Low Volume Manufacturing: The Biggest Advantages of Small Batch Production
Normally, low-volume manufacturing involves the production of 10 to 10K parts, depending on the methods used, manufacturing processes involved, mold tooling & the materials in use. Scaling fast to "mass commercialization" comes with lots of dangerous risks and additional but unnecessary costs.
However, the practice of low-volume manufacturing can be more efficient as well as very effective. It adds flexibility to the design process, minimizes the occurrence of the risk, reduces time-to-market, and often creates opportunities that allow for saving in the cost of production. So, stakeholders reap massive benefits during the various stages of the product life-cycle, that's from the early stages of designing to manufacturing, and this extends up to the supply chain until reaching the customers.
Benefits of Low Volume Manufacturing
Saves A Significant Amount of Money
Do you want to produce top-quality parts while still being able to limit your investment exposure? Low-volume manufacturing is the perfect option by producing up to 10K high-quality pcs. If durability isn't a priority, you can save more money by leveraging soft tooling to make a lower-fidelity test run.
Conversely, factories established for large-scale production have huge inventories of equipment and raw materials. Thus, to cover the big investment needed, they require you to place a large amount for an order, and there is usually a set minimum. But low volume-manufacturing specialists aren't burdened with the same amount of overhead, so we can process orders quickly yet more economically, without the need for a minimum order.
When producing a small-run of parts or products, you'll have access to emerging markets before competition has an opportunity to do so.
Unlike full-scale production, low-volume manufacturing reduces tooling costs without a need for minimum orders. Low-volume manufacturing allows you to reduce the total production lead times, which in turn saves you time and energy in your product development stages.
If there's a need for shorter product lifecycles, with low volume manufacturing you can iterate designs and parts much more quickly. Better still, you won't have to make the often unnecessary financial expenditure of a full production run, therefore keeping your business financially stable. Also, low manufacturing comes with very quick turnaround that hastens design changes, decreasing costs & the total time it takes to produce the manufacturing run.
More Flexible Design Iterations
While producing the products, there'll most likely be a few design aspects that require modification. With low-volume production runs, it will be easier to validate the design, engineering & manufacturability before investing in costly production tools, and later turning to mass production. Speedy design iterations following the first test run can refine & optimize the product's features further, before it reaches the hands of customers.
Low-volume manufacturing offers a quicker time to market
In some cases, being the first to market can determine whether your product succeeds or flop. Low-volume manufacturing is a perfect way to produce enough of your product for sale, without having to carry excessive inventory. Also, supply chains for low volume manufacturers are well optimized, so the total lead times are generally weeks or days instead of months, giving you a faster path to market viability.
Low-volume Allows Bridge Production
An added advantage of low-volume manufacturing is that it allows you to prepare for a move to full scale production, which is how it got the name ‘bridge tooling’ or ‘bridge production’. As the volume of manufacturing continues to go up, you can streamline your best practices to save costs and boost on product quality.
Types of Low Volume Manufacturing
Low-Volume CNC Machining
In various sectors of low volume manufacturing, CNC machining provides a means to custom manufacture plastic and metallic machined parts. In CNC machining, low volume manufacturing is a solid assessment solution for future full-scale production schedules.
Rapid Injection Molding
Rapid injection molding is best for clients who require low volumes of molded parts. Apart from manufacturing large numbers of production-grade plastic parts for conducting verification tests similar to the end product, it also offers an at-will production of the final production components for low-volume manufacturing.
Custom Sheet Metal Fabrication
Sheet metal fabrication refers to the process of making parts from a sheet of metal or metal alloy, either through cutting, stamping, punching, blending, and finishing. As opposed to the large initial setup cost and cycle time for full scale production, low-volume fabrication of sheet metal lowers the set-up time to facilitate a quick changeover of jobs.