Product designers are continually challenged to develop the “next big thing.” However, novel products call for new, complex components. That leaves OEMs with two options: either invest in additional equipment and labor to manufacture the components in-house, or outsource the task to a custom materials converter. More and more, forward-thinking companies are opting for the latter.
In this article, we’ll discuss the advantages of partnering with an experienced converter.
What is materials converting?
Converting is a general term that refers to any modification of material provided by a supplier. This can be as simple as cutting a large sheet in half or as complex as cutting out unique shapes and assembling multiple materials into a single application.
Whether you’re making a medical device, automotive product, communications components, or anything in between, you will likely want to alter and form materials to fit your unique design. That’s where a custom converter like Tapecon can be a valuable partner.
Typical converting processes.
While the possibilities with converting are virtually endless, there are a few common processes used in product manufacturing:
- Laminating – Combining two or more materials into one. Can include adhesives, tapes, foams, and many other substrates
- Slitting or spooling – Starting with a large roll, slitting and spooling change the material into a more specific size for your needs
- Die-cutting – Forming specific shapes from raw material. Based on specifications, die-cutting be accomplished through a range of processes, including clam-shell, flatbed, and rotary
- Laser cutting – Ideal for short runs or prototypes, laser offers precise cutting on a variety of materials
Partnering with an experienced custom converter will not only allow you to take advantage of these capabilities but also combine them with different materials to improve the design and performance of your product.
Benefits of outsourcing converting.
In today’s competitive business world, manufacturers across many industries are finding that outsourcing non-core competencies is an effective approach to lower costs and improve profitability.
Specifically, outsourcing converting to a trusted partner can offer many benefits, including:
- Reduced labor and equipment costs
- Improved productivity by allowing your team to focus on what they do best
- Enhanced quality, durability, or functionality by using innovative materials
- Manufacturing flexibility, including the ability to convert solutions from prototype to production
“It’s more advantageous to focus on your core competency, rather than try to do everything well.” – Billoo Ratual, CEO, Paramit Corporation
Quoted from an article in Medical Product Outsourcing
How to select a custom converting partner.
Once you decide that outsourcing materials converting is the right choice for your organization, it’s important to be selective of the partner you choose. Often, that means not jumping on the first vendor you come across or going strictly on the lowest price. An unreliable or incapable converter can hurt your company’s product quality, supply chain, reputation, and even bottom line.
To realize the full benefits of outsourced converting, the company you choose must have a collaborative approach, not just a transactional one. This means having the people and processes in place to add value to your final product.
When vetting a converting partner for your next project, here are a few questions that you should ask:
- How much experience do you have in converting?
- Do you provide design consultation and material recommendations?
- Do you offer prototyping and testing?
- What materials do you offer, and are you a preferred converter by the material manufacturer?
- Do you have references or case studies of adding value to the customer application?
Get started with custom converting.
At Tapecon, we have over 100 years of experience helping customers solve their complex product challenges. Learn more about our custom materials converting capabilities.