As a global leader in manufacturing, China has become a key player in the CNC machining world. Today, there are numerous CNC machining and rapid prototyping shops and services based in China which serve not only local manufacturing markets but the larger global industry. With so many options out there, however, it can be difficult for international businesses to assess and choose the best Chinese rapid prototyping provider for their needs. Fortunately, there are a number of helpful factors that can help when choosing the right CNC machining company in China to work with.
Why work with an external CNC machining shop?
First, it is worthwhile to look at why a business should consider working with an external CNC machine or rapid prototyping service in the first place. One of the key reasons that companies turn to external manufacturers is machine cost. State-of-the-art CNC machine systems, post-processing systems and other industrial equipment are extremely costly—often prohibitively so for small or medium-sized businesses. By working with an external CNC machine shop, businesses can leverage the benefits of industrial machining technologies without having to invest significant capital in the expensive hardware.
In addition to circumventing high equipment costs, businesses that work with CNC machine companies save on labor and training costs. That is, CNC machining is a complex process that requires specialized training to operate, meaning that companies working with the technology in house must have highly skilled, CNC-trained operators in their workforce. By outsourcing CNC machining jobs to a specialized service, companies can exploit the benefits of the technology without incurring labor and training costs associated with the process.
Why work with a CNC machine shop in China?
Choosing to work with a rapid prototyping company in China reinforces and adds to the benefits of working with an external CNC machining service provider. Compared to most western manufacturing companies, Chinese rapid prototyping services such as RapidDirect offer substantially lower prices thanks to a number of factors, including low raw material costs, low labor costs and thin profit margins.
Better still, factors traditionally seen as disadvantages of outsourcing to China are becoming less and less relevant. Improved communication via the internet means businesses can keep track of their machined parts as easily as if they were just next door. And rapid machining services coupled with fast delivery options mean fast turnarounds despite the geographical distance. China has also taken dramatic steps to improve its intellectual property laws, which means customers can feel confident handing their designs over to a Chinese machine shop for production.
Finally, China is becoming increasingly dominant in the CNC machining and rapid prototyping markets because of the quality of its production services. Despite lower labor costs in the country, the level of skill in the manufacturing sector—and especially CNC machine operating—is high. In other words, the lower cost of production is not an indication of lower quality parts.
Still, despite these general benefits of working with a China-based CNC machining company, there are a number of elements that can help customers sift through and choose which rapid prototyping shop to work with.
How to choose the right CNC machining shop in China
Below are a number of important factors that can help you and your business find the right CNC machining partner in China.
When exploring outsourcing options for rapid prototyping and production, one of the most important things in choosing a manufacturing partner is checking their certifications to see if they align with the type of product you are seeking to produce. If, for instance, a customer is ordering a part for the medical industry, the CNC machine shop should have the appropriate certifications and stringent quality control processes needed for the healthcare industry.
- Quality control
In a similar vein, it is important to establish what quality control equipment and processes a CNC machining service offers, including raw material inspection, in-process quality checks, finished part inspection and outgoing quality control. A CNC machining company that provides a comprehensive and state-of-the-art quality control workflow will ensure that your prototypes and products are up to the highest standard.
As mentioned above, one of the previous challenges of western companies working with China-based rapid prototyping and manufacturing companies has been communication. And though the internet has made it significantly easier for international customers to keep in close contact with Chinese manufacturers, it is still important to establish a good rapport with a company before diving into a manufacturing partnership.
At RapidDirect, for instance, we make sure to speak with our prospective clients to guarantee there is a clear understanding of the project at hand. Additionally, not only will we work transparently with our clients to complete production, but our experts will also help to optimize and improve products and manufacturing where possible.
- Production capabilities
This next point may seem obvious but is still worth highlighting. If you are searching for a Chinese rapid prototyping company to work with, be sure to check that it has the right hardware and production capabilities to fulfil your order, including CNC milling and turning machines, multi-axis machining systems and more. In addition to production hardware, ensure that the company is familiar with and works with the type of material you require, whether it is a metal, plastic or other.
- Order a prototype
Lastly, to ensure that a prospective CNC machining company in China can meet the quality requirements for a specific part or product, it is advisable to first order a prototype of the part. At no big expense to the client, a prototype will enable them to check that a particular CNC machining company is able to produce the part up to certain standards and in good time. At RapidDirect, we guarantee that prototypes are machined and delivered within just three days, so that clients can quickly decide to move ahead with an order.