How To Choose The Affordable Manufacturing Method For Your Low Volume Production?

manufacturing industry

manufacturing industry

With the increasing competition, modern enterprises have undergone profound changes. Production methods are gradually shifting to more advanced modes to serve the customization and flexibility needs of customers. In recent years, low volume production has become more and more popular. Going for lower volume allows businesses to explore new markets and products with minimum risk.

Low volume manufacturing uses different types of processes and techniques to produce a small number of parts. In this post, let us discuss some of the most affordable manufacturing methods businesses can use for their low volume production.

manufacturing industry

Low Volume Manufacturing Processes – A Complete Guide

Low volume manufacturing method is one of the most effective strategies businesses use to meet the diversity and customization demands. It is a production method that generally precedes full-scale production, manufacturing small quantities, 50-100,000 in general, at a quick rate. Though the actual production depends on techniques, processes, and materials used, low volume manufacturing serves as a bridge between prototyping and full-scale production.

Low volume manufacturing is useful for companies looking to leverage the current market condition. Anybody from startups to large manufacturing units benefits from this technique as it provides an effective solution to act efficiently and stand out from the competition. This method does not involve a lot of investment and reduces risk by shortening time-to-market, allowing design flexibility, and generating opportunities for cost-saving. It also facilitates quick turnaround for on-demand manufacturing.

There are several processes manufacturing units use for low volume production including injection molding, CNC machining, aluminum molding, RIM (Reaction Injection Molding), metal casting, vacuum casting, and more. These techniques help minimize the molding time to facilitate faster production, fulfill pre-production and help produce parts in small quantities.

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Low volume injection molding

Injection molding is one of the most popular methods that not only works for low volume manufacturing but also helps ensure that customers get the freedom to request customized parts. This is because it is the best way to get an impression that is different from standard molds.

Rapid molding is generally used for mass production but it also suits low volume manufacturing. Clients who need low volume molded parts would find this method extremely useful as it can produce a large number of copies and allows repetitive production of the approved design.

Low volume injection molding is the perfect solution to problems faced by small-scale manufacturing companies at the time. This process shortens the lead time for faster production and can be flexible when it comes to the production budget. Low volume injection molding is an affordable method for small to mid-sized manufacturers though large companies have also adopted this method to add flexibility to their business.

 

CNC Machining

CNC machining is undoubtedly the best manufacturing technology in the world and has also proven to be successful in low volume production. It offers a plethora of benefits to low-volume manufacturing including a more extensive material selection and high-precision machined parts. It also imparts repeatability and accuracy to the process, thereby giving an edge to low volume production in manufacturing custom prototypes with ease.

Low volume cnc machining is used with a wide variety of materials, but the impressive feature is that it can create a huge number of parts with characteristics that are hard to achieve by machines creating standard parts.

This process is the best choice for rapid low-volume manufacturing of high-quality plastic and metal parts that require high degrees of surface finish, dimensional accuracy, and material-specific properties.

This process delivers amazing flexibility to allow shops to produce any type of product with a shorter small-batch production time. Multiple types of tools working simultaneously not only deliver higher speeds but facilitate high-mix, low-volume production with a quick change of chucks and tooling.

A single machine loaded with programming for different parts can select the programs and change the tools to automatically produce several different types of parts.

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Popular Low Volume Product Examples

Low volume production is employed by several factories because it is affordable and has more benefits as compared to mass production. Here are some of the most common examples of products and applications where it is widely preferred.

  • Plastic injection molding
  • Production of short-run parts
  • To achieve matching production and functional prototypes with the final product
  • Production of highly customized parts
  • Pre-production part testing and verification
  • Industries dealing with custom CNC machining
  • As a rapid bridging prototype for mass production
  • Businesses that require low volume metal sheet fabrication

 

How to Find the Best & Affordable Low Volume Manufacturing Companies?

Not all low-volume manufacturing strategies and companies are the same. They need consideration based on what works the best for the creator’s product and the target market. This is why you should look for the options available to find the best and the most affordable solution.

Here are some of the factors you should consider when looking for a low-volume manufacturers for your needs.

Quantity – The choice of a company depends on how many parts you want to produce. Low-volume manufacturing is an effective bridge-to-tooling method that gets your product faster to market even when you are looking to produce thousands of parts.

Material Options – Low-volume manufacturing presents you with a wide range of material options to choose from. The company you consider should be open to these options and the required production methods to meet your needs.

Complexity – The complexity of process and expense depends on how complex your part is. The manufacturer should be able to handle the complexity of your part and offer you a cost-effective solution.

An experienced low volume manufacturing company can often combine the best models to create a solution that suits the product. Low volume manufacturing strategies work the best when most of the process is kept in the same place. Using a low volume manufacturer who takes care of the product design, prototypes and tooling would help simplify the process and reduce costs.

Manufacturers who specialize in low volume production are familiar with the strategies to ensure success regardless of whether you are getting twenty, hundred, or a thousand parts produced.

 

Conclusion

The impact of low volume production continues to grow with time. As the product life cycle shortens and the demands increase, the popularity of this method rises. Moreover, the processes used for low volume manufacturing are cost-effective in the long run as they reduce time to market, improve design flexibility, reduce risks and help cut costs. With the advancement in technology, low volume production becomes more efficient and affordable, allowing customers to get more customized parts at lower costs.

 

About the Author

Candy Chen is a Project and Marketing Manager of WayKen Rapid Manufacturing Limited (https://waykenrm.com/) and loves discussing or exploring prototyping technologies in the rapid manufacturing industry. She has a curiosity of studying Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.