Custom Urethane Parts/Products: What to Tell Your Supplier – Part 1
When working with a supplier on a custom urethane part/product for your application it is important to communicate critical background and functionality information upfront in the custom formulation design process. Doing so will enable your supplier to formulate the ideal urethane part/product based on your specific needs for tolerance, durability and more, and do so cost-effectively.
Critical Product Information for Optimum Design
There are many questions your supplier will have for you when beginning the custom quote process. Crucial custom formulation design areas range from previous product history and customer concerns to functionality-specific questions such as of descriptions of use, critical properties and environment. In Part 1 of this series we will cover two of the five critical areas to cover with your supplier to achieve optimum product/part design:
1. Part/Product History:
For new parts/products, knowing what stage of production it is in is valuable:
If this is a completely new part, your supplier can work closely with you from concept to prototype to production to meet your new application’s critical tolerances and specifications. This process may involve sketches and layouts to determine how your new product /part will function in your application. Knowing stage of production is important as well, as your supplier should be aware of any critical timelines.
For existing parts/products, your supplier will want to know: What is the current material being used? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Do you have samples available?
Learning from previous material performance is a great way for your supplier to determine how to improve upon an existing design. Advances in materials, designs, and processing technologies will be taken into account when building upon an existing version of a part/product. Providing your supplier with current material specs along with samples and any advantages and disadvantages enables them to design a new version of your custom urethane product/part that will function with optimum performance in your application.
Current manufacturer and quantity of the part/product?
Current custom urethane manufacturer information in addition to the quantity needed of the new part will help your supplier determine the most cost effective design and method of production for your needs. Knowing whether you are in need of a single prototype or will be ordering a large quantity of the part/product is important in determining which materials will be used for both cost effectiveness and scalability.
2. Customer Concerns:
Why do you want to change suppliers?
Communicating existing supplier concerns is a great way for a new supplier to learn from your previous experiences. Whether it is service or quality of product, telling your new supplier will make them aware of what they can do to improve upon your current situation.
What problems are you experiencing?
Being specific when describing current problems with your product or manufacturer’s performance will let the future supplier know what they can do to be a company you will look forward to working with long term.
What design changes (durometer, material, dimensions) are you considering?
Changing design elements such as durometer, material and dimensions can drastically change the function of your part/product. Sharing any design changes you might have will give your supplier a good idea of what you are looking for in your new part/product and what they can do to achieve maximum results.
Do you have concerns with your current or future part’s quality?
Designing a scalable custom urethane part/product requires the use of cost effective materials but quality should not be sacrificed. By knowing these concerns upfront, your supplier can review different material options with you and discuss ways to maximize both quality and cost effectiveness.
What concerns do you have about delivery?
Specify any delivery concerns or needs that your supplier should know. There are many options when it comes to delivering your custom part/product and your supplier will be able to recommend a delivery option that will work best for your situation.
What concerns do you have about price?
If you have pricing concerns or limitations, you may be wondering how this will affect the quality and design of your product. Let your supplier know this upfront so they can focus in on materials and other custom formulation design options that will work best within your budget.
How to Choose a Supplier
Now that you know what to tell your supplier when working together on a custom urethane formula for your part/product, you may be wondering where to go from here. Turning to experts in urethane formulation for strategic guidance will ensure that all the right questions are covered and that your answers are incorporated correctly into a custom formulation for your application. Your custom urethane supplier will work to create the strongest, toughest and most durable custom urethane part/product to meet your application needs using the most cost-effective formulation to achieve your goals
About PSI Urethanes
PSI Urethanes has 50 years of experience as a market leader and innovator in custom molded urethane. With a long history of outstanding quality, superior product performance and excellent customer service, PSI is a trusted provider of custom molded urethane parts, ranging from low quantity prototypes to full production products. Backed by a highly experienced engineering staff, PSI provides creative solutions with product design assistance, offers a vast array of specialty formulated compounds and delivers top quality parts designed to provide the best overall performance and longest lifespan.