Before any product finds itself in the customer's hands, it must go through the process that turns raw materials into the finished item. Manufacturing engineering is the design and development of the processes, systems, tools, equipment and machines that makes this happen. The better the manufacturing engineering services, the better the final outcome.
If your in-house team is stretched thin or they don't yet have the skills for an upcoming product launch, there are contractors who can perform these functions for you. However, you must understand what these services bring to the table in order to use them effectively.
Whether your experts are in-house or contracted, they should be ready and able to provide innovative solutions using their skills in combination with today's technology options. Services can vary based on your needs, but a solid team will offer:
In addition, some manufacturing engineering services will work with your suppliers and vendors to set up and evaluate new part specifications, price points and delivery options.
Finally, outside contractors should ensure that your team receives the appropriate training, knowledge transfer and ongoing support for any new engineering and production processes.
Automation and robotics have become standard aspects of today's manufacturing engineering services, but their price can keep them out of reach of small companies. However, there are two basic tools used by almost every manufacturing engineer: computer-aided design (CAD) and computer aided engineering (CAE) programs.
CAD lets engineers create 2D and 3D modeling on a computer screen which provides more complete visualization of new products, makes it easier to design interfaces and tolerances, and allows you to see a virtual assembly of product parts so issues are found and corrected well before the manufacturing process begins.
Similarly, CAE computer programs can perform product life cycle management (PLM) and other complex simulations that predict such things as a product's response to loads as well as fatigue life.
These complex computer systems eliminate the need for building and working with a prototype until the product design is near complete, allowing an infinite number of design changes and innovations with no added expenses. They also model many important aspects that simply cannot be measured by hand.
The right manufacturing engineering support can help your business stay ahead of the competition in three major ways.
Having this expertise on hand allows you to make fast but informed decisions about launching new products in your particular industry because you'll understand the cost/value implications of one decision over another.
You'll have access to the latest innovations in manufacturing engineering technologies, systems and concepts to create products that add value and are on the cutting edge of your industry.
Lastly, you'll increase your profitability by producing innovative products that customers will value highly and so maintain a steady, long-term business relationship with you.
The benefits of manufacturing engineering services are endless, so it's well worth investigating these processes to discover whether they will work for your particular products.
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