A Guide to Blanking in Contract Manufacturing
Many startups and small product manufacturing businesses do not have the capital needed to construct and operate a production facility. In these situations, they often turn to contract manufacturers to make their products so they do not need to invest in their own factory. Below, we provide an overview of contract manufacturing, discussing what it is, what types are available, what to look for in a good partner, and what role blanking can play in the process.
What Is Contract Manufacturing?
Contract manufacturing is a business relationship in which one company (the contracting company) outsources some or all of its manufacturing operations to another company (the contracted company). The contracted company produces parts and products to the specifications given to it by the contracting company.
There are many advantages to forming a partnership with a contract manufacturer. For example, the contracting company does not need to worry about making their products, so they can focus their resources and efforts on other parts of the business, such as sales and marketing. Additionally, contract manufacturers may offer other services that can further streamline the product development process for the customer, such as design assistance, assembly, and distribution.
What Are the Different Forms of Contract Manufacturing?
Contract manufacturing can be classified into several categories depending on what the contracted company provides to the contracting company. Four of the most common are:
- Producing complete goods. This type of manufacturing relationship is also referred to as private label manufacturing. In this situation, the contracted company produces complete products for the contracting company. In addition to making all of the parts and components that go into the product, they assemble them together.
- Producing parts or components. In this situation, the contracted company produces parts or components for the contracting company. The contracting company then uses these pieces in their own assembly operations to create finished products.
- Supplying a service or labor. In this situation, the contracted company provides services to the contracting company, such as design, manufacturing, and distribution. The contracting company uses these services as part of their product development process. The contracted company may also supply a labor force if the contracting company does not have the manpower to carry out production.
- Providing manufacturing equipment or facilities. In this situation, the contracted company allows the contracting company to use their equipment or facility to make the desired products.
7 Qualities to Look for in a Contract Manufacturer
Given the key role a contract manufacturer has in the production of a product, companies must choose who they partner with carefully. Otherwise, they risk subpar products, unmet production orders, and more.
The seven top qualities to look for in a good contract manufacturing partner are:
- ISO Certification
- Good Reputation in Market
- Good Financial Situation
- Clean Facility
- Good Management at the Facility
- Flexible to Market
- Can Meet Product Demand
How Does Precision Blanking Fit in With Contract Manufacturing?
Contract manufacturing can encompass a wide range of manufacturing processes, including precision blanking. Precision blanking is a fabrication process that uses a punch and die to remove a piece—i.e., a blank—from a sheet or strip of material. Both the punch and die are in the shape of the desired component, ensuring the piece removed has the proper form.
Ohio Valley Manufacturing: Your Blanking Expert
Looking for a contract manufacturer with blanking capabilities? Ohio Valley Manufacturing is here to help you!
At Ohio Valley Manufacturing, we are an ISO 9001:2015 certified manufacturer offering blanking, stamping, and other precision metalworking services. We can produce circular blanks up to 72 inches in diameter and configured blanks up to 72 inches wide by 100 inches long from carbon steel, aluminum, and stainless steel. Equipped with extensive industry experience and quality presses, we’ve developed a reputation as one of the top Tier 2 suppliers in the United States.
To learn more about our precision blanking or other contract manufacturing capabilities and how they can benefit you and your company, contact us today.
Benefits of Robotic Welding
The welding process fuses two or more separate workpieces into a single piece using heat and pressure to create a strong joint as the weld cools and hardens. At Ohio Valley Manufacturing, we specialize in robotic welding, an automated process that produces reliable and repeatable welds. Typically faster and more accurate than manual welding, robotic welding offers a safe and effective means to handle complex and high-volume welding projects.
Robotic Welding vs. Manual Welding
Manual welding requires a skilled welder to operate the welding equipment and manipulate the workpieces by hand. While more manufacturers have turned to robotic welding, manual welding still plays an essential role in lower-volume production, prototyping, one-off projects, and more. Manual welding offers superior flexibility because human operators have better awareness and decision-making capabilities than automated equipment.
Robotic welding processes use welding tools and robotic arms to handle welding tasks. The two different types of robotic welding used in manufacturing include:
- Fully automated welding: Robotic arms guide the separate pieces into position and hold them, while a robotically controlled welding tool uses heat and pressure to connect them.
- Semi-automated welding: Autonomous tools handle the actual welding process per a design plan or instructions. A human employee loads the unwelded pieces and then moves the welded workpiece to the next step of the manufacturing process after welding is complete.
Benefits of Robotic Welding
Both fully automated and semi-automated welding processes offer distinct advantages over manual welding, especially in today’s manufacturing environment. Some of the advantages provided by robotic welding include:
- High-Quality Welds: Automated robotic systems follow programmed instructions to create welds within very tight tolerances. Each weld will be nearly seamless, with no gaps, weak points, or blemishes. This precision also reduces the labor required for potential cleanup and finishing processes.
- Consistent Welds: Not only will each weld be relatively free of imperfections, but robotic welding tools can also create identical welds for dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of parts — a crucial capability for mass production.
- Safety: Robotic tools handle each step of moving, holding, and welding potentially sharp or heavy metal pieces, especially during fully automated processes. Robotic handling mitigates the risk of injury for technicians involved in the project.
- Speed: Robotic systems work faster and perform longer than manual welders, ultimately shortening lead times on large-volume welding projects.
- Material Efficiency: Robotic welding processes are less likely to make errors or waste welding materials. A lower error rate results in reduced scrap metal, making the process more efficient, greener, and more cost-effective per weld.
- Long-Term Affordability: Robotic welding has high initial expenses, but the process gains economies of scale over large orders, eventually lowering the cost per unit over manual welding. The reduced material waste and lower labor requirements also contribute to the affordability of robotic welding over time.
Common Applications for Robotic Welding
Robotic welding creates and repairs parts across an expansive range of industries. Markets that increasingly rely on robotic welding include:
- Agriculture (heavy equipment components, trailer parts, outdoor power equipment)
- Automotive (on- and off-highway vehicle and truck parts)
- General industry (material handling components and equipment
- Petrochemical (chemical processing systems)
Standard Materials for Robotic Welding
At Ohio Valley Manufacturing, we work with numerous metals and alloys, including:
- Carbon steel
- Cast Iron
- Exotic metals
- Stainless steel
Ohio Valley Manufacturing Is Your Robotic Welding Manufacturer
Ohio Valley Manufacturing is committed to quality. Our company is ISO 9001:2015-certified, and we maintain extensive quality management and quality control processes for every service we offer. We serve an array of industries with precision robotic welding services to create fast and reliable welded parts.
Contact us today to learn more about our capabilities.