The Difference Between a Laser Job Shop and a Laser Machining Partner

Posted on Tuesday, January 05, 2016

When you need an ally that can help you with prototypes ahead of the volume order, the best partner will be able to answer some key questions right up front.

- Can this idea be manufactured within the budget and timeframe specified?

- Will they break, corrode, or otherwise be damaged either during manufacturing or later when deployed in the actual application?

  • - Are the materials, shape, size, weight, and other features optimized for manufacturability?

These questions go beyond just, “What’s the best way to laser the part as specified?” Sometimes the part as specified cannot be manufactured at all, or at least not within specified budgets of cost and time. And sometimes if the part were lasered differently it could better serve its intended purpose.

When making choices about materials, assembly steps, tooling, etc., the goal is not just to achieve the smoothest and most cost-effective manufacturing process. The ultimate goal is to achieve the best product possible. What may not be known at the outset is how changes in component manufacturing can impact product manufacturing, and ultimately product performance and market success.

Answering those questions involves a discovery phase in which the component manufacturer and the product manufacturer collaborate as laser R and D partners. 

Great laser R and D partners will be able to communicate this. That experience helps them avoid wasting time reinventing the wheel or going down dead ends. A solid R and D track record also indicates they respect their customer’s intellectual property. In other words, they won’t expect royalty payments or share intellectual property with other customers.

A good laser R and D partner is also more likely to achieve design goals that a less R and D oriented supplier would find impossible. Because they like to push boundaries and be innovative they’ll likely have answers that others don’t. They are also more likely to know what design goals really are out of reach.

Ultimately, a great laser R and D partner is a great business partner. That’s because you can’t be a great Laser R and D partner without having your eye focused on what really counts — i.e., whether the component’s design will help ensure market success. That’s a different question than just whether the part can be made, for how much, and how fast. And someone who focuses on that will help make your business and product boom.

Learn more by reviewing our Design Guidelines.

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