If you find you need to outsource your precision engineering projects, you may be overwhelmed by the number of options available to you. It can be a daunting task, requiring you to place the utmost trust in a company to meet your specific brief, particularly if you’ve never worked with a precision engineer before. It’s as difficult as finding a good garage, but once you find the right fit, you’ll be set for life.
There are a number of important factors to look out for when searching for a precision engineering company you can rely on time and again. In today’s article, we’ll be sharing the simple tips you need to follow to ensure you work with the ideal supplier for your next project.
What to look out for with your precision engineer: The 8 key tips
Whether it be a small prototype or a longer production run of a large-scale project, this guide will enable you to confidently work with a precision engineering company you can trust. Like a well-oiled machine, you’ll want them to be equipped to take on your project with ease.
#1 Commitment to quality
You certainly don’t want to receive a component that fails to meet your specifications and expectations.
A precision engineering company should have robust control procedures in place to guarantee a high-level result that meets your specifications, meeting requirements the first time, every time. Can the firm verify that the part is made to the correct tolerance? What quality control procedures does the company employ?
Do they guarantee delivery and quality? And will they flexibly work with you to develop your product? Ensure you are confident before you proceed with your project.
#2 Calibre of employees
A business is only as good as its workforce. If the engineering company doesn’t take pride in the work they produce or the employees take little interest in their projects, it’s likely you won’t receive the professional level of service you desire.
This is difficult to measure but the best tip is to talk to the company and make sure their expertise and passion shines through. It will quickly become evident that they have the skills, experiences and knowledge. It is also essential that you’re able to talk directly to the engineers who’ll be working on your project so you can benefit from the expertise and experience.
#3 Level of expertise
You should be able to ask the company for examples of their previous work, specifically examples relevant to the brief you have given them. Have they worked on similar projects or designs before? Here at Epal, we’ve completed over 11,000 jobs so we’re confident in our ability to meet your requirements. Again, this will guarantee you enter into the working relationship fully informed and set your expectations accordingly.
Epal’s extensive time in the industry means they have a range of contacts for other specialist engineering requirements who can help resolve challenging problems. They have access to high-quality suppliers and engineering companies to ensure they offer a complete service to their clients.
#4 Customer service skills
The process, from initial design to the final manufactured component can be complex. Make sure you work with a company that you can comfortably communicate with. It is essential that you’ll be able to chat to the engineer actually working on your project rather than a call handler in the office.
The company that will be on hand with regular support, advice and updates. You should receive consistent contact with your engineer to ensure the project is on the right track, ultimately allowing you to relax knowing you’re in safe hands.
#5 Design Advice
Can the company offer you design advice? Working closely with the company’s engineers will help ensure your design is optimised for production.
Does the company offer a full design service? Can they take a rough design concept, and create full CAD drawings?
Can they help you develop a prototype? It’s very easy to add numerous elements to a design on a CAD system that in the real world are difficult to produce – so, you should speak to an experienced precision engineer to work out what you really need to meet your actual needs.
This design advice is invaluable to ensure that your ultimate design is not only production-ready but also proves reliable once in service.
#6 Range of capability
Does the company offer a one-stop shop for all your precision engineering requirements from prototype to full production?
As noted above, ensuring your product is correctly designed not only reduces production costs but also increases the quality and lifespan of the end product.
Do they offer services such as mould tools, pressings and additional finishes to ensure you have a complete product?
Can they handle a wide range of materials including challenges such as Inconel?
Do they offer EDM services to ensure ultimate precision when required? Can they work with prototypes, short-production runs right up to full-scale production?
Can they reverse-engineer an existing part when required so that obsolete parts can be remanufactured?
#7 Quick turnaround time, whilst maintaining high-end results
Can the company deal with fast turnaround requirements when required? Many companies can’t be flexible with production, so make sure they can take on short delivery when needed. Larger companies often have less flexibility due to their volume of work and production scheduling systems.
#8 Value for money
This isn’t to say you should opt for the cheapest price, but instead the fairest. You get what you pay for, and the cheapest option may not necessarily provide you with the level of finish you require. Instead, look for an engineering firm that will provide you with a fair price for the quality of the component. Depending on the performance level you need, you can then base your choice accordingly.
The tolerances of a part can make a huge difference to the cost of the product, your precision engineer will be able to refine your detail, simplifying any unnecessarily complex designs that could double the price! This could be the difference between the product being profitable and failing to successfully launch so it’s important you consider this fully.
When making your decision remember that the cheapest option, in the long run, might have a higher initial cost.
Working with an experienced team ensures that any potential problems are ironed out in the early stages of the design. This will make your product easier, faster and cheaper to produce and better designed for volume production. Most importantly of all, the product will have better long-term reliability and lower failure rates in the field.
Remember the old ‘Cost of Quality’ model: catching problems at the design stage is at least 10 times cheaper than finding them in the field and then potentially having to rework your design anyway.
Working with Epal Engineering to fulfil your brief
Established in 1987, we’ve been providing quality bespoke components and exceptional customer service for companies in the South East and beyond ever since. From prototyping and initial drawings, right through to production and delivery of precision machined components and complex parts in various materials, our dedicated team of passionate engineers are on hand to help you achieve your desired result.
Ready to work with an engineering firm that will go above and beyond to meet your brief? Contact the Epal team today by either emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us directly on 1903 744352. We’ll be more than happy to discuss your individual requirements and how we can assist you.