Design for Manufacturability

Material selection is a complicated process that must meet various (sometimes) competing requirements. While a given rubber or plastic material may be ideal for a specific application, the manufacturing process required to produce it may make it cost prohibitive for the market or cause more scrap in processing. Design for manufacturability assessments can assist design engineers in the process.

Demand for independent assistance with product design and the manufacturing process has increased dramatically over recent years.

Some of the most common challenges include:

  • The development of chemicals and new materials
  • Demands from manufacturers for product improvement
  • Meeting legislative requirements

Smithers Rapra provides independent feasibility assessments of new products as well as reviews and improvement proposals for existing products. We offer full service support to optimize the commercial value of your products in terms of design, durability, materials, costs, manufacturing and processing. 

If a review highlights that additional work is required, our testing, analytical and processing services can help with:

  • Physical materials testing of plastics and rubber
  • Chemical analysis of plastics and rubber
  • Processing support, including prototyping and small-scale manufacturing trials

Economic pressure and increased global competition mean that established rubber and polymer products are often subject to a number of cost reduction reviews in their lifetime in order to increase profitability.

Typical drivers for these types of evaluations include:

  • Intellectual property protection running out
  • Supply chain driving cost down
  • Price erosion and commoditization
  • Product refresh projects
  • Entrance into new markets
  • Price surges by material suppliers

The performance of a product depends on a number of factors including the material, durability, service, design and process. Each of these elements is interrelated. Minor changes in the manufacturing process or material grade may have an impact on service performance which means changes need careful consideration before they are made.

Smithers Rapra provides independent technical audits of specific process stages as well as the entire manufacturing process from raw materials to final product. We can verify whether production processes comply with specified procedures and identify and highlight areas where improvements can be made. We will identify and highlight areas where improvements can be made to reduce or eliminate potential for inconsistent and scrap material. Our team carries out independent testing and analysis of plastics and rubber compounds to assess compliance with specification and/or the formulation composition.

Process support offerings include:

  • Assisting our customers in identifying the most appropriate process route to manufacture a the product and/or plastic or rubber material.
  • The provision of rheometer testing to characterize curing behavior and advise on optimum curing conditions
    (MDR /RPA testing).
  • Advice on equipment required for in-house manufacturing
  • Supervision of mixing and manufacturing operations
  • An audit process to identify sources of contamination, scrap and waste
  • Assistance to identify reputable rubber product manufacturers for specific product designs or materials
  • Supporting clients to develop in-house process specifications

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For guidance with rubber and plastic design for manufacturability, please get in touch with our featured experts.