When you’re looking to manufacture tools and dies, the question of whether or not to outsource to Asia might be one that’s on your mind. With so many options to choose from, it can seem like a difficult decision to make. When you consider the speed, cost, and efficiency of Asia-based manufacturing companies compared to their US counterparts, however, it becomes an easy choice!
Frequently Asked Questions
Will the quality be consistent?
It is a common misconception that quality will be lower if the parts are made overseas. Fact is, on any given day, there is no discernible difference between manufactured products from different regions. And just because a part comes from somewhere else doesn’t mean it won’t get to you on time. In fact, manufacturing overseas can actually improve the timing of projects by speeding up the process considerably.
What are the main benefits of outsourcing manufacturing tools and dies?
Tooling is much cheaper to produce overseas, with a 1:10 cost advantage over domestic production. Additionally, die quality is more consistent because it’s being made by professionals. Also, tools and dies can be produced more quickly; turnaround times for design changes have been reduced from 10 weeks to just a few days. The speed advantage has led some companies to ramp up their tooling needs by as much as 25 percent.
How long does it take to create custom tooling?
The cycle time for creating tooling varies by region. In China, it can take between five weeks to eight weeks; while in Thailand, three weeks. And in India three to five weeks. Because most tool makers operate out of dedicated factories with machine shops, these are manufacturing cycles—not shop cycles. So, if you have an urgent need for tooling, you should be able to speed up your order by about 50 percent.
What are some ways to reduce my costs?
One of the greatest benefits to manufacturing tools and dies in Asia is that you can work with your tool and die shop to use a reference design. This means they’ll start off with one, tried-and-true design, with necessary modifications at various stages during development. Reviewing progress jointly also helps reduce costs related to unwanted development or changes. This is because you only pay for development when there are specific changes necessary to your product. It’s an effective way to maintain efficiency while keeping costs low.
Is making parts with large volumes cheaper than low volumes?
In general, making large volumes is cheaper than low volumes. This is due to several factors. Efficiency increases with volume, certain manufacturing processes like milling are more cost-effective on larger pieces versus smaller ones. Additionally, manufacturing costs (labor and others) are lower in many Asian countries like India, Thailand when compared to US prices.
What factors affect manufacturing tools and dies lead time?
When companies decide to operate manufacturing tools and dies in India, many of them worry about lead time. Raw materials have to be acquired, trial materials (sometimes referred to as pre-production prototypes) have to be developed, design approvals have to be received from their internal team, etc. These steps can add weeks or even months onto a project’s timeline if they do not find quick completion. As you start your search for manufacturing partners in India, keep in mind that there are a few factors that affect production lead time. These include the availability of raw materials – Many Indian tooling manufacturers work with thousands of vendors and sub-vendors. Availability may come down to luck when you first begin working with a vendor. However, once you find your ideal partner, it shouldn’t pose an issue any longer.
What if my product requires unique features or complicated geometry?
Many clients often worry about what will happen if their manufacturing tools and dies requires complex features or processes that need outsourcing. For products with unique features, it’s always a good idea to seek experienced manufacturers and designers with experience in US exports and AMS 4923. There is little danger of getting your design wrong because you’re going to work closely with your manufacturing partner every step of the way, and they’ll be able to steer you away from any potential mistakes before they cost you time or money.
How can I accelerate my project schedule?
All projects can be accelerated by using three shifts of the vendors, reference designs and jointly reviewing the progress meetings. In addition to accelerating your time-to-market, offshore manufacturing can help you accelerate approvals. The more critical your design is, or if it’s a newer technology, then approval times may take weeks or months back home—even though your partners might be able to review it within two hours if it were offshore. In fact, many engineers welcome an offshore partner for their very instant access to a potential customer for initial reviews and design feedback.
What types of materials are available for manufacturing tools and dies?
There are many different types of materials that are highly functional for tooling. Tooling can use materials from a wide range including aluminum, steel, and many others. You just need to make sure that your raw materials are available in Asia as well as Europe and the Americas. These types of materials are also essential for making dies and a variety of other products in order to keep up with efficiency in a market that is ever-changing. Depending on what you are producing you will use one or more types of raw material available.
How should I specify manufacturing tolerances?
For many products, quality is paramount. That means specifying extremely tight tolerances for how your product moves through the manufacturing process. And, yes, these tight tolerances will cause your manufacturing costs to skyrocket—but keep in mind that higher quality generally leads to greater customer satisfaction and higher returns over time.
After a lot of research, most companies found that investing in manufacturers in India/Thailand is very advantageous. You can find several benefits of manufacturing here. These include easy access to raw materials, shorter lead times, relatively inexpensive labor, and high efficiency. But before you decide on your partners here, make sure to meet with them, they understand your standards and parameters, get a few quotes and then issue them a pilot project. That’s why we help many companies with creating a true partnership with our offices in the United States and offshore operations in manufacturing and design in India, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines. We bring in quality, delivery, and consistency with global sourcing operations.