The Apex Approach to Selecting Material
Our team understands the importance of selecting the right material for a project. It can have a huge impact on success. Therefore we take necessary steps to ensure we source properly for each project we work on. The following are several of the most frequently asked questions related to selecting material for your project.
How do we begin the selection process?
First, in order to determine the most relevant material for the application, we ask a variety of questions, including the following:
- What is the operating temperature for the product?
- Will the component have cyclical stress or static Loading?
- What type of environment will the product be exposed to in its normal conditions?
- How long do you expect the product to last?
All of these questions are very important. But in addition to these, we must consider the current 2022 market conditions because it has led to one of the most important questions. Is the material available for purchase? Because of worldwide shortages caused by Geo-Political upheaval, some material is not readily available. Furthermore, finding “Like” material is difficult. Because products are designed in different areas of the world, specifications are different. For example, material from the Pacific Rim might be completely different from a European product design. Therefore we understand the importance of cross-referencing “like” materials. It can be tricky and sometimes downright dangerous in certain applications. You can be assured that our team has the necessary experience, and dedication, to successfully consider all factors and find the right material for the application.
What are the consequences making the wrong selection?
Product failure is the most catastrophic result of sourcing material failure. But most of the time, testing of the finished product will weed out any bad selections.
Cost overruns is the next risk of not sourcing the right material. Apex for a long period of time did not index its material purchased and had a tough time of it with the material run-up in 2021 and 2022. We now index our materials and have gotten customers to buy into the process. If you are not indexing the material, free fall will make it almost impossible to provide a competitive price, or stay in business long.
Inability to find the material is another risk. Today, longer lead times are not uncommon. For example, 24 to 48 weeks might be the lead time just to get the material. But it is nearly impossible for a supplier to plan out that long for demand on projects. Therefore alternatives need to be investigated and confirmed to prevent this from happening.
Our team considers all these factors and works hard to prevent any negative consequences.
When is the right time to make decisions about the material?
Planning for the material selection should be done upfront in the design stages. Also, consulting with us is one of the most important decisions any customer can make.
We recognize that this makes it difficult for the supply chain that wants to competitively bid out the product to multiple suppliers. Apex has always been committed to making our pricing the most competitive. But, upfront consulting is hard to do when the product has not been awarded to a supplier. Our customers trust us and know that the Engineering consultation will pay dividends in the long run with a strong partnership. For example, we have developed long and strong relationships with many of our spring customers.
A good design and material selection means you have a much better chance of getting on-time deliveries with great quality, at a competitive price. This is done with us involved up front in the design process, through prototyping, and other tools into production.
The Apex Commitment
We have always had the attitude that we are here to partner with our customers, and serve them in any way we can. This includes selecting the right material for every project. Call anyone at our company, and they will go out of their way to help you, even though it might not be their department or responsibility. This is a top-down attitude that has made the culture at Apex a great place to work. We are passionate about springs, stampings, wire forms, and assembly, and that is our expertise. Why not let us help you with your program or problem? As usual, the first question we always ask is, “How can we help?”
Contact us or request a quote today to get the conversation started!