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What is ‘Scrap’ in the Manufacturing Industry?

  • January 13, 2017

weld-1788679_960_720Scrap is a term you’ll frequently hear in the manufacturing industry. Manufacturing companies of all shapes and sizes pay close attention to their scrap rate, as this affects their profits. So, what is scrap is how is it used in the manufacturing industry?

Scrap Explained

In the most basic sense, scrap is the discarded material from a manufacturing job. If an automaker is manufacturing a car and has steel leftover after finishing the car, that leftover steel is considered scrap. It’s excess material that’s not required to manufacture the car. However, scrap can also be a complete batch of parts that needs to be recycled.

Scrap may also consist of small and otherwise insignificant materials, assuming those materials are leftover and not needed. Metal shavings, for instance, are considered scrap. A couple metal shavings isn’t going to place a financial strain on your business. Over time, though, those shavings can add up, costing your business big bucks.

A high scrap rate can negatively affect manufacturing companies in several ways. For starters, it costs money to purchase the scrap materials — money that’s not recouped on the manufacturing and/or selling of the product. Furthermore, companies must spend additional time, labor and energy dealing with scrap. Whether the company plans to reuse the excess materials, sell it, recycle it, etc., all of these tasks are laborious and time-consuming.

Reducing Scrap in Manufacturing

Of course, it’s next-to-impossible to avoid all forms of scrap in the manufacturing industry. Many manufacturing companies view scrap as an inevitable part of running their business. If you work in a job that requires to build things, you’ll probably have leftover materials — it’s just something that comes with the territory. With that said, there are ways to reduce scrap in manufacturing.

One of the easiest ways to minimize scrap is to optimize your manufacturing process. Perhaps using a machine or equipment to perform a step in the manufacturing process can reduce unnecessary material waste. Metal forming machines are highly effective for this very purpose, but it’s important to choose the right machine for the specific task.

Proper documentation of materials ordered and materials used can also reduce scrap in manufacturing. It’s easy to overlook the importance of proper documentation when you’re busy running a manufacturing business. In doing so, you won’t know how many materials are being used and how much is leftover.

To recap, scrap is essentially the amount of material that’s leftover and unused after a manufacturing job. Manufacturing companies should constantly strive for a low scrap rate.

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