Automotive OEMs require their Tier suppliers to produce and maintain inventory of OEM quality parts for service and repair for 10+ years after their project ends or model changeover has happened. In the wake of labor challenges, die casters and foundries are looking for more ways to produce these infrequent and unpredictable supply chain demand components.

Aluminum die casting demand is expected to grow from 8% of vehicle weight to over 14% as Electric vehicle adoption continues. Die casters should review if their existing casting, machining, assembly, secondary processes should be available for OEM production or service parts?

Challenges for these Tier suppliers in offloading are many:

1) Quality systems for machining sub-supplier – Foundries and die casters need to have at least an internal PPAP from the machining source. OEMs are not likely to require PPAP for service parts, so die casters have more flexibility in picking a sub-supplier. However, they must ensure that the machining source has ISO9001 or IATF certification.

2) Capacity – Foundries must ensure that the machining sub-supplier has extra capacity. Service part orders and demands fluctuate considerably, and they usually go down farther out of the model year it goes. Machining shops must flex their capacity with equipment, labor, and materials to support these demand changes.

3) Resource base – Machining shop should have depth in tooling and maintenance resources to support long periods of time production. The shop should also have engineering resources to maintain work holding fixtures, gages, and support fixtures such as leak testers, assembly machines, and fixtures.

4) Quick tool changes – Machining shop should preferably have the ability for quick tool changes. They should have many of the equipment needed to have rapid tool changes in place to enable the production of high-mix low volume parts with quick lead times and competitively.

5) Secondary processing – The machining shop should be able to manage secondary processes such as assembly, outsourced powder coating, painting, etc to support ongoing production and shipping issues. As MOQs get small, the willingness of painters and e-coaters gets harder as well. The machine shop should have a good relationship and vendor base locally to manage these secondary processes.

6) Re-pack and EDI capabilities – Ideal machining shop should support repackaging activities in returnable containers, packing in individual bags to ship to distribution shops along with EDI capabilities for proper part ID, barcoding, and traceability paperwork.

To help find a machining shop which can support foundries and die casters for overflow machining work or service parts machining, please reach out to us at