Unaware of any immediate product improvement opportunities, the purchasing manager of a prospective Field customer led the Field team onto the manufacturing floor for a technical line review of the facility. Field immediately identified a significant cost-savings opportunity at the first work station they visited.
The original design of the customer’s laser level product called for a machine screw to be driven into a tapped hole in a metal bracket. The metal bracket was heat staked into the plastic, which is a costly and time consuming process. Additionally, the threads in this bracket were not properly tapped occasionally, causing issues in assembly that led to high costs and rework. Such difficulties significantly altered the competitive position of this product.
Back in the Field engineering lab, engineers performed a variety of tests to determine the loads generated by the original design. After analyzing this data, the team redesigned the fastener, taking the quality and assembly issues into consideration. To simplify the production process, the new design eliminated the metal bracket and utilized a thread forming screw for plastics.
After conducting the necessary validation tests of this design, the team submitted a detailed engineering report documenting current vs proposed design performance as well as conclusions and recommendations. This included not only the optimal fastener to use, but the suggested drive torque, proper boss hole size, and other considerations for the mating parts.
Shortly after Field presented their report, the customer adopted all recommendations in full. The new design yielded an improvement in operational efficiency and significant cost savings, including:
- Reduction in bracket costs: $11,280
- Reduction in secondary operational costs: $13,440
- Reduction in scrap and rework: $22,680
- Total Cost Savings with Field: $47,400