2 July 2021

Phoenix 3D Metaal realises the value of the rubber pad forming technique for customers together with suppliers.

“The better suppliers understand customer requirements, the less discussion.”


Phoenix 3D Metaal has been focusing on the rubber pad forming technique for manufacturing complex, double-curved sheet metal parts for more than twenty years. The value of this technology lies in cost advantage, design appearance and functional properties, such as hygiene. In order to cash in on that value, the Eindhoven-based company maintains intensive contacts with both customers and suppliers, and sometimes with both at the same time. “The customer must also have confidence in our suppliers and may be even better in conveying their wishes.”


By Hans van Eerden. Source: Link Magazine


For small and medium-sized series – hundreds to thousands of pieces – rubber pad forming is an alternative for deep drawing costs and shorter delivery times. We are an all-round sheet metal industry, with rubber pad forming as our USP”, says director and co-owner Bernard van der Poel. We only offer rubber pad forming if the work involves it, but we have all the conventional techniques. We often have to bend or weld pressed parts first. Besides the cost advantage, rubber pressed parts derive their added value mainly from design and functional product characteristics. The most important are lightness and rigidity through sophisticated construction, as well as improved process flow; the rounded shapes of the pressed parts make subsequent machining unnecessary. In addition, these rounded shapes make the parts easy to clean, and the freedom of shape also enhances the appearance of the design. Phoenix 3D Metaal in Eindhoven serves a wide range of customers in the machine and appliance building industry, for professional and consumer markets.


Preparatory phase
Phoenix 3D Metaal has a lot of contact with design agencies that work for OEMs. “The industry pays more and more attention to design. A machine or appliance has to have a good “look”, and that is easily achieved with the rubber pad forming technique”, Van der Poel explains. Design agencies are usually well acquainted with the possibilities and advantages. That is often not the case with machine and appliance builders who have not yet worked with us. If we are involved in a design at an early stage, we can make it cheaper and more manufacturable.” Customers sometimes come up with designs for deep drawing or thermoforming (of plastic). We then use simulations to determine which adjustments are needed for the rubber pad forming process. This approach is an essential part of our process. We need to understand the value chain in which the customer operates. However, new customers sometimes do not disclose all the information. That is a pity, because if we are allowed to look at the total design for which we make parts, we arrive at a better solution. We take care of this intensive preparatory phase, with simulations and advice. Also because, when we draw up an offer, we need to know whether something is feasible.


Phoenix 3D Metaal also enters into intensive discussions with suppliers. “The more we operate at a higher quality level, the more important it is that they know what our products are used for and understand, for instance, where a scratch on the product is allowed or not. For example, we work with specialised parties for the finishing of 3D surfaces and special products for hospitals, among other things. They must know the requirements for surface roughness and how to pack the product after processing. The better suppliers understand the requirements of our customers, the less discussion, rejection and costs there will be. We usually have one-on-one discussions with a supplier, but sometimes the customer is present. After all, The customer must also have confidence in our suppliers and may be even better in conveying their wishes.”


Single source
For the input material – metal sheets – Phoenix 3D Metaal works with MCB as its sole supplier. “For rubber pad forming you need good basic material with corresponding certificates”, says Van der Poel, “so we have chosen for single source. We share our purchase prices with customers and pass on both increases and decreases in material prices. This transparency is the basis for trust in the collaboration. Customers know that we are not harming them and are getting good prices because of our volume contracts with MCB. Moreover, in the current time of increasing prices, these contracts also ensure that MCB does everything in its power to continue supplying a loyal partner. Talking about single source: Phoenix 3D Metaal is this for most of its customers looking for rubber pad forming. Some companies see that as a disadvantage, but I don’t think it’s an issue. Our presses are not full, the capacity is not a problem. Moreover, the costs of tooling are not high, so if things go wrong, the consequences are not so bad. The customer can put the work, and the corresponding tooling, with a second party, but because of the small series, that only increases costs. If there is an unexpected problem, we immediately hop in the car to solve it at the customer’s site. That is more beneficial to them.”


The complete article can also be read on: https://www.linkmagazine.nl/phoenix-3d-metaal-verzilvert-waarde-rubberpersen-voor-klanten-samen-met-leveranciers/