Outsourcing elements of manufacturing is widely accepted as a sound cost control method. For manufacturers, doing everything under one roof adds layers of complexity that can stifle growth and nibble away at margin. For anyone looking to outsource part of their manufacturing operation, metal profiling is one of the easiest and most beneficial options. Moreover, the advantages of laser cutting go way beyond nice, neat cuts.
Read the advantages of laser cutting guide and find out how to produce better parts, faster, and more efficiently.
1. Quality Metal Profiling
First and foremost, the main advantages of laser cutting are quality and repeatability. Laser cutting is a computer-controlled process meaning absolute accuracy from one tube, section, or sheet to the next. Laser cutting machines work within a tolerance of +-0.25mm which is unrivalled by established metal profiling processes such as plasma or disc cutting.
Laser cutting machines are able to process a range of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, including stainless and mild steel, aluminium and nickel alloys, copper and brass, bronze, and titanium. The maximum depth laser cutters can achieve varies from 50mm for steels to 10mm for titanium.
Human error is no longer a risk with laser cutting, as are the associated costs, disruption, and potential for loss of reputation. The thing to look out for here, is to make sure your outsourced laser cutting service has achieved BS EN 1090-1:2009/A1:2011 standard for the thermal cutting and profiling of steel and aluminium components and ISO 9001 standard which ensures legal quality control practices are adhered to. These standards mean each job will be CE compliant, provided the materials have been sourced from a CE approved steel mill, and are particularly important for material tracking within the steel industry.
2. Downstream Efficiencies
The benefits of laser cutting are shared throughout production, able to remove several downstream processes, providing considerable efficiencies. Exceptional quality cutting reduces the need for weld preparation downstream for metal sheet, tube, and section jobs. Tightly nested parts are easy to remove from sheet metal, speeding up assembly processes and reducing instances of damaged parts.
Recently developed laser bevel cutting has the ability to apply a 45° bevel to both outer and inner contours, automatically during the cutting process, both on straight and curved edges. This new laser cutting technology completely eliminates the need for weld preparation. The advent of laser bevel cutting means engineers can put their skills to better use.
Laser cutting benefits continue with the ability to add countersinks of any size, flow drilling and tapping. Manufacturers outsourcing laser cutting are benefitting from 50 to 85% reduction in downstream processes. Essentially, outsourced metal profiling means you send a drawing to the supplier, and they deliver materials ready for assembly, fully weld prepped.
3. Open Design Opportunities
Fibre lasers – now most commonly used in laser cutting – are synonymous with intricate cutting and fine contouring. The accuracy of laser cutting, for sheet metal cutting in particular, delivers unrivalled nesting efficiency. Furthermore, the opportunity to rethink a design entirely is available via the accuracy of laser cutting.
Efficiency through design is another of the main advantages of laser cutting. Designs can be fully rationalised, reducing multiple components to one, using part folds, slot and tag, and self-jigs. The result is raw material to finished part in a single, highly accurate process.
The process of rethinking design in the era of laser cutting reduces production times by 50%. With the reduced volume of parts comes more space on the shop floor and less handling for warehouse operatives. The increase in part quality delivers a reduction in rejects and improved margins.
4. Aggregated Buying Prices
Deriving cost savings through a suppliers aggregated buying prices is another of the advantages of laser cutting. Generally, a dedicated metal profiling service will purchase large volumes of steel on behalf of their customers. With steel prices seeming to be always on the rise, this of all the laser cutting benefits, is one of the most attractive, with instant savings.
5. Access the Latest Manufacturing Tech
We all hear the term, ‘competitive advantage’ but what it really means to manufacturers is being able to produce a better product, faster and more efficiently. When it comes to faster and more efficient, this is where the benefits of laser cutting come to the fore:
- Remove the need for engineers to spend hours on weld preparation
- Reduce assembly times with fully rationalised part design
- Superior quality laser profiling delivers a better product with zero margin for error
- Fast turnaround times on both complex and simple profiling jobs
The beauty of outsourced metal profiling is access to burgeoning technologies from which competitive advantage can be derived. If your competitors are still trying to do everything in house, they will struggle to stay ahead. Even the simplest jobs can be improved in terms of quality and efficiency. On aggregate, multiple savings on key components add up to better products, produced faster and more efficiently.
Still not sure about outsourcing parts of your manufacturing operation? Get a quote from The Laser Cutting Co. and see how much you could save. When it comes to metal profiling, our service is unrivalled in speed, ability, and quality: