Success Stories in New Age Metal Parts Manufacturing
May 2022 NEWSLETTER
This month our focus topic is “metal parts manufacturing”. Ancient man first found and began using native metals approx.. 5000 years BC and the Chinese used cast iron some 600 years BC. Metal has outstanding physical properties whether it is strength or the ability to conduct heat. We use metal products in our daily lives yet few people understand how metal is processed. Enjoy the reading. Regards, Roland Schmid
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1.0 Introduction: International companies have contributed much to the significant technological advancements in China over the past 20 years. Given the size of the Chinese market and relatively low production costs, investments and developments have been massive. An example is rail transport; based on early technology from Siemens & Alstom, China’s CRRC now builds high speed trains at a scale that few people expected. China now has the world’s largest & most sophisticated high speed train network and is exporting equipment and technology throughout the world. Such industries have triggered a significant transformation in manufacturing. Living in China has given me the opportunity to witness the changes and capture these in pictures. The contrast is stark. China has become a dominant player in manufacturing metal parts – some production processes may be relevant for your business.
2.0 Die-Casting: China is the world leader in manufacturing die-cast parts. The country accounts for 45% of the world’s casting production. The demand is predominantly driven by the automotive and motor cycle industries. To get a sense of perspective, China produced
> 12million cars in 2021 compared with 1.5million cars produced in Germany. Here are a couple of examples that show two different product types that we are manufacturing for European customers, a street lamp housing and a bicycle lever. Street Lamp Housing: · Part Dimensions: 600x300x35 · Part Weight: 2450 g · Material: AlSi10Mg(Fe) · Tool Cavities: 1 · Part Surface: Passivation & Power Coating The project was implemented in 2 months! The pictures show first part samples that we sent to our customer in October 2021.
Bicycle Lever · Part Dimensions: 130x45x15 · Part Weight: 25 g · Material: ADC6 · Tool Cavities: 2 · Part Surface: Anodizing + Laser Engraving
3.0 Precision Stamping: Due to the large demand of precision stamped parts in consumer electronic products, there is a vast and competent supply base in China. The fast time to market and price sensitivity of consumer electronic products require high speed in manufacturing tools/parts at very competitive costs. Here is an example of an export tool for battery contacts. Battery Contact Progressive Stamping Tool: · Tool Dimension: 600x400x400 · Tool Type: Progressive · Blanking Size: 25x47x0.5 · Stamping Material: CuSn6 · Tool Mfg Time: 5 weeks
4.0 Metal Injection Molding (MIM): Metal injection molding is an attractive alternative to investment casting, in particular for small parts (< 80grams) with complex geometries + high tolerances. MIM parts stand out by their excellent surface finish. Here is an example of a holder. Holder: · Part Dimensions: 52x33x11.5 · Part Weight: 66g · Material: Stainless steel (1.4404) · Tool Cavities: 1
5.0 Investment Casting: The advantages of investment casting are the ability to manufacture complex geometries with tight dimensional requirements, whilst minimizing the post casting machine work. Whether it is a housing, a hook, a lever or a bracket – we have been supplying such parts for more than 10 years. The example below shows a pipe fitting. Angle Seat Body: · Part Dimensions: 77x39x74 · Part Weight: 255g · Material: Stainless steel (1.4408) · Tool Cavities: 1
6.0 Conclusions Main challenges for small to medium sized enterprises are: · Acute shortage of skilled labour · High production costs due to lack of scale (volumes) · Nature of production (high mix/low volume) is difficult to automate In order to remain competitive, a good balance between sourcing globally and manufacturing locally is required. Working with a competent and reliable manufacturing partner in China offers significant advantages and is an important element for success:
We ensure that our manufacturers have the technology and process capability to meet your production requirements;
We have a qualified, proven and segmented portfolio of suppliers;
We add value by evaluating different process options to minimize manufacturing cost whilst maintaining critical part requirements (material, strength, surface finish & quality, etc.);
We aggregate volumes to get the best prices whilst providing solid business to our manufacturing partners;
During the past 3 years risk management has become an important aspect of structuring the supply chain. Who would have predicted that a pandemic, a war in the Ukraine, transportation cost escalations (air, sea, road), electronic chip shortages, increased raw material costs, … would present us with challenges that can jeopardize any business in a matter of months!