Custom Manufactured Parts vs. Mass Produced, Which One Is Better?

custom tool fabrication

Manufactured parts come from raw materials that a factory turns into a consumer good or industry component. That may seem pretty straightforward but, depending on the product, it can involve many complex steps and procedures. With the global supply chain crisis, many people have begun paying attention to these processes.

There are many different types of metal fabrication methods. Which is best depends on your industry and the intended uses of the components. One of the biggest decisions is between custom manufactured parts vs mass-produced ones.

There are advantages to both custom and mass-produced components. The information below goes over these, as well as some drawbacks to each. It will help you determine which type is best for your industry and particular business goals.

Metal Fabrication Basics

Making tools and instruments out of metal is nothing new. Neolithic communities around 7,000 BCE began making crude knives, sickles, and other tools out of copper. Mining is at least 6,000 years old, but the Bronze Age (starting in 2,800 BCE) saw the first casting of metal from natural alloys.

Today, there are many different operations involved in metal fabrication. These are much more complex than those early developments. They include:

• Cutting
• Folding
• Welding
• Punching
• Shearing
• Stamping
• Casting
• Machining (i.e., the removal of portions from a piece of metal)

Each requires different types of expertise and precision. Which method is used to produce the parts you need may determine if custom or mass-produced manufacturing is preferable.

Custom vs. Mass-Produced Components

The two biggest advantages of mass-produced parts—speed and cost—are related. Since machines are doing most of the work, you can expect to receive identical parts very quickly. This also allows manufacturers to keep costs down.

You likely will encounter requirements for minimum production numbers with mass-produced parts. That is because the manufacturer will want to make it worth their while to start design and production. The quality of mass-produced components depends on two aspects. Automation can reduce the prospect of human error. For large-scale production, this is a huge plus. However, given that there is little human interaction with the processes, other than setting them in motion, there is little human oversight. This means that defects are more likely to slip through the cracks and quality can suffer. Also, adjustments for designs can be more costly with automation. That’s because operations have to stop and completely reset.

One of the biggest advantages of custom manufactured parts is lower or no minimum production numbers. Although, you may have to pay more for lower volumes. Other benefits of custom parts include the ability to make changes in the middle of production. You can expect better oversight of manufacturing procedures as well.

The most significant downside to customer parts is cost. Across the board, you can expect to pay more per part than with mass production.

Find Mass-Produced or Custom Manufactured Parts Near You

Now that you have an idea of the advantages of custom manufactured parts vs mass-produced ones, you can determine which is best for your industry. Remember to consider all the factors above before making a decision.

Aaron Machine Shop Ltd uses state-of-the-art equipment and certified journeymen to deliver the highest-quality services to the Calgary area. We specialize in general machining, fabrication, welding, hydraulics, water jet cutting, and CNC machining. Reach out to us today for pricing or to learn more about our services.

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