How to Reduce Scrap in Metal Fabrication Design

Are you aware of how much money your manufacturing facility is losing on wasted scrap metal that is sold off for less than you originally paid for it, or worse, tossed in the trash?

Wasted materials are inevitable, but how much gets wasted is something that you can control by making a few changes to your processes.

Let us show you how you can reduce the amount of scrap metal you produce, so you can stop losing cash unnecessarily.

1. Nest Your Parts

Reduce costs and improve production times by nesting your smaller parts inside larger parts on the same sheet of metal.

By lining up your cuts this way, you’ll eliminate the need for a second press and operator, as well as decrease the total tooling, material, and labor costs.

Be careful not to nest any parts that have different requirements on thickness. You’ll end up with parts that are too thick or too thin if you do.

You also need to make sure that the direction of the sheet metal’s grain isn’t parallel to the bending direction—otherwise, you’ll get cracks in the parts.

Recommended Reading: 6 Tips to Optimize Your CAD Processes For Metal Fabrication

2. Repurpose Your Scrap Pieces

Nesting is an excellent place to start when you’re trying to reduce the amount of scrap metal you produce, but you’re still going to end up with some scrap pieces.

Not all scrap pieces are useless, and you should sort through them and pull out the pieces you can reuse for cutting out more parts.

Another option is to combine scrap pieces into a continuous strip that you can feed into a progressive die.

You need to keep in mind that when doing this, the scrap metal is going to lose some of its ductility and forming characteristics.

Because of this, you’ll want to avoid using this method on scrap metal that is strained or work-hardened.

Recommended Reading: Which Metal Finish Works Best For Your Fabricated Parts?

3. Consider Stamping vs. Machining Parts

Certain product or part designs can be manufactured using a variety of forming methods. Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, you might be better off stamping instead of machining the parts.

Stamping your parts instead of machining them speeds up production time and reduces the amount of scrap metal that gets left behind.

Not only is the reduced costs and production time a win for your bottom line, but it’s a win for your customers too.

You’ll be able to pass on those savings and make your products more affordable, which, in turn, results in happier customers and more people purchasing your products.

Recommended Reading: Value Engineering vs. Cost Cutting: Know the Difference

4. Store Your Parts in Adequate Containers

It happens all the time. Finished products are stored in cheap containers that barely fulfill the minimum requirements in an effort to cut costs.

The problem is, when you choose to purchase inadequate containers, your products are likely to get damaged or scratched. 

When this happens, the product can no longer be sold for a profit. Instead, it gets discarded in the trash, and your facility has to eat the cost.

Save yourself from this potential pitfall by purchasing quality containers to store your finished products so they aren’t damaged.

Recommended Reading: Adding It Up: The Real Cost of Partnering With A Fabrication Shop

Quick Recap

Reducing scrap metal in fabrication design is a goal that all manufacturers should strive for. The benefits far outweigh the hassles of making changes to your processes, so don’t let that stop you from trying the following suggestions....

  1. Nest Your Parts: Nesting smaller parts inside of large ones helps you reduce the amount of wasted materials and speeds up production times.

  2. Repurpose Your Scrap Pieces: don’t let your scrap pieces go to waste. Sort through them and pull out any you can reuse for other parts. Consider combining them into one piece and feed it into a progressive die to make your parts, when possible.

  3. Consider Stamping vs. Machining: when a part can be formed by stamping instead of machining, you’ll decrease the amount of scrap that’s created and reduce the amount of labor and production time required.

  4. Store Your Products in Adequate Containers: purchasing cheap containers to store your products often results in products getting damaged and discarded in the trash. Purchase adequate containers for storage to prevent this from happening to you.

Get More Useful Tips and Advice

At EMS, we understand that you want to do your job to the best of your ability, and that continued education is crucial for your continued success.

That’s why we created a newsletter that we send out to our subscribers, so they can learn the latest tips and advice to sharpen their skills and create better quality products.

Don’t miss out on the information we’re providing for free. Sign up for our newsletter so you can benefit from the knowledge too.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter