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Value Engineering of Thermoformed Bezel to Plastic Injection Molding Yields Huge Savings
Evaluate new manufacturing processes to decrease unit cost.
Machines produced by a gaming industry corporation achieved commercial success, and the demand continued to increase. To stay competitive, the total unit cost needed to be reduced. Cypress was asked to investigate the existing product and evaluate production methods to maintain or improve quality while significantly decreasing costs.
The unit incorporates a black bezel that provides a seamless transition from the cabinet to the monitor. The original manufacturing process involved thermoforming - heating a sheet of plastic until it becomes pliable, forming it into the desired shape and then machining it as needed. For higher volumes, this can be a very time consuming and expensive process.
Our engineers analyzed the part and the existing manufacturing techniques and realized that by creating the frame using plastic injection molding, four significant objectives could be realized.
- A significant source of waste - the large central portion of the piece - would be eliminated through the molding process.
- The entire routing process could be eliminated.
- A custom texture could be added to the piece without the need for additional machining.
- The overall cycle time and labor required to produce the parts would be greatly reduced.
By redefining the manufacturing process, we moved the run from two processes to one, reducing manufacturing time and dramatically decreasing the cost of production. A plastic injection mold was designed and tooled, requiring a significant initial cost that was quickly recouped.
Manufacturers must be able and willing to examine the pros and cons of materials and tools used in the production of a product, and re-evaluate manufacturing techniques when the volume of pieces produced changes dramatically.
By taking a step back and addressing a simple, yet fundamental, aspect of the manufacture of this project, Cypress was able to significantly reduce the waste associated with thermoforming this one small piece of the overall design, decreasing costs by more than 80%, recovering the entire cost of the retooling conversion and realizing a profit within the first three months. Overall savings for this part and two others were in excess of $500,000 USD per year.