Nowadays, customization has become a popular trend, and consumers are no longer satisfied with traditional sameness. This is really a big challenge for the product design company. The design company must produce diversified products to win the market. However, it also bothers the design company a lot. How to find a suitable manufacturing method to cater to current market demand? In this case, low volume production came into being.
What is Low Volume Production?
There are many types of products, which causes the output of each product will inevitably decrease. Therefore, traditional mass production will no longer be a good manufacturing method. It is replaced by low volume production. The range of low volume production is from 50 pcs to tens of thousands pcs, which can well meet the needs of customization, and it has also become a link between rapid prototyping and full volume production.
So, what else are the benefits of low volume production?
The Benefits of the Low Volume Production
- Fast turnaround time
Today, the pace of development is getting faster and faster, various product design companies are racing against time to continuously develop and upgrade products. Once your product goes to market slower than your competitors, it means you have lost the first game. Small batch production provides you with a fast turnaround service, which can greatly help to shorten the time to market.
- Cost effective
When it comes to reducing costs, many people may think that traditional manufacturing is cheaper than low volume production. However, traditional manufacturing will require MOQ, which is a burden for customers, because they may have to bear the quantity several times more than their own demand, and also bear the expensive mold costs. In this case, customized low volume production is undoubtedly a more cost-effective choice, on-demand production, and does not need to bear high mold costs.
- High design flexibility
Product design is always constantly updated. In traditional manufacturing, mold changes are very difficult, and the changeability is really small. These problems often trouble designers, and they must spend a lot of time considering mold modifications’ feasibility when updating the design. And low volume production can completely solve this trouble. Low volume production has very high design flexibility. It is even possible to update the design without spending any extra costs.
The Common Technologies for Low Volume Production
There are four common manufacturing methods for low volume production, CNC machining, 3D printing, vacuum casting and rapid tooling. Please see the introduction of these 4 technologies below
- CNC machining
CNC machining is one of the most widely used common machining processes. It uses CNC programming language to control the machine tool to process parts. CNC can choose a wide range of materials, from metal to engineering plastics, and does not require molds, which saves mold costs, does not require MOQ and shortens the production time of parts. However, because CNC machine tools have some machining restrictions and wastes materials, the emerging manufacturing method of 3D printing has gradually developed in these years.
- 3D printing
3D printing is an additive manufacturing method that uses bondable materials such as powdered metal or plastic to construct parts by printing layer by layer. It solves some problems in CNC machining, but because it is still developing, CNC machining still occupies a major position in manufacturing. 3D printing and CNC machining are mainly produced in small quantities. When the number of plastic parts is large, it is generally produced by rapid tooling or vacuum casting.
- Vacuum casting
Vacuum casting, refers to a processing technology in which materials flow into a silicone mold in a vacuum environment, and finally cool and shape. The life of the silicone mold is generally 15-25 pieces, so the cost of the mold is really affordable. When the quantity is 20-100 pieces, vacuum casting is very price advantage, but because its materials are all polyurethane materials, it is often as functional or appearance verification before formal production, it will not be used in the final product.
- Rapid tooling
Rapid tooling and injection molding are very similar, but compared with formal injection molding, the degree of automation is lower, and the mold cost is therefore lower, so it is also a common manufacturing technology in low volume production. Its molds include steel molds and aluminum molds, and their mold life ranges from thousands to tens of thousands. When the quantity demand is relatively large, steel molds are generally used.
This is an outdoor project, the quantity is about 200 pieces, material is aluminum alloy. Under such a quantity, it is far from the traditional mass production MOQ, so we choose CNC machining.
The surface treatment of this project is AS60# SST bead blasting & powder coating. In this kind of outdoor sun and rain in the harsh environment, ordinary anodizing or baking painting simply is not considered at all. Powder coating is only used for metals, and is best choice to be used in outdoor environments.
Wayken is such a supplier who provides rapid prototyping services to low volume production. From one piece to tens of thousands of pieces, we can meet your professional customized needs, for your product design to save costs, improve efficiency. When you need any components manufacturing services, please do not hesitate to contact us.