In the second part of this series, we will be discussing “operating cost” and “environmental considerations”. Both these are important criteria to be considered when making a choice of the cutting process.
The total operating cost of a cutting system is impacted by several factors such as power, gas, consumables, maintenance, etc.
Another important aspect that contributes to the operating cost is the labour cost. The rising cost of labour, as well as, the lack of skilled work force is creating a demand for automated cutting processes. A fully automated cutting process can help to reduce or completely eliminate the need for setting up a CNC and programming the same, the requirement for more than one machine for different operations like bevelling, marking and cutting, and for secondary finishing operations such as grinding, etc.
Another factor that is a major contributor to the total operating cost is the material utilisation. By increasing the utilisation of the material so that less waste is produced, you can reduce the operating cost. You could also recover some cost by selling the scrap or the unused material. Material utilisation can also be affected by the CAD/CAM software that directs the cutting motion as well as determines the nesting.
The total cost that is incurred to produce a finished part includes the processes to prepare the finished part for painting, welding, etc., or maybe even finishing the part to better the aesthetics. When these processes, the labour costs and the machine time are reduced by making improvements in the cutting process, the total cost incurred per finished part can be reduced.
Today, as companies and manufacturers are becoming increasingly conscious about safeguarding the environment, the focus of these companies is to set goals and follow processes that reduce the adverse impact on the environment and hence the cost of their operations. By reducing the material waste and consumption of energy, the environmental impact can be reduced and the operation costs can also be significantly lessened.
Employing advanced CAD/CAM software and high-tech, efficient cutting systems can provide several advantages. Using abrasives in waterjet cutting and recycling water through closed-loop systems can also help to reduce environmental costs. The cutting system equipment can be upgraded, recycled, or sold and this can help to reduce the total production cost.
We can see that there are many factors that must be taken into consideration before selecting the appropriate cutting system for your business. All these factors can make a significant impact on the productivity and hence the bottom line of your operations.