Less is better than bulk – Low Volume Manufacturing

The title may seem to contradict to the popular belief that “more the merrier”, but this is not the case here. We are talking about the manufacturing rate of products which has become in bulk quantity in recent times. Industrialists have opted out for injection moulding method which is a useful method for producing a large number of items in a short period of time. Injection moulding may be cost-effective in the long run but its initial cost is very high and therefore new start-ups and persons with low investments cannot afford it. This solution to this is low volume manufacturing which integrates all principles of planning & management, supply & demand relation understanding and manipulation, cost-based production etc. For the people who are new to all these technical terms let’s just go through each topic one by one such as what is bulk production? What is low volume manufacturing? Limitations of bulk products and solutions provided by low volume manufacturing for those.

What is bulk production?

When number of items are manufactured by installing a facility it is known as bulk production. Once the facility and tools have been set up in place, the production run is started and items are manufactured. This process is continued up to lifetime of the tools. The production may be stopped if any damage or problem comes in tools.

bulk production?

Let’s see the limitations of bulk production:

  • High initial cost required to purchase the tools and set up the facility.
  • Once a data is fed in injection moulding, it is continued until any exterior modification is done. This becomes a problem if wrong data is fed leading to the manufacturing of faulty items leading to waste of resources, raw materials, the time required of production, etc.
  • Nature of items produced is repetitive and there’s no uniqueness to them.
  • Bulk production makes use of the 3D technology which has become ubiquitous and such cost-effective that it lost its thunder.
  • Bulk production is not suitable and has proven uneconomical for small production orders.

These were the few most important drawbacks of bulk production. Let’s take a look at what alternatives are provided by low volume manufacturing.

What is low volume manufacturing?

The method of manufacturing only required quantity of products using alternative products for injection moulding and 3D printing is known as low volume manufacturing. This method of production is gaining popularity day by day as more and more options for 3D printing is introduced. Some of the important materials from them are:

  • Polypropylene.
  • Glass-filled nylon.
  • Santoprene.
  • Silicone

Materials are selected based on the nature of the product to be manufactured. Let’s have a look at merits and solutions provided by low volume manufacturing for limitations of bulk production.

  • Low initial cost as raw material and tools required for production are very low.
  • Modifications are possible as quantity to be manufactured is low, so constant attention can be given to every product.
  • Alternatives for 3D technology is used, so limitations related to it are also eliminated.