Redesign: Out with sheet metal, in with plastics, and way, way up with the savings

22/11/2010

Don't just demand lower prices from your suppliers, learn where their costs are created and then help them reduce those. That's the moral of this story, in which a mechanical engineer at a veterinary device manufacturer used DFMA software and worked with his injection molding supplier, PTA Corp., to turn 43 parts into a single injection molding, consolidated 30 other parts into just four plastics ones, all courtesy of a mammoth metal-to-plastic conversion.

Justin Griffin, an R&D mechanical engineer at IDEXX Laboratories of Westbrook, ME, began his design for manufacturing and assembly (DFMA) journey when he was tasked to redesign his company's Catalyst Dx blood chemistry analyzer for the veterinary market. Each product redesign offers engineers a fresh opportunity to break with convention. But with deadlines looming, they can often feel pushed to re-purpose an existing Bill-of-Materials (BOM) and just tweak critical features.
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