When the time comes to improve an existing fabricated reflector, it's the opportunity to upgrade the aesthetics or simple design improvements to try to reduce cost.
Simplify your design
Careful examination of your shape geometry can reveal a number of things.
You may discover legacy features that are no longer relevant. Perhaps features were included in the original prototype that never translated to design, or maybe some existing options have been discontinued. By re-familiarizing yourself with the existing fabricated reflector, you can cull out unnecessary items and expense.
Multi-faceted reflectors may also present needless design complications. If the facets could be combined into a single rolled shape, production improvements are immediately realized. The rolled shape is less expensive to produce and the many sharp facets bends can be entirely avoided to speed production time. The same holds true for assembly fit and finish, small shape adjustments could make a big difference.
Reduce holes and cutouts
The impact of hole and cutout reduction on design simplification is obvious, but consider performance. Eliminating holes and cutouts means increasing reflective area that, in turn, boosts overall design efficiency. If you can get by with fewer holes and cutouts you’ll gain a dual benefit of potential production cost savings and maximum reflector functionality.
Adding features can make it easier to accomplish downstream operations. This is a small but critical consideration. Adding a locating hole, flange or attachment point to the fabricated reflector design significantly impacts the quality and completion time of downstream operations. For example, field-installing reflectors that have orientation marks or similar assembly details takes considerably less time than using non-marked reflectors. Likewise, the relative ease of installation typically elevates the overall quality at completion. Including these convenience features may increase the upfront cost per reflector, but having them available downstream will lower overall expenses.
Look at material options
Due to the number of choices available, costly design errors can be made if material decisions are made in haste. Narrow your options to the best available materials for your application by determining the answers to these questions.
Is the premium finish necessary? Could a lower cost finish provide the same, or acceptable, results?
What is the required structural strength? Since there are no diminishing returns on material thickness, could the thinnest possible material be used without compromising the reflector’s integrity?
Are all, or most, of the acceptable material options readily available?
Taking a holistic approach to the design of your existing fabricated reflectors is an important first step, but there’s no substitute for consulting with an experienced manufacturer to maximize your improvements.
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