Reducing Scrap, Saving Money for a Fireplace Manufacturer

Mate Precision Tooling helped a fireplace manufacturer achieve $38,265 in annual savings by reducing scrap and labor.


For sheet metal manufacturers, scrap is often a source of wasted profits. Because scrapped parts need to be made again, scrap is more than the lost material; it is also a waste of labor time. For many manufacturers, reducing scrap is an on-going effort that can pay dividends. At Mate Precision Tooling, we strive to support our customer’s tooling operations by looking for opportunities to improve operations and save them money.

The Problem with Scrap

A manufacturer of high-end fireplaces was struggling with a 60% scrap rate on a product line. Their fireplaces are the focal point of their customer’s homes and understandably expect the products to be blemish free. The company was struggling with scrapping an average of 4,500 out of 7,500 units per year. That’s 4,500 units that had to be completely redone, resulting in excessive manual labor.

To achieve a higher quality standard, the fireplace manufacturer turned to Mate Precision Tooling for help. Beyond Mate’s superior tooling solutions, we consulted with them to uncover ways to improve their operations by reducing material and labor costs. This was a clear opportunity for improvement.

Reducing Unwanted Sheet Marking

Often there are overlooked opportunities for sheet metal manufacturers to prevent or reduce unwanted sheet marking. It can be as simple as keeping the punch press and tooling clean and in good working order. Our Sales Engineer reviewed these opportunities with the fireplace manufacturer and found everything to be in good shape.

He next reviewed their punching processes and decided to recommend using Mate’s self-adhesive urethane stripping pads. The pads adhere to the bottom of the stripper, providing a cushion during the punching process to reduce or eliminate the marking. They tested the pads and the sheet marking was eliminated, which brought the scrape rate to zero, resulting in a 60% decrease in scrap.

The fireplace manufacturer spent one minute at a $50 per hour labor rate and 2.5 square feet of material at a cost of $2.50 per square foot to manufacture each part. With a previous scrape rate of 4,500 pieces now at 0, the savings quickly added up. They saved a total of $31,875 annually in scrapped material and lost labor.

Reducing Maintenance Frequencies

Even though he was not exclusively consulted to examine the other tooling in this machine, the Mate Sales Engineer also noticed the fireplace manufacturer had abnormally high maintenance frequencies on a 10-hole cluster punch. This punch is used in another product line that makes 7,668 parts per year and had to be sharpened after making only 15 parts. Believing this frequency could be reduced, the Mate Sales Engineer recommended using our patent-pending Eliminator™ lubrication pads that are designed to keep the punch tip lubricated, a key to extending tool life.

The fireplace manufacturer determined it took 15 minutes to sharpen and assemble the punch, or $12.50 per hour at the $50 shop labor rate. At 7,668 parts per year, the estimated annual savings is $6,390.

The combined estimated annual savings for the reduced scrap material, lost labor, and lowered maintenance frequencies for the fireplace manufacturer is $38,265. Contact us to see how a Mate Sales Engineer may help you reduce scrap, reduce labor, and save money.