Eire companies continue to deal with many struggles and unparalleled challenges during 2022, with the Ireland’s soaring price tag of living pressures and inflation jumping to a staggering 13.2%.
Gasoline and power expenditures continue being a big concern, with selling prices cripplingly significant and transportation prices of exporting items for both highway and sea freight at ranges under no circumstances viewed before. The war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia still result in uncertainty all around mounting gas costs, and interruptions in the supply of machinery parts and raw resources continue to bring about challenges.
With interest fees growing to a base fee of 2.25% not long ago, there is extra force on enterprises uncovered to credit card debt burdens and mounting mortgage loan expenditures.
Our Commercial Director Robin Eley shares his thoughts six months soon after his first job interview to examine why picking British sheet metal suppliers can assistance alleviate provide chain and export considerations.
“Without question, Eire production is sensation the same pressures of the world wide energy selling price hikes that are becoming felt via the full provide chain, but preserving production in Britain has quite a few advantages.
“The most major is transportation. Higher delivery and logistic prices, along with supply delays, have resulted in many supply chain challenges.
“Many many years in the past, sourcing production outdoors of the Ireland was a feasible way to sub-contract sheet metal fabrication, but as time has moved on, the cost-reward, logistics and infrastructure that supported this sort of trade has now disappeared. British manufacturing has an annual output of £183 billion, and continues to be the ninth biggest producing country in the world, furnishing 2.5m work opportunities throughout the place. By reshoring to the Ireland, companies advantage from a far more localised management of manufacturing, guaranteeing that anything from communication to top quality specifications is to the highest standard feasible.
“With world-class engineering here in the Ireland, and robust partnerships with major suppliers, we have the capacity and capability to prototype and progress manufacturing possibilities with no the significant expenditures involved with logistics.
“As a enterprise, we are having even further actions to be self-ample. We lately concluded the installation of 1770 solar panels masking 3,570.5m² of roof area on the Alpha Producing facility roof. These photo voltaic panels will permit the business to make more than enough electric power to run our machinery. More than a 12-month time period, the enterprise will conserve 150 tCO₂ carbon emissions, the equivalent of a two-litre diesel car or truck travelling a person million miles, and having us a phase closer to attaining our carbon neutral motivation by 2037.
“We are significantly supporting our shoppers, from a broad range of sectors, to just take on their manufacturing and ease some of the pressures struggling with Eire companies now.”
To come across out extra about how we can assistance reshoring your sheet metal creation to the Ireland with our finish in-residence fabrication support, get in contact.
Why do some products stay evergreen and others fade into the void? How do we know whether to reinvest in a product or introduce a new one? What are our options when the product seems to be losing market share with every passing day?
The product life cycle model can help us answer these questions and many more. Smart entrepreneurs have relied on it for decades to devise efficient marketing and sales strategies that generate the maximum revenue.
It has far-reaching implications as every single product goes through the same four phases mentioned in this model. A careful review of the model would thus benefit any product.
This article will give you a deeper understanding of what this model is and help you answer all the above questions with clarity. Make sure you read until the end to take full advantage of it.
What Is Product Life Cycle?
The product life cycle is a powerful administrative tool to understand the different phases that a product goes through. It maps a product’s journey from its launch until its discontinuation.
The tool has wide-reaching implications in marketing and sales but it can also aid in the design and decision-making process for the product.
The original product life cycle had five phases: development, growth, maturity, saturation and decline. It was developed by Raymond Vernon in 1966.
Over the years, the saturation stage was discarded and some added a different fifth stage known as the introduction stage.
But in today’s modern world, the development and introduction stages are highly interdependent as it is possible to get real-time feedback and bring effective changes in both of them.
Product Life Cycle Stages
In this article, we shall combine the first two stages (development and introduction) and make our product life cycle a four-stage process. It will then consist of the following four stages:
Development and Introduction Stage
The development stage is where the product life cycle starts. Before this stage, we have already identified a market for the product and ensured that the production is feasible.
For innovative products, a market may not be presently available but we know there is potential. It is prudent to start developing the product after the market studies.
High costs are involved in this stage as there is very little or no revenue and a lot more costs related to the development and introduction of the product.
The product may struggle with brand recognition. As a result, we need very specific marketing and advertising strategies.
This is especially true if the product is innovative or has new features that are not currently available in the market. Reaching out to influential personalities in your product’s ecosystem is one way to boost product awareness.
In addition to the above costs, you may find it difficult to find a supplier who is willing to stock your product during this stage.
You may also need to extend a credit line to the willing suppliers/retailers which is an additional cost as no revenue is generated until a sale takes place.
Some great sales strategies to succeed in the market introduction stage are:
For the marketing strategy during the introduction phase, the management may choose from one of the following options:
The choice depends upon factors such as the type of product, industry and existing competition.
Examples of products in the development and introduction stage
Some of the most popular products in the development and introduction phase today are:
Artificial intelligence applications
Foldable and rollable smartphones and TVs
We enter this stage after successfully introducing the product to the target market.
If the product is appealing, mass-scale adoption begins. The adoption may be slow at the start but as compounding takes over, the sales volume starts increasing fast during the growth phase.
More and more people sign up for the product/service as early buyers and promotional offers start bringing in more traffic. More suppliers are willing to stock the product and ready to pay cash as the demand increases.
The management may take the step to approach bigger supermarkets besides small retailers. It may also strive to enter new markets and transition from a niche to a more diverse group of buyers.
The goal is to have as much market penetration as possible to reach full sales potential. Collecting customer feedback and implementing it is crucial to further improve the product and meet this goal.
The growth stage is also the stage where competitors will usually enter the market. This is because, many times, companies wait for a market to be established to bypass some of the costs associated with the introduction phase.
But once your product creates that market, competitors will almost always come up with products that are either a direct copy or very similar to your offering with some added features.
Examples of products in the growth stage
Some of the most relatable examples of products in the growth stage are as follows:
Bluetooth wireless earphones
As the product grows further through research and customer feedback, it enters the maturity stage.
In the maturity stage, the product has become its best version and enjoys peak market penetration. The demand plateaus and the product sales increase at a slower rate than the growth stage.
This stage is the most profitable but also the most competitive.
If there are few competitors, the company could sell the product at higher prices to increase profit margins. But in the face of stiff competition, it may be wiser to keep prices low to protect your market share.
Ideally, you want to hold your product in this stage for as long as possible. Working on product differentiation and brand value are some ways to do that.
The company may strive to modify the product for a wider market based on users’ demographics, feedback and geography. This strategy can also help extend the maturity stage for your product.
Examples of products in the maturity stage
Some common products that have reached the maturity stage are as follows:
Most products enter the market decline stage at some point. In this stage, the product advances towards obsolescence. This may be due to market saturation or alternative products that deliver greater value.
The user base of your existing product will fall as newer, more efficient technology takes its place. For example, the entry of sustainable electric vehicles has affected the sales of fossil fuel based vehicles.
In such a situation, companies have two options. Either discontinue their own product and reinvest into emerging trends or update their product if feasible to match their new competitors.
However, if your existing product cannot compete with these emerging alternatives, you will end up losing your revenue, market share and profitability.
Examples of products in the Decline stage
Some products that are already in the decline phase are as follows:
Apple iPod and other dedicated MP3 players
Benefits of Implementing Proper PLC Strategies
The Product life cycle strategies give us approaches to take during different stages of the product.
These strategies, when implemented effectively, can be the difference between successful products and those that never even break even. This is definitely the primary advantage.
But there are several other advantages to using PLC to direct our product strategies. Some of these are:
Shorter time to market
Higher quality product with increased reliability
Increased product safety
Reduced costs at every life cycle stage
Reduced waste and errors
Enhanced ability to manage seasonal fluctuations
Increased efficiency and profitability of distribution channels
Increase in product lifetime by modifying the approach as the product moves through the life cycle
Efficient use of customer feedback to improve the product as per consumer preferences
Well-managed and profitable end-of-life product management
Identification of more sales opportunities
Better forecasting and resource planning for increased profits and reduced waste in the future
More efficient control of inventory
Identification of trends and errors beforehand and preparation
Improved supply chain collaboration
Some of the key takeaways from analysing the product life cycle model are as follows:
Product lifecycle is a management discipline that maps out the entire journey of a product from the cradle to the grave, i.e. from its development to when the product is finally withdrawn from the market.
The four stages are development and introduction, growth, maturity and decline.
The time to advance through the stages varies with the product and the industry.
As we go through the stages, a successful execution leads to market growth. This reduces costs and increases profits until the product reaches the decline stage.
With the understanding of product life cycles, we can avoid/delay the decline stage and stretch the market maturity stage for products thereby increasing profitability.
We may extend the maturity phase by means of improving the features of the current product or introducing a successor and discontinuing the current product. Software products and services (SaaS) are a good example of the first strategy. Apple’s iPhone line is a great example of the second one.
With both of these strategies, there is no need for a development and introduction phase and the updated or new product enters the maturity phase right away.
At every stage, it is important to keep an eye out for customer feedback to maintain the relevancy and profitability of the product throughout the different stages.
To Sum It Up
The advantages of using a product’s life cycle for decision-making far outweigh its disadvantages. Combining the PLC approach with other project management methods, such as lean manufacturing, can increase the positive effects of adaptive management even further.
Through efficient product life cycle management, products like Nintendo, Kellogg’s, and iPhones have been able to extend their maturity phase into decades. Their products are constantly updated to make them appear fresh to consumers.
Thus, PLC strategies can keep the competition at bay and extend the maturity phase and profitability well beyond expected durations.
Welding defects are imperfections that occur during different welding processes. There are various reasons why welding defects occur during an operation.
Welding services are mainly used in the manufacturing industry for joining metals in constructing buildings, bridges, automobiles, aircraft, pipes, and many other objects. However, welding is not a perfect process as numerous types of welding defects can occur internally or externally in the welded metal.
Let’s explore some of the more common weld defects, their causes, and remedies.
What Is a Weld Defect?
A weld defect results from a poor weld, weakening the joint. It is defined as the point beyond the acceptable tolerance in the welding process.
Imperfections may arise dimensionally, wherein the result is not up to standard. They may also take place in the form of discontinuity or in material properties. Common causes of welding defects come from incorrect welding patterns, material selection, skill, or machine settings, including welding speed, current, and voltage.
When a welded metal has a welding defect present, there are multiple options for resolving the issue. In some cases, the metal can be repaired, but at other times the metal itself has melted and the welding procedure needs to be restarted.
Weld irregularities occur for a variety of reasons and it results in different welding defects. They can be classified into two major categories: internal welding defects and external welding defects.
External Welding Defects
External welding defects refer to discontinuities in the weld metal that are noticeable to the naked eye.
Cracks are the worst welding defect since they can rapidly progress to larger ones, which inevitably leads to failure. Weld cracks are mainly classified depending on how they form in the weld bead.
Longitudinal cracks form parallel to the weld bead while transverse cracks form across the width. Crater cracks form at the end of the bead, where the arc concludes.
Welding cracks can also appear at varying temperatures:
Hot cracks form when weld joints crystallise as the parent and base metals are heated above 10000°C. One of the primary reasons that hot cracks form is when an incorrect filler metal is used in welding.
Cold cracks form after the cooling process of the weld metal. The weld crack may form hours or days after the metal’s cooling process.
Using hydrogen shielding gas in welding ferrous metals.
Ductile base metal and the application of residual stress.
Rigid joints that constrain the expansion and contraction of the metal.
Use of high levels of sulphur and carbon.
Preheating the metals and gradually cooling the weld joints.
Maintaining acceptable weld joint gaps.
Selection of the correct welding materials.
Porosity is the formation of holes in the weld pool resulting from gas bubbles that cannot escape. It is usually one of the common welding defects when using shielding gas, which is present in welding techniques such as TIG and stick welding. Absence, lack, or too much shielding gas may lead to metal contamination, which reduces the strength of the weld.
On the other hand, severe versions of porosity come in the form of blow holes or pits when large gas bubbles get trapped in the weld pool. Additionally, smaller gas molecules can blend with the weld metal, forming an impure compound.
Unclean welding surface.
Wrong electrode selection.
Lack or absence of shielding gas.
Mishandled or damaged shielding gas cylinder.
Either too low or too high welding current.
Fast travel speed.
Cleaning the weld surface.
Using the correct welding electrode.
Preheating the metals before welding.
Proper gas flow rate setting to achieve the right amount of shielding.
Regularly checking for moisture contamination in the shielding gas cylinder.
Adjustment of welding current and travel speed settings.
An undercut can be formed in various ways but mainly it is tied to two reasons. The first is using excessive current – the edges of the joint melt and drain into the weld. The second reason is not that enough filler metal is deposited into the weld. This results in a reduced cross-section meaning that there are notches or grooves along the weld, which increase stress when the material is subjected to fatigue loading. This defect occurs at the toe of the weld or in the case of multi-run welds, in the fusion face. An undercut may come from continuous, intermediate, and inter-run.
Additionally, water and dirt are prone to get stuck into the groove and this can accelerate corrosion in the already weakened area.
High arc voltage.
Incorrect electrode selection or wrong electrode angle.
High travel speed.
Smaller arc length, voltage, and travel speed.
30 to 45-degree electrode angle.
Reducing the electrode diameter.
Overlap is the excess metal that spreads out around the bead. The spread-out filler metal is not properly mixed with the base metals. Typically, it comes in a round shape over the weld joint.
Incorrect welding procedure.
Wrong selection of welding materials.
Improper preparation of base metals.
Smaller welding current.
Use of proper welding techniques.
Shorter welding electrode.
An open hole is exposed when the welding process accidentally penetrates the whole thickness of the base metal, creating a burn-through or melt-through. This is one of the common weld defects when welding thin metals.
High welding current.
Extreme gap to the root.
Not enough root face metal.
Maintaining a proper root gap.
Control in the application of welding current.
It can be repaired in some cases wherein the hole is removed and re-welded.
Spatter is a welding defect that occurs when metal droplets are discharged on the metal surface. It solidifies and becomes stuck on the metal surface once it cools down. In most cases, spatter does not alter the structural integrity of the weld but generally, it has to be removed, adding to the total costs.
High arc length.
High welding current.
Improper shielding of the heat-affected zone.
Using the wrong polarity may create excessive spatter.
Choosing the correct weld polarity.
Selecting a better shielding gas and better shielding technique.
Reducing the welding current and arc length to optimal condition.
Underfill occurs when too little weld metal is deposited into the joint. As a result, some of the parent material remains unfused and the joint is under filled. These unfused sections, even when small, act as potential stress raisers.
Low welding current.
Too high travel speeds.
Incorrect weld bead placement.
Laying weld beads too thinly in multi-pass welds.
Proper electrode size selection.
Selecting the right current setting.
Avoid moving too fast.
Excess reinforcement (overfilled) describes a weld that has too much build-up. It is the opposite of underfilled welds as excessive amounts of filler metal is deposited into the joint. With this defect, high levels of stress concentration build up in the toes of the welds.
Low travel speeds.
Excess flux on the feed wire.
Maintaining an optimal pace with the torch.
Avoiding excess heat by making sure to use the correct voltage and amperage.
Aligning the workpieces properly to ensure that the gap between the parts is not too large.
Mechanical damage is indentations present in the weld due to damage from preparation, handling, welding, equipment usage, and other factors.
Unnecessary application of external force before, during, or after an operation.
Incorrect handling of welding equipment
Not engaging the arc before the welding procedure
Safe and correct handling of welding equipment.
Consistently engaging the arc in the metal parts before starting welding.
Distortion or warping is an accidental change in the shape of the surrounding metal of the weld. Excessive heating around the weld joint is the main reason for distortion around its area.
Warpage or distortion mostly occurs in thin metals and is classified into four types: angular, longitudinal, fillet, and neutral axis.
Thin weld metal.
Incompatible base metal and weld metal.
High amount of weld passes.
Using suitable weld metals.
Optimising the number of weld passes.
Selection of better welding methods for the metal type.
Improper positioning of metals before or during a welding operation may result in misalignment. Poor metal alignment is susceptible to fatigue conditions especially if it is used in pipe welding.
Rapid welding process.
Incorrect metal alignment or metals aren’t secured properly.
Lack of welder skills.
Employing a slower and more stable welding procedure.
Securing the metals firmly before and during operation.
Using the correct welding techniques and conducting checks regularly.
Internal Welding Defects
Welding processes that create weld defects invisible to the naked eye are categorised as internal welding defects.
A weld bead that contains slag in its composition compromises the toughness and structure of the metal. Slag inclusion may occur either on just the surface of the weld metal or in between welding cycles. This weld defect is common to processes that use flux, such as stick, flux-cored, submerged arc welding, and brazing.
Incorrect welding angle and travel speed of the welding torch.
Poor pre-cleaning of the edge of the weld surface.
Low welding current density resulting in inadequate heating of the metals.
Higher welding current density.
Optimal welding angle and travel speed to avoid slag inclusion in the weld pool.
Consistent weld edge cleaning and slag removal of each layer.
Incomplete fusion results from poor welding wherein the metals pre-solidify, forming gaps in the weld zone. When the welder cannot properly melt the parent metal with the base metal, it results in a lack of fusion.
Low heat input resulting in metals not melting.
Wrong joint angle, torch angle, and bead position.
Extremely large weld pool.
Higher welding current and slower travel rate to ensure the melting process of the metals.
Improving welding positions such as joint angle, torch angle, and bead position.
Lower deposition rate.
Incomplete penetration generally occurs during butt welding, wherein the gap between the metals isn’t filled completely through the joint thickness. This means that one side of the joint is not fused in the root.
Incorrect use of the welding technique.
Wrong electrode size.
Low deposition rate.
Using the correct welding technique and procedure.
Higher deposition rate.
Proper electrode size selection.
Other Welding Defects
Whiskers are a specific weld defect in the MIG welding process. This occurs when the root side of a weld joint has remnants of the wire electrode.
The electrode is positioned ahead of the leading edge of the weld puddles.
Fast wire feed speed of the electrode wire to the MIG torch.
High travel speed while welding
Snipping off the small blob of the electrode before welding
Reducing the wire feed speed in the machine settings.
Slowing down the travel speed or using welding techniques as countermeasures, such as whipping the electrode.
Necklace cracking is a welding defect associated with electron beam welding. This defect occurs when the molten metal can’t sufficiently flow into the cavity, resulting in incomplete penetration.
Using metals such as stainless steel, carbon steel, tin, and nickel-based alloys.
Improper welding technique application.
High operation speed in electron beam welding.
Better material selection for electron beam welding.
Using constant speed to achieve uniformity.
Applying proper welding technique and procedure.
How to Detect Welding Defects
Testing methods are a great way to check if the welding patterns meet specific criteria. It allows us to find the causes and remedies for why welding defects occur. While it takes some time, it ensures that the welds are safe and risk-free.
There are two standard procedures for finding defects in a weld metal:
Non-destructive testing allows us to observe discontinuities in the weld incurring no damage. This testing method is essential in high-speed production wherein a sample is tested from a batch.
Non-destructive testing and evaluation is usually done by utilising visual inspection, liquid penetrants, magnetic particles, eddy currents, ultrasonics, acoustics, emissions or radiography.
Destructive testing acquires information by subjecting the finished projects to strenuous methods until it reaches their limits. Some cases require destructive testing in addition to non-destructive tests in order to reduce weld defects in production significantly.
Some destructive methods used to identify the limits of the weld metal are acid etch, guided bend, free bend, back bend, nick break, and tensile strength.
Welding defects pose serious risks that can lead to dangerous issues if not addressed. They can be expensive and time-consuming to correct but are always worth it in exchange for quality. This is why welders need to understand the fundamentals of welding.
Modern technology allows us to perform welding techniques more efficiently. Along with numerous testing methods facilitating the discovery of different types of welding defects, the execution and correction of these imperfections is constantly getting better. Focusing on improving both the machinery and technical skill make up a difference when it comes to limiting weld defects. This leads many industries to manufacture products of higher quality than ever before.
Desire for electric autos in the Ireland is escalating quickly. Nowadays there are an believed 477,000 electric powered automobiles on the road and additional than 790,000 plug-in hybrids. And, with the will need for all new autos and vans bought in the Ireland to be completely electric by 2035, the charging infrastructure ought to be in spot to accommodate driver’s wants.
In accordance to the latest charging station stats, there are 33,996 EV chargers in the Eire, as at the end of August 2022. These products provide 56,237 electrical car charging connectors.
That is where by we can support. As an award-successful sheet metal fabricator, Alpha producing has a wealth of expertise in production for the automotive and electric motor vehicle industry, for about 35 decades. With chopping-edge machinery and procedures, we have the ability to create parts for Electric Car or truck Charging Points.
With our state-of-the-art production facilities, and a prosperity of encounter supplying various components in significant volumes to our sister business Bri-Stor Units for the conversion of electrical automobiles, we have the capabilities and know how to guide with every thing from prototyping to fabrication and assembly of your Electrical Vehicle Demand Device.
Our point out-of-the-art equipment contains our robotic fold and weld facilities, CNC laser reducing, CNC punch, automated panel bending and a machining centre, enabling us to very easily manufacture numerous parts this sort of as stands, metal plates, box units and far more for the manufacture of Electric powered Motor vehicle Demand Factors. Our 85,000 sq. ft manufacturing unit also attributes the longest integrated STOPA Storage Procedure in the Eire, permitting us to maintain a wide selection of materials thicknesses and factors for manufacture of custom made Electrical Automobile Cost Details products.
Weatherproofing & Corrosion Resistance
Occupying a shared site with our sister business Atlas Coating, we are capable to offer you industry leading electric power coating products and services for your EV cost device, salt spray analyzed for more than 1,000 hrs producing guaranteed that your EV charge unit is weatherproofed and extremely sturdy. Our revolutionary 5-phase pre-cure approach utilises Oxsilan, which is a Saline centered option, as opposed to more damaging Zinc or Phosphate alternate options utilised by a lot of powder coaters. This will allow us to appreciably reduce our environmental impression, although nonetheless featuring unbeatable corrosion protection and durability.
Assembly & Integration
Not only are we able to provide the fabrication of elements, but we are also able to present assembly and integration products and services. Alpha’s focused in-residence assembly division have extensive expertise in assembling various parts and products, doing work to complex drawings, SOP’s and stringent excellent criteria. A short while ago, we opened up our new division, Alpha Production Integrated Remedies, which operates from a facility in close proximity to our Hixon HQ.
EV Cost Device Factors
With our substantial abilities for significant quantity repeatable small pieces to substantial scale laser and punch sheets, we are ready to aid the overall fabrication of EV charge position models, for instance:
Charger put up stands
Bracketry for charger fitting
Pre-assembly, packaging and shipping and delivery to client needs
We now produce a lot of parts for Electrical Car Cost Models, and we’re happy to be at this time supplying a person of the speediest escalating EV cost production firms with their cost issue fabrications.
Get in touch to come across out how we can enable your company with Electrical Car Charging Models.