product while maintaining your quality standards and being able to deliver your products on time with a minimum amount of scrap (OTD/PPMs).
Intrex Aerospace is a contract CNC machining source. We are sometimes involved in helping our customers determine what is the best fit. The area of focus for an evaluation of using CNC contract machining versus keeping the work in-house is gauging the best value proposition. The areas of consideration (listed below) are not all-encompassing but questions that help our customers evaluate the pros and cons:
- Staffing/expertise – Do you have an existing staff with manufacturing expertise to produce your products cost-effectively? Or would those resources be better utilized, focusing and supporting your business in different areas? Most contract CNC machining sources are staffed with technical resources (CNC machines, machining know-how, engineering, quality measurement machines, ancillary support equipment, and system software). Aligning your company’s needs with a contract CNC manufacturer with matching skill sets can produce advantageous economic solutions without diluting your existing workforce resources.
- Capital investment – Do you have existing CNC machines capable of manufacturing your products to the required tolerances? Can your machines produce parts in the volumes needed for current and future requirements? Do you have the necessary support equipment (CMMs, support equipment, grinders, lapping, deburring, etc.), capable of meeting your needs? Contract CNC machine shops offer diverse machining capabilities depending on the company. Aligning your company with the right contract CNC machining company with complimenting capabilities can keep you competitive without having to make a substantial capital investment, freeing your cash or lines of credit for other business needs.
- Ability to scale your needs Up & Down – Do you have or need the flexibility to align your production with current and future needs? The ongoing challenge is to align your actual needs with existing capabilities. A reliable contract manufacturer can help balance the demand (both highs and lows). It eliminates your need to over-capitalize to meet peak demand or minimizes having to downsize in leaner times. Managing these market cycles without disrupting your core business can help maintain efficiencies and profitability.
- Quality Systems – Setting up and maintaining a quality department can be expensive. It requires many types of measurement equipment (CMM, comparators, height gages, measurement tools/gauging, etc.), all contained in a temperature-controlled room. The quality department needs to be staffed with qualified QC engineers. Because of the range of requirements, most contract CNC machining manufacturers have the necessary QC equipment and trained staff to support most quality requirements. They also have the reporting software and documentation experience to communicate and document to their customers. Most have a minimum ISO 9001 certification and, depending on the industry, have certification specific to the industry (i.e., Aerospace AS 9100/ITAR).
- Physical building – Do you have the physical structure to support your manufacturing efforts? The amount of work you can digest is sometimes limited by the physical size of your building. Capital equipment requires floor space = square footage. Depending on location, square footage can be very expensive. Another physical element to consider is the power requirements. CNC machines require high and consistent levels of electrical support. Does your existing building have access to electrical power requirements? A contract manufacturer has machines in place to meet those requirements.
Successfully managing a manufacturing business is complex and challenging. Many factors can impact the bottom line. As a CNC contract machining resource, we provide the benefits of contract CNC Machining. It is an invaluable resource to assist our customers in managing their supply chain by providing quality products at competitive pricing, allowing them to focus on their determined core competencies.
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