How to Choose Material for Your Custom Manufactured Part

small round metal part manufactured

Advances in science have made a huge impact on product design and production. One important area of consideration for any product is the material or materials you choose to construct it with.

With a vast amount of materials available, how do you know which one is right for your product?

Several variables come into play, including:

  • machinability
  • price
  • availability
  • strength
  • delivery time

If your final product requires a combination of processes and assembly, things can get even trickier.

While we can’t make your decision for you, here’s a simple process to help you systematically choose the correct material for your application needs.

material selection process for manufacturing

Design Requirements

Before investigating your material options, you must first look to the design. The following key considerations will develop the criteria for your material:

  • Government regulations
  • Performance
  • Size, shape and weight
  • Cost
  • Manufacturing and assembly (machinability, etc.)
  • Intellectual property
  • Industry standards
  • Reliability

While all the above considerations may not apply to your project, collect data on as many of them as possible. More requirements will help narrow down the final material selection.

Create Material Criteria

All the requirements identified in the previous step will create criteria for your desired material. For example, it will need to support a certain amount of weight, which in turn becomes the load bearing criteria. Any material that cannot support this is immediately eliminated from your possible choices.

Come Up With a Potential Materials List

The first thing you can do with your criteria is rule out any material that doesn’t meet every requirement. You are then left with the materials that can do the job. Create a list, but don’t proceed any further.

Evaluate Potential Materials

You need to right material for the job, but exceeding requirements isn’t necessary. In lean manufacturing, using higher grade materials than necessary is considered overprocessing, one of the eight major wastes.

Some data may not be available, and you may have to go through testing to ensure that it will work for your application. It may even be necessary to create a prototype out of more than one material to be sure.

Make Final Selection

Once you’ve found materials that meet your requirements, choose the one that does the job at the lowest cost. This is not just cost of materials, but also cost of production. Some materials that are designed to be machinable will be harder to form or weld. All this needs to be considered, especially if you are assembling a part that uses multiple manufacturing processes.

Have a Project in Mind?

If you are currently working on a project, or have questions about the right material for your part, upload your file on our quote page. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.