It takes a certain amount of time and energy to qualify a potential supplier foundry. Getting the best value from any casting requires a cooperative effort on the part of the customer and the supplier foundry. Good planning ahead of time will pay dividends for both you (the customer) and the foundry.
Assuming you have a ferrous or non-ferrous casting ready for sampling or production, the first place to start with any new foundry is to request pricing for the part. The purpose of requesting a quotation for a casting is to determine capability, experience and the lowest possible casting price of a potential vendor foundry. It is always advisable to have more than one foundry participate in the quoting process.
Once price quotes are received, you must then weigh all of the provisions of the quotation - including exceptions taken to drawings, specifications, and processing requirements - as well as supplier foundry experience, tooling requirements, tolerances, finish allowances, and delivery. Such factors as sampling processes, reduced machine work, tolerance recommendations, intended or improved delivery schedules, and experience or reliability are particularly important to determine the lowest end cost of the casting.
To avoid misunderstandings, reduce costs, and expedite the processing of quotations, vendor foundries will need significant details in order to respond to a request for quotation:
- Casting design - drawings, images, models, samples, etc.
- Quantity - short term and long term volume requirements
- Material specifications
- Inspection specifications and requirements
- Casting details - volumes and/or predicted weights (both rough and finished)
- Pattern details
- Production/delivery schedules required
In addition to the basic detail requirements above, there are other levels of customer requirements that could be communicated at this time. These could include receiving inspection acceptance and back charge policy, casting return policy, expediting procedures, and sophisticated controls not normally associated with the standard inquiry. A complete understanding of these areas is best developed by an open relationship between the customer and the supplier foundry representative, and the professional attitudes and experiences that both can provide during the quotation evaluation phase. Creating top quality castings can be a time consuming process but when the right supplier supplier foundry is chosen, the custom casting process is a whole lot easier!
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