When you manufacture products for your business, are any of the subcomponents die cast? If so, do you hire North American die casting companies to engineer and cast your subcomponents? Or do you outsource the work overseas where you might find a lower up-front cost?
Die casting is used to produce a wide variety of parts and sub-components for a range of applications. Most die cast parts are made from non-ferrous metals because this is what can be molded in the ferrous dies. Applications include machine parts, heat sinks, chassis castings, automobile parts, brackets, and much, much more. The most commonly die cast metal is aluminum.
Because of the versatility of the die casting industry, a person will need a lot of experience to become proficient at its many facets. In North America, where the combined experiences of many companies and educational institutions have been amalgamated and carefully documented into published written standards by the North American Die Casting Association (NADCA), the combined experiences of many consistently yield quality die casting products.
Like most industries in North America, die casting in the 21st century has seen a strong push overseas where labor is cheaper and production can be accomplished for what appears to be far less money. However, as one would expect, lower up-front costs come with many trade-offs. As they say in economics, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
Here are ten reasons why you should keep your die casting in North America.
North American industries have developed some of the highest quality industry standards in the world. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) — these are just two of the many American names that carry a lot of weight anywhere in the world.
Anyone who has been involved with manufacturing knows which standards carry the most weight. When an engineer specifies a product to be manufactured per a particular standard, the specification’s name alone is recognized as a badge of quality.
When a die cast product is specified per the North American Die Casting Association (NADCA), it’s understood that the final product will meet the highest standards of quality. If it doesn’t, then the product was not truly manufactured per NADCA.
When you order a die casting product from overseas because it appears to be cheaper than ordering it from a North American company, it is important to note that most of the time, the manufacturer will not be meeting the same quality standards that are met in North America.
North American companies intrinsically follow NADCA standards (along with other major manufacturing and engineering standards) because such quality standards are the status quo – not to comply with them would be detrimental to doing business in the North American marketplace.
Companies from other countries do not always feel the same pressure to conform to well-accepted quality standards. Because of this, they are free to cut corners to save on cost. This may look good up front, but it will directly impact the quality of the final product.
Be aware that some companies may claim to be ISO certified even though they may not be. Always be sure to research any company making this claim, to be sure they’re being honest. Not every country will have the same legal consequences for such a falsehood as the USA and Canada.
Short Lead Times
When you order a die casting product from a North American company, you can count on a fast turn-around and delivery time. Successful North American companies operate efficiently and have the experience necessary to process and execute new orders very quickly.
Companies from abroad, especially those advertising cheaper than usual prices, may not have the experience required to meet a demanding schedule. They might promise you short lead time when responding to your request for quotation, but once they’re paid, the delivery time might end up being much longer than was initially promised.
Don’t get stuck waiting on parts that you need to bolt to your final product because the company you chose to cast them can’t stick to its schedule.
North American die casters are reliable. Business integrity is not something you will have to go searching for in a field of unethical organizations. The social contract is developed and strong – North American companies are right there with you, every step of the way. They are receptive to your business needs, and they will work with you to accomplish them. Cultural connection facilitates smooth business dealings and mutual respect that can serve as a healthy foundation for a good business relationship.
You can trust that North American die casting companies will be on your side. If you need to make a change once production has begun, they will be much more likely to work with you to accommodate your needs than a foreign company trying to undercut the market
Well-Developed Safety Standards
The United States’ Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) lays out the foundation for the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). OSHA sets some of the most rigorous safety standards anywhere in the world. OSHA regulations not only ensure that the workers who manufacture your parts do so in a safe work environment, but they also ensure the materials used in your parts are non-toxic.
Often, production companies may be tempted to take risks at the expense of workers’ safety to save significant costs in the production process. While production companies outside of North America may take these risks, they are considered unacceptable in the United States and Canada. North American industries of all types have developed a safety culture that is firmly at the top of the priority list.
The number one priority for North American companies is that no injuries occur. This means that North American companies must spend extra money on adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and they must not take shortcuts that put workers in danger of injury or illness.
When you order die cast parts from a foreign company with a lower up-front cost, it is important to realize that part of the reduced cost likely comes from lower safety standards. This means that workers are put in more danger so the job can be done more cheaply.
Freight Costs Are Low
Shipping domestically is reliable and cheap. When you order die cast parts in the United States or Canada, they can simply be put on a truck and delivered straight to your door. You don’t have to worry about customs, duties, tariffs or fees.
When you order from a foreign country, however, shipping can quickly become a logistical nightmare. Your parts must pass through inter-modal transportation, being transferred from truck, to warehouse, to rail, to ship, to rail, to truck and finally to another warehouse. Your parts must pass through customs and run the risk of being held by government officials for long periods of time.
When you ship domestically, the parts can simply go from the manufacturer’s warehouse to yours. There are far fewer opportunities for things to go awry, as they tend to do from time to time when a complicated process is shared between non-connected organizations and brokered through the many stages of inter-modal transportation.
Humane Work Environment
Working conditions in North America are known to be both well maintained and heavily scrutinized. It was not always this way, of course, but history has given regulators and industrial leaders countless opportunities to improve.
Unions and labor laws protect workers’ rights and ensure that employees can earn a living wage in a healthy environment. Many foreign countries offer minimal protection for workers’ rights. As a result, labor is often exploited at low cost to undercut the competition.
A major component of that up-front cost reduction you see offered by many offshore companies comes from the exploitation of workers who must work 12+ hours a day for very little money.
Labor laws in the United States and Canada, which vary from state to state, guarantee rights for workers. Unions also help guarantee a livable wage for workers in much of the United States and Canada.
The type of worker exploitation used by many offshore companies to undercut the market is not seen in North America.
Highly Skilled Workforce
North American die casters are truly exceptional at what they do – these hardworking professionals take pride in their ability to extrude metal castings that are second to none.
At any given facility, the combined total of accrued experience, when viewed as an integration of knowledge and ability, is an invaluable asset to any production line. Nowhere else in the world will you find employees so enthusiastically working as a team to execute such challenging projects, under such rigorous standards.
North American companies have a large pool of skilled workers to choose from. This affords American manufacturers the ability to be selective in who they pick to fill a vacant position. It also means that North American companies know they must pay a little more to retain the best talent.
Ease of Communication
One of the greatest challenges of working with offshore companies is the communication barrier. If the company you select to manufacture your die casting products primarily speaks a foreign language, many important communications may be lost in translation.
Drawings may be misinterpreted. Units may be incorrectly understood. Emails may not be read correctly, potentially leading to every conceivable type of confusion.
Another major communications issue often encountered with offshore companies is the difference in time-zones. It is difficult for two companies to work together when one company’s lunch corresponds to the other company’s midnight.
Quality Control Programs
North American die casting companies must have extensive quality control programs in place if they are to be considered in the local marketplace. Most North American companies will submit a copy of their quality assurance manual with any significant quote or proposal.
A decent amount of money is spent by North American companies to ensure procedures are being followed and standards are being adhered to by all workers in all steps of the manufacturing process. This money, which is reflected in the final cost of the product, helps guarantee that the final quality of the product is just as good as what was intended by design.
Many foreign companies lack effective quality control programs. Offshore manufacturing companies have a reputation for promising one thing and delivering another, for the simple reason that the real-world quality of the product is not effectively controlled throughout the manufacturing process.
Made in America
If you order die cast parts from an American die casting company, you can proudly display “Made in America” on your final assembly.
America is a country built on industry – its economy was made strong with the hands of American workers, not folders full of shipping invoices annotating the import of trans-oceanic freight. Industrial autonomy is at the heart of any strong economy.
If you have any questions regarding die casting, please feel free to contact Premier Engineered Products. We are an American die casting company with a wealth of experience and skill. If you would like to receive more information about our capabilities or get a quote, please reach out to us.
Also – check out this helpful Total Cost of Ownership Estimator® provided by the Reshoring Initiative which helps companies fully evaluate offshoring costs.