Cut insulation that’s fabricated by hand may seem cost-effective, but are you accounting for material waste? What’s the cost of rework, and how much time are higher-paid employees spending on labor-intensive tasks that don’t require their skill levels? If you didn’t know that Elasto Proxy is a custom fabricator, then learning more about us could save you time and money. Watch this video and keep reading this article or request a quote for cut insulation.

Some manufacturers think they’re saving time and money by cutting thermal and acoustic insulation by hand. Whether they use an Exacto knife or a box cutter, they make a cardboard template in the shape of the part to get cut insulation with the proper dimensions. There’s are plenty of problems with this approach, however, and they can actually increase your costs. Cutting insulation by hand also introduces risks that manufacturers from Tier 1 OEMs to lower-tiered suppliers need to avoid.  

Out-of-Tolerance Parts and Material Waste

Over time, the edge of a cardboard template gets whittled away by contact with knives or blades. That can result in out-of-tolerance parts that you’ll need to scrap because the cut insulation is too small. Defects like this are a form of manufacturing waste that increases costs overall. Plus, at a time when supply chains are constricted and materials such as thermal and acoustic foams may be hard to find, it’s critical to maximize material yields. Without the quality parts that you need, assembly could stall.

Cut Insulation Costs: Labor Shortages and Hand Injuries

COVID-related disruption aren’t limited to material availability, however. Good employees are also hard to find, and some manufacturers faced severe labor shortages even before the pandemic began. Given these realities, do you really want your workers to risk a hand injury by using an Exacto knife or box cutter? Work-related injuries also add costs to your operations overall. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hand injury claim has cost more than $6,000 (USD) in recent years.

Disadvantages of Die Cutting

Die cutting, a machine-based process that uses a metal tool called a die to cut insulation, is one alternative to hand cutting. Yet, there are several disadvantages with it. For starters, die cutting is only cost-effective for high volumes of parts such as those used in the automotive industry. Because there’s tooling to pay for and wait for, die cutting is not cost-effective for low-volume production or prototyping. Plus, die cutting can produce parts with rounded corners, a problem if you need square or rectangular insulation.

Advantages of Water Jet Cutting

Water jet cutting, another machine-based process, offers advantages over both hand cutting and die cutting. For starters, there’s no tooling to wait for or pay for. Instead, a high-pressure jet of water provides the cutting action. Water jet cutting also supports the nesting of parts on a sheet to maximize material yields and can cut multiple sheets at the same time. For low-to-medium volume production or prototyping, this tool-less process combines fine, fast cuts with cost-saving advantages. Water jet cutting can also create notches, angles, chamfers or other features that are difficult to produce by hand.      

Cut Insulation That Adds Value

Elasto Proxy isn’t a commodity company. Rather, the cut rubber products that we supply are customized for your application and designed to add value to your operations. If you’re a manufacturer that’s still cutting acoustic and thermal insulation by hand, isn’t it time to think about what these products are really costing you? After all, that template you’ve been using with an Exacto knife or box cutter may be the most expensive of cardboard in your building.

Contact Elasto Proxy to request a quote for cut insulation.

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