Occasionally, yes, usually kind of sort of, other times not at all. The problem with one size fits all is that in order to fit all, trade offs need to be made. Typically, they are designed with the average in mind.So how can a one size fits all, fit all well? The answer is it can’t. There are many possible short comings; only meets some of your needs, difficult to adjust to meet your needs, you have to make compromises, or you sacrifice quality, to name a few. But, I think the short coming most people don’t think about is features you don’t need. Typically, machines are designed to appeal to as many people or applications as possible. Adjustability and features cost money and it is entirely possible that all the adjustment and features drive the cost up beyond what it would cost for a right sized machine.

Case in point. Many years ago I was involved in a project to

replace a stacker for a blanking press. The stacker in use was built in the 50’s. At that time sheet thicknesses used in most products were considerably thicker. When stacking the thinner sheet thickness used today it was a struggle to get the stacker setup in a way that would not damage the sheets in the process of stacking them. The sheets were pushed out onto a series of rollers on each side of the stacker. When the sheet was all the way into the stacker the rollers would flip out of the way allowing the sheet to drop unto a pallet. It was difficult to get the stacker setup so the sheet would fall flat without damage.

The more modern stackers used air to float the sheet out into the stacker. When the sheet was all the way in the stacker it was no longer able to stay afloat and the air cushion that floated the sheet to start with also cushioned it as it fell. Commercial air stacker cost around 125K which was well outside our budget. But, the truth is they are also built to handle large variety of sheet sizes and material thicknesses. By designing a stacker to fit our needs we were able to build a custom stacker for 25K. So we had a custom solution, that better fit our needs, for considerably less than the cost of a prebuilt machine.

But be beware, custom can also be one size fits all as many designers will try to fit your needs and requirements into what they have done in the past. For more information about our unique approach, check out our post on “What is “Micro-Iterative Collaboration””.

Dan R.

Design Right Engineering and Manufacturing

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