We receive dozens of emails and faxes for request for quotes (RFQ) each day. Diligent time is taken on each quote, whether it is a new customer or a long-time customer. The quote is looked over by our engineering team to understand all the information given. Most of the time, more questions are given back to the customer due to missing information that increase the overall time to determine the best way to manufacture the parts.
There are basic questions that need to be answered before APS can proceed on an RFQ. We will be asking you about material type, material thickness, temper (hardness), dimensional tolerances, finish (post processes, plate, etc), and quantity (order quantity and estimated annual usage EAU). Additionally, there are other questions that sometimes can’t be answered but are added information that improves the quality of the quote, like expected life of project, or type of handling and packaging. Through these questions, APS will gain more knowledge as to what process will be used to manufacture the parts.
The material type is usually answered through determining of what application the part will be used for. For most electrical contacts, the go-to material is beryllium copper, or “BeCu,” used for its great electrical conductivity. For spring clips, some form of carbon steel like c1074 to c1095 is used because of the inexpensive cost with good spring force. Or possibly a type of stainless steel is used, which falls in the middle of the two. It has less electrical conductivity compared to BeCu and less spring force per thickness compared to a heat-treated carbon steel.
The material thickness is necessary to determine the availability of the material at the mill or if the material is in stock. Gauge numbers are used and are specific by material type. Different thicknesses are used for different material types. The thickness also determines how much the material will be able to deflect and recoil without taking a set.
The temper designations are defined in the specification ASTM B 601 for the heat tempering of BECU for the coded differences, some carbon steel code are ASTM A105 & ASTM A 350 for temper specific codes.
Dimensional tolerances are used to help aid in the quote because as the amount of tolerances reduce, so does the speed in which APS is able to manufacture the parts. This is partly due to the amount the material recoils when formed. Reducing the machine parts/minutes increase the amount of time the form tool holds the material in position, which then reduces the recoil and work hardness of the material.
Any post process or finish that is required on a part is added to the overall cost. From anodizing to zinc, APS can and has produced most processes over the 50 plus years of manufacturing. Whether quoting straight off the drawing or aiding in the development of the best finish for your application, we will help you out.
Finally, from 1 part to multi-millions, APS has the tools to manufacture any quantity. With many different processes to choose from, the most cost-effective process is determined depending on the number quoted.