For Some OEMs, Custom Components Can Save Time and Money
Despite the vast array of standard components and configuration options, there are times when the part you need is not available as a standard option. For instance, your equipment design may call for a gearbox not readily available. That was the case for an industrial equipment manufacturer.
Jury-rigging a solution
The company had been purchasing a gearbox that was close to what they needed, but not quite. So their own crew had to repurpose each gearbox before it could be used – disassembling it, retooling certain components and adding others, then reassembling the gearbox so it could perform the task as needed.
This process was effective, but not very efficient. Especially given today’s rapidly rising labor costs.
The company doesn’t require a large quantity of these specialized gearboxes, but would it be enough to potentially warrant a new, custom design? They contacted W.C. Branham. Our team worked up a design using gears from a similar Branham gearbox and a fully custom housing, to create a product the company can simply drop in. No more time and labor needed for disassembly, machining, etc.
The new gearbox has been so successful that the company is now investigating custom design for another product.
Your story may be different
Maybe you have relied on a certain component for years to support your production process, but now it is becoming obsolete and, as a result, it’s no longer being manufactured. You’ll need to replace that product. If you can’t find something suitable from another supplier, you, too, may have to jury-rig a solution -- altering some attribute such as the shaft length, the mounting, or how the product fits into the equipment overall.
Otherwise, you’ll have to find a manufacturer who can custom build the product you need to fit your drop-in specifications. Large parts manufacturers aren’t set up to handle small or one-off custom orders, but here at W.C. Branham, we’re small and nimble enough to take on products like this when it makes sense for us as well as the client.
Is custom design the right solution for you?
It can be a life-saver when standard products aren’t quite right (as in our story here) or when you need to replace a tried-and-true part that is no longer available. Or to create a just-right component for new equipment design.
Technically, there is no minimum quantity required to create a custom product. Ultimately it depends on what your budget will support. However, custom design can be cost-prohibitive for small-scale operations or if you need only one or a few items. In this case, we encourage you to consult with us about possible alternative products that could work well for you.
On the other hand, for OEMs with ongoing production needs, custom design can make the most sense. We’re here to consult with you about that, too. When we are able to spread up-front costs -- design, building and testing prototypes, and the need to produce at least a few backups “just in case” – over a larger production quantity, custom design can become a very attractive solution. Even more so if you’ll be re-ordering more of this new part in the future. You can get exactly the component you need and save time and money on work-arounds that may not be as effective.
It’s always best to inquire. Cost isn’t always the only determining factor, and you won’t be able to weigh all those factors until you explore your options.