FORMLAB | ARTICLE

How we succeed in cost reduction –
in 4 times lower
at the most expensive area

Step-by-step medical equipment case study
STEP #1
Target-setting
Each project begins from target-setting and analysis of all information that already exist about this enclosure for the moment. The range of equipment "AKSI" was made a few years ago and contains several models of diverse products. But! The production cost of such enclosures increased every day because of inflation, a strong appetite of production owners, tax increase, etc. Every year the cost ticket was tending upwards. We had clear, but challenging task:

— to modernize enclosure and reduce the cost.

Before:
This enclosure price was $200 with a low number of copies (hundreds). By the way, compare this price with your current cost – does it alike?

The goal is clear, so we begin to analyze what exactly we can do. At once it turns out the disproportion between the front panel and the rest parts of the enclosure. It may, and the most important, it should be changed. Usually we try to use manufacturing methods that accessible to the customer, but that wasn't this case – it needs the different, more reproducible technology. Such method allows to lower the check in this situation and to make an up-to-date design as well. And for that it would be a good practice to look back on competitors, what they do with the same bodies.
Well, it's time to start drawing – and as a rule, it is the easiest part of the project.
STEP #2
Concept design
Sketching
The direction is chosen, we begin detailed drafting, and at the same time draw the film keypad, which will be the device's "face" and should be suitable for all product line. This enclosure should be unified, it helps to reduce the production costs and make the cohesive and whole range for the customer.
STEP #3
Design development
3D modeling
The design worked out, but for now it's only the nice pictures, which can be done by any product designer, even with a small experience. To bring idea to serial production – that is the trickier mission. Let's go to engineering.
STEP #4
Construction design
CAD-modeling and design documentation
The construction design is the most crucial step of every project – right in this moment the two important questions' answers arise:

1. Does the design can be implement in general?
2. How much will the enclosure cost?

If it's all clear with the first question, the second one is usually "forgotten" at the development process – meanwhile the project economy is the basis of all engineering, and it should not be ignored at any stages. Our designers begin consultation with manufacturers to get the cost price as early as mid-project. They send the mockups and drafts to get rough product estimation, at least within major costs – accessory and adoption.

Engineering is the strongest competence of Formlab. Want to read about others?
Design documentation package is ready, but it should be tested by the real mockup (prototype) before launching the mass production. There are some points that could not be taken into consideration in virtuality, and those who say the opposite is mercilessly lying. That is why we verify each our project with the real-size mockup or pilot sample.
STEP #5
Pilot sample
The pilot sample is produced with technologies which highly close to the serial production – we don't use, for example. 3D printing, because printed object does not answer all demands we put – mass, real rigidity, radio transparence, impact resistance, etc. That is why if metal would be used for such enclosure – we use real metal for prototyping. If it were plastic or aluminum – these materials also would be used for prototype production.
STEP #6
Production
Production sample
Everything is tested, can be assemble, works and costs as it should be, namely 4 times low than the previous enclosure. That is all – the product can be launched. We cannot look after the life of all our projects, it is the business of our clients, but it's a big pleasure to see such response like this:
Sales are getting better. To what extent it can be answered later, but the positive dynamic is obvious, besides we have a very specific area such as the government bidding. Here is the competitive electronics performs the leading role. And the getting rid of the past appearance helps a lot; our merchants say in unison it's not a shame now to visit the clinics where our AKSI stands near the imported equipment. While for us it is important to produce all devices in the range on the base of one platform, it makes things easier. Plus there are a thousand of front panels on stock speeds up the process with their low cost and large delivery,
It means that we do our best. And now the most important information – figures and money.
Project budget
Very important figures
$40
The prime cost of enclosure and film keypad of front panel.
3 months
The period from project start to first enclosure shipping.
$10 000
Project development and pilot sample production.
4
Exactly in 4 times low new enclosure's price is that the old one.
Where it was made
Development is not the hardest part –
the production with the unchangeable for years quality is challenging goal. This enclosure we produced on two plants.
Afterword
Andrey Vostrikov
CEO Formlab
I have always marked out this project – the manufacturers are always going to strong-arm their client with price. Once again in this case previous manufacturer chilled our client with every year increasing production cost, and almost killed the product. The client was forced to find the ways to reduce the price, found out about Formlab, and as a result – the client got the low price, unified and fine enclosure, all product range sales boosted. We put the significant project to our portfolio; the new contractors got a mighty order. Only the previous producer came off the loser, killing with the greed his long-term client.
Take the next step today
Start a conversation
Just type your contacts