Swiss-Machining; Pricing Changes on Low-Volume Parts Due to "Cycle Time" and Material
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  1. #1
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    Default Swiss-Machining; Pricing Changes on Low-Volume Parts Due to "Cycle Time" and Material

    I would appreciate a sanity check on cycle-times and pricing on swiss-machined parts. We recently are having 600 pieces of the bottom sketch (size for reference is about 4.8mm dia x 6.6 high, grade 4/5 titanium). I changed the order from 500 to 600 pieces, and added the second circumferential undercut, which resulted in a 21% increase in the price; the stated reason was cycle-time for adding the second groove (NO other changes were made). Does this seem reasonable due to cycle-time on a swiss-machined part.

    I had a couple of other parts quoted (small relatively simple 304/304) and when we requested a change to a work-hardened condition B material, the price almost doubled on one part and 50%+ on the other (this was a small lot of 100 pieces). One part may be run from 3/32 dia stock, and the other from 3/16 stock (both about 1" long). The reason stated was again machining time, and that the Condition B material was 10x more expensive.

    I'm not a swiss-machining expert,but it seems adding a second groove would take all of 2-3 seconds, and similarly something like cold-worked stainless would not be drastically slower. Also, for these very low volumes, it would seem that cycle-time is a relatively minor factor. I am not trying to lowball the vendor, but trying to get a bit educated on swiss-machine pricing. Also, I would rather be told that someone is increasing the price because they quoted it too low, rather than using a change as an excuse to increase prices-if that's the case. Thanks for your time.

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    The condition B material thing probably would jump price a lot, going non std on materials even if there small can really bump costs a lot, remember, 1 or 5 sticks of a material at these diameters, theres no qty price breaks!

    The little bit - second grove may well add holding issues for the second spindle.

    Generally changes add agro and looks like your supplier likes you to bear the cost of that agro not themselves. Probaly pays to get your design settled and only then get it qouted the once in the correct material.

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    Quote Originally Posted by adama View Post
    The condition B material thing probably would jump price a lot, going non std on materials even if there small can really bump costs a lot, remember, 1 or 5 sticks of a material at these diameters, theres no qty price breaks!

    The little bit - second grove may well add holding issues for the second spindle.

    Generally changes add agro and looks like your supplier likes you to bear the cost of that agro not themselves. Probaly pays to get your design settled and only then get it qouted the once in the correct material.
    Thanks Adam; yes I try to get the designs quoted only once, but have someone behind the project that is pushing things as fast as possible. Again, I don't really have a problem with an aggravation-factor on small orders (I understand it), but would rather just be told something like "you changed the part, we're re-quoting it and based on business factors/overhead/capacity, the price has changed", rather than something not really pertinent.

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    I don't run your vendor's business, so this is guess-work, but those price changes are plausible. adama gave some good reasons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by car2 View Post
    Again, I don't really have a problem with an aggravation-factor on small orders (I understand it), but would rather just be told something like "you changed the part, we're re-quoting it and based on business factors/overhead/capacity, the price has changed", rather than something not really pertinent.
    Yeah, but even amungst my customers, you kinda get into the habit of diplomacy. Simply saying you fucked my off yet again so im whacking on the 10% fuck off fee surcharge and the 11% cost increase never goes well.

    I do get were your coming from, i have a constant chain of shit from my multiple laser cutting vendors, your £500 order does not matter that much too us, to then get three months latter phone calls begging for work to qoute, so give them a grands worth of bits, then get a extended delivery as its more than they can handle etc, dealing with sub contractors my rule of thumb is to at least double the price to my end customer, because im constantly getting it in the shorts and left to hold the bag from both ends, late deliveries cock ups etc. The more humans i deal with and the more humans in the chain of supply the more agro.

    Then you get the cunts bumping the delivery deadline out to the next week because you did not pay within 2 minutes of the fucking quote landing in your inbox. Sure i get my parts are a pain in the ass, but deliver on time, i pay immediatly and i placed something like £9K of laser work last year. So its not like im some small timer, though sure not vast either. Best advice is buy your own swiss lathe i spose and learn how to run it. If i had the space for even a small laser trust me i would have done so by now!

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    Those price increases seem perfectly reasonable to me.

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    OK, thanks gentlemen. So is Condition B stainless typically that much more expensive than standard 303/304 regarding material and machinablilty/cycle-time, even in high-volumes? At that cost to obtain additional hardness, I assume that you could use 420 and heat-treat the parts for about the same cost. Thanks for the replies.

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    Sounds more like they screwed the pooch the first time round and are getting it right this time.


    Did you actually have parts made the first time or are you just getting quotes?

    They may think you are a time waster

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    IME anything out side std grade materials jumps cost big time, firstly less places make it then even less places stock it.

    On something like 3/32 dia bars, your idea of qty is next to nothing. Most materials come in 12' lengths, most trade places want to sell a lot of lengths, not just 2-3. Sure you get into the 100,000 part range things may be different, but you get well north of 100 parts out of a 12' length if the parts under 1" long. Most suppliers won't even consider price breaks for less than 100 lengths at these smaller diameters over here. Theres just no weight there, its all in handling costs. Sure get into making stuff our of 2" solid and its a different story fast. But sub 1/4" and your raw material cost is less significant than the material forming and handling costs on a lot of materials.

    Higher hardness means more tool wear and more issues in holding tolerance, 304 is already well known to be a less than ideal machining steel, so making it worse, yeah costs are only going up!

    My experience has been its generally cheaper to go to a more readily available higher grade material on stuff than it is to try and go to a special order lesser material in a rare condition. Sure some materials are readily available in a couple of heat treat states, but not all are and probably not all sizes. This varies on location and whats around you - who else uses it.

    One example, i use to get dirt cheap pricing on 5/8" 16G ERW, because there was a a local manufacturer using it by the 10s of Km a week, hence the local steel place was buying it in in serious lorry sized qty. This almost halved the price compared to 1/2" 16g ERW tube from the same mill.

    Again best thing to do if your not happy with price is send the revised details for qoute else were. Thats the best idea of gaugeing how bad your getting screwed, but im certainly of the opinion your numbers are not too far out of line. Again else were things may be a lot lot cheaper and posting even a few thousand bits that sizes costs next to nothing!

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    Quote Originally Posted by car2 View Post
    I'm not a swiss-machining expert,but it seems adding a second groove would take all of 2-3 seconds
    I can't think of any operation, other than maybe a spot drill, that only takes 2-3 seconds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Orange Vise View Post
    I can't think of any operation, other than maybe a spot drill, that only takes 2-3 seconds.
    On a decent, late model Swiss, adding one groove is easily a 2-3 second or less addition.

    Say that groove is .030" deep, it's decent sized, meaning you've got a beefy insert, you can feed at .0015" per rev, or better. Gr 5 Ti = 120 SFM with good tooling, sometimes even higher, the part is roughly .189" diameter, that's 2400ish RPM... .030"/.0015" = 20 revolutions to get to size... 2400 RPM = 40R/S... So not counting positioning, and feed from clearance to material, you're at 1/2 second to cut that groove.

    Now, not saying there's not maybe a dwell in there, and maybe 1/2 second in positioning... But 2-3 seconds is not unreasonable for MANY operations on a Swiss lathe.

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    Thanks everyone for the responses. I understand that much of the issue are the low quantity, its a pain since most of the overhead is programming, setting, checking parts, paoerwork etc. Thanks very much for the information and responses.

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    If you asked for 303/304 material and actually meant 304, then you got off easy with a 21% increase!

    If its just adding an additional groove on a short part run, I would probably not have changed the price at all.

    303 vs 304 on a swiss is the difference between babysitting the machine and letting it run all night unattended. Especially with long holes.

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