Except for professional manufacturing people, most of us have less knowledge on how a product manufactured. As a professional OEM manufacturer and contract manufacturing company, we would like to share some typical manufacturing process to help you understand better on a custom manufacturing. I think it’s helpful for any business men, product development team, and startups who want to develop new product or get product manufactured.
Whatever how perfect your design might look like, however there is always a necessary to perform a DFM analysis prior to a product manufacturing. It’s a common sense that DFM is a practical process to identify design fault or imperfections when a product design is finished. Normally engineering team will check out function, assembly, tolerance, fitting, material, usage, packaging, and overall customer feeling. If any defect is found during this process. We can easily improve our design and avoid potential risks that might happened at cost, time, and quality. Otherwise you might face lots of trouble in future’s production. Like, customer complaints, engineering change, mold tooling modification…
Prototyping is a physical model to evaluate a product design, as well check out of design fault. By using prototype, engineers can check out product function, structure, fitting, and assembly. In the prototyping stage, it’s flexible to adjust product design drawing.
There are many different prototyping methods, like 3D printing, CNC machining, SLA,SLS, and vacuum casting. Compared to most of prototyping process, 3D printing is a newer technology with fast performance and cheap cost. However 3D printing is not suitable for any type of prototype, like plastic screw, gear,and other rotative parts. On the other hand, 3D printing prototype comes with very rough surface, which is much worse than CNC machining or SLA.
Design Refine and finalizing
If any design problem was identified during DFM and prototyping process. It’s the time to refine our design and get our product improved. Most of time, an ordinate contract manufacturing company would not provide product design service, so the product owner or design company has to take this responsibility. In this process, you will be able to make sure that your product meets all of specification and standard for manufacturing, customer, and marketing.
Mold Tooling and injection molding
Mold tooling is one of the most critical process for manufacturing any products. Because plastic part is an essential component for nearly every products, and we must make mould tooling to produce our plastic components by injection molding process. Since plastic parts are the main structure for most of product. It’s very important to control the quality plastic parts. From our experience, we must get our quality control at fitting, appearance, and function.
The cost of plastic part is cheap, however the mold tooling is relative expensive. A higher quality mould will make high quality plastic parts. Relatively to say, the cost of making plastic mould and plastic parts in US or Europe is about $40 more expensive than in China. This is why many foreign companies seek their plastic contract manufacturer in China. Like Shenzhen, DongGuang, Zhejiang, or Shanghai…
Electronic Parts Manufacturing
If have, electronic parts will be the most vital components for an electronic products. It directly affect product life-time and customer feeling. Meanwhile, for safety reason, we must design and manufacture electronic part in accordance with relative quality standard, like CE, UL, FCC, TUV, etc, Before product assembly, quality people must check out the full products based on relative quality standard, and make sure all of goods are in accordance with the local market standard as well.
Metal Parts Manufacturing
Metal parts include die casting, CNC machining, stamping, bending, screw, and spring. It’s also very basic component for most of products. However, for metal part manufacturing. We have to do surface treatment like electro-plating, painting, powder-coating, and anodizing, which makes metal parts good looking in appearance. On the other hand, you must control the dimension in specification if you outsource OEM manufacturers or custom manufacturing companies. Normally IQC should inspect all of incoming material from supplier. And get them approved before production.
Pilot run is a popular words for new product development and manufacturing. Since we are not sure for many aspects or potential failures that might exist on our manufacturing system. So it’s safe to make small production trial(some people call it “engineering building”), which allows us to observe the entire manufacturing process. Meanwhile it also give engineering people a last opportunity to make adjustments of operation process and increase manufacturing efficiency before mass Production
After a small production trial had been performed, it’s the time to start mass production. The production management team would prepare work instructions, material, fixture, tools. At same time, an on-line QC is necessary to monitor the manufacturing quality. If any manufacturing deviation is found, we must take correction measures or stop the production. If everything runs smoothly, we can just check out the quality every two hours. In this way, we can ensure high quality products to be manufactured.