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One Of The Most Overlooked Processes In Mechanical Design

On Jun 20, 2018

One of the most overlooked processes in a design and build project is also one of the most vital. Having a good working relationship with your outside fabrication shops is the key to project success. The project design process consists of many milestones, but the immeasurable milestone is that fabricator relationship. Communication with your fabricators is essential to project success. Take the extra time to learn what they do or what’s in their wheelhouse so to speak. Because of this consistent attention you are devoting to each supplier, you get better, more accurate parts, better pricing on quotes, and the knowledge to select build shops early in the design process.

Due to a recent, large project we worked through, we added another six or seven fabrication shops. That also added a new commitment to building a relationship with those shops for better product success. It is a good exercise for mechanical designers to see what it takes to fabricate their parts. For example, if I need a tooling hole here or a tool radius there, I need to make sure I have selected a partner that can do what I need them to do. Remember, it’s more than detailing up a part on your mechanical software. Somebody is going to have to craft that part out of aluminum, steel, plastic or whatever you specify. With that supplier relationship you can feel comfortable with the discussions as they come up.

These good relationships will help in all aspects of your design – quality of parts, cost of your parts, post processing, silk screening or engraving. So, even though these relationships are not captured by a project milestone I cannot stress enough how important they are to your success and your project’s success.

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