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Built-to-Print Manufacturing

Built-to-Print Manufacturing


Built-to-print manufacturing has gained popularity recently because this approach enables a company to contract for the manufacture of parts conveniently while ensuring greater consistency during the production process. Correctly generated parts will appear uniform across multiple production runs, for instance.

About Built-to-Print Manufacturing

Built-to-print manufacturing holds appeal for many firms engaged in international commerce. For example, if an enterprise decides to select multiple vendors located in different places to produce a particular component, an item created in one factory will appear identical to the same model number physically manufactured in another location. Multiple manufacturers can generate the same component parts utilizing a single set of specifications and schematic drawings provided by the client.

This manufacturing process today performs an important role in the generation of numerous products, including prototype models, spare parts and replacement parts. By ensuring manufacturers adhere to a consistent production process, a company may rely upon built-to-print manufacturing to achieve uniformity and greater interoperability. Slight differences in manufacturing environments won’t impact products generated in this way significantly.

Built-to-Print Manufacturing Process

The built-to-print manufacturing process places the responsibility upon a customer for choosing specific production methods and parameters. This process still requires close collaboration between a manufacturer and the customer, of course.

Typically, a customer will need to supply detailed schematic drawings and specific work orders to ensure cost-effective production. The manufacturing firm submits any recommendations for product modifications to the customer for approval in advance of performing a production run.

After the manufacturer receives customer approval for the designs submitted by the customer, the manufacturer will typically enter the plans into a CDL (Customer Document Log). This computerized record includes any updates; it provides print-ready instructions for manufacturing the product within a production environment.

The manufacturer then conforms strictly to the CDL instructions in order to produce desired parts and components in accordance with the customer’s directions. The built-to-print process may offer a very cost-effective way to generate consistent parts. For instance, it may allow a manufacturer to produce replacement parts which will function compatibly with assemblies generated in other locations. (Manufacturers still need to employ rigid quality control measures, of course. Yet built-to-print manufacturing does eliminate minor design differences in parts created in unique production settings.)

Built-to-Print VS. “Built to Design And Spec

During built-to-print manufacturing processes, a customer usually participates more proactively in creating the final product than during “built to design and spec” production.

Built to Design And Spec

A company engaging in conventional “built to design and spec” supplies a manufacturer with essential specifications concerning a part’s dimensions and operational performance. However, the firm leaves many of the details of specific manufacturing processes up to the discretion of the manufacturer hired to produce the product. This situation may result in slight design differences between the same functional parts produced in different environments, for instance. One manufacturer may powder coat a metal part, while another may generate a finely polished finish instead.


By contrast, during built-to-print manufacturing, a firm dictates every aspect of part production, supplying schematic drawings, specifications and work orders describing in detail the particular manufacturing process to employ on the production floor. This type of project essentially arrives in a factory “ready to print” with every aspect of the final product planned in advance. The manufacturing company will use the customer’s CDL as a guide during part production.

Advantages of Built-to-Print Services

A built-to-print manufacturing process offers a number of advantages in sophisticated commercial manufacturing environments today. These benefits have contributed to the popularity of this approach.

  1. Built-to-print manufacturing enhances component interoperability, since every aspect of parts will remain consistent across multiple production channels. This fact may assist consumers seeking replacement parts.
  2. Built-to-print manufacturing enables a customer to remain firmly in charge of its intellectual property assets. In the past, in some places manufacturers who contributed significantly to product design sometimes endeavored to generate similar products in other venues. During built-to-print manufacturing, the customer ultimately controls every detail of the design and manufacturing process. This fact may offer greater protection against infringement.
  3. Built-to-print manufacturing may assist a firm in building a specific brand image by promoting greater uniformity in production. For example, since metal parts produced for the same model won’t display minor design differences, the customer’s design team can work towards establishing a stronger brand uniformity and stylistic cohesion.
  4. Built-to-print usually offers enhanced efficiency, since a company does not need to “recreate” the part every time it arranges for a production run. Instead, the firm may rely upon well-established, effective plans and detailed schematic designs to specify the way a manufacturer should produce parts. Over the course of time, this process usually results in cost savings. Companies do not need to pay repeatedly for engineering and design services every time they decide to arrange to produce a part through a new manufacturing vendor, for instance.
  5. Since built-to-print manufacturing processes carefully record every aspect of product design and manufacturers require written permission to make even slight modifications, this approach provides better documentation than many earlier systems. The ability to trace minor product changes accurately over the course of time may hold value in terms of further product research and development efforts.
  6. If any safety concerns arise during the course of product use, product design and manufacturing teams utilizing a built-to-print manufacturing strategy possess extensive records to document their decision making processes. They can re-evaluate the reasoning underlying a particular design decision in light of any recent safety concerns more easily. Built-to-print manufacturing streamlines production efforts in this respect.


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From a contract manufacturing firm, BuntyLLC evolved into a full service custom machined, forged and cast metal parts fabrication enterprise. We supply global solutions from our headquarters in Greenville, South Carolina.

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