It's an old adage, true even in the die casting industry. Where does it start? As I have stated in previous articles, it should start with product design and development. It also continues in the quoting stage. "What?" you say! Make the sales department responsible for the success of a casting project? Why not! Some castings are much easier to sell then they are to produce. Is there a simple solution? Success is more likely with a mutual commitment between the designer, purchaser and producer. Complex, engineered castings have forced the die casting industry to improve their machine, tooling, engineering and process capabilities in recent years. In many ways, we have not all adapted to the shift from castings resulting from collaboration between the customers design and manufacturing engineers and the die casting supplier. Commodity buyers have replaced technical purchasing specialists. Brokers have introduced communication layers between the supplier and the final user that can inhibit the engineer and sales from properly defining quality and functional requirements. This can result in disappointed customers and frustrated suppliers. Going "off-shore" for solutions only makes it more difficult.
i. Die Casting
While the above steps are not a final guarantee of 100% success, they do greatly improve the company's chances for a successful build and launch.
The above article was first published in "Die Casting Management" magazine, October 2002.
Bob McClintic and Associates
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49428 USA
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