Choosing the right metal fabricator for your next project is essential in the production process. After all, that choice will eventually determine the quality of the end product. In addition, there are around 60.000 metal fabrication shops in the U.S. alone, so selecting the right one is definitely no walk in the park.
And if you require specialized solutions, the task can be even more demanding. A reliable metal fabricator must be equipped with enough personnel, have extensive resources at its disposal, and have a certain level of experience. All of this is important for you to avoid any design or quality issues and schedule delays, which would inevitably lead to considerable financial losses.
Your customer’s perception of you is partly influenced by the quality of the things you supply. As a result, the product your metal fabricator produces—whether it’s a component or a finished product—becomes a mirror of yourself. Low quality or late deliveries might make you look bad in the eyes of your clients. For that reason, the metal fabricator you hire should be a close collaborator who works with you as if they were an extension of your team.
So, what are the most important things to look for in a metal fabricator, and how do you select a reliable one? Below, we’ll go through the most important things you need to consider when choosing the metal fabricator for your next project.
It Goes Without Saying That Experience Matters
To kick things off, experience is an essential factor in choosing the company you’ll work with. However, when screening for metal fabricators, bear in mind that you should also research their experience in other branches and not only the metal fabrication sector.
You should also learn more about the company’s current staff’s experience and the types of projects they’ve worked on in the past. It would be a mistake to hire a firm that hasn’t worked on projects like yours or lack experienced workers on their staff.
Last but not least, you should never limit yourself to only working with domestic fabricators and strongly consider the possibility of outsourcing your next sheet metal fabrication project to a certified fabricator from China. These service providers use all the latest manufacturing technologies and come with a dedicated, highly-skilled team of designers and engineers to help you produce the desired product in the most cost-effective possible way.
Capabilities And Equipment Are Crucial
Furthermore, the equipment and capabilities of the potential fabrication partner should also be taken into serious consideration as they need to be capable of handling your project’s intricacy and magnitude.
Go further than the standard equipment list. This is important so you can find out whether they provide any value-added services that might save you time and resources. For example, ask them if they utilize design-for-manufacturing (DFM) methods. Find out if they do prototyping. Is it possible to get a design review and recommendations on materials, design simplicity, and other topics? Is there anything else they do to save time or money that you might implement for your project?
Another option that can save you money big time is a one-stop-shop. This means that the company can offer product design, prototyping, fabrication, and inventory management all in one location. This can optimize your operation and deliver the metal fabrications you need in record time. It will also save you from the logistical nightmare of having separate design, prototyping, fabrication, and fulfillment houses.
Top-Quality Is A Must
Quality is a term that is overused and misused a lot in the industry. As you may know, it may be found on almost every manufacturer’s website with the implication of high quality. However, you’ve probably observed that not all manufacturers make high-quality products.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) defines quality as the degree to which a collection of inherent qualities meets standards. Starting at the beginning of this statement, “requirements” are demands, expectations, or duties that often come from customers, industry standards, or regulatory organizations. “Characteristics” refer to the product’s defining traits. Finally, the term “degree” refers to the degree to which specific requirements the job has been accomplished.
Essentially, if a product’s features fulfill all of the standards, it is called high or exceptional quality; nevertheless, if those qualities do not meet all of the requirements, the product is deemed lousy quality. You cannot compromise on quality standards, whether it is a small or large job. In addition to meeting regulatory requirements, your metal fabricator’s goods and equipment will need to pass internal quality checks. For that reason, you should be aware of any internal standards that meet or exceed the project’s requirements:
- Ascertain if the firm is familiar with the required production procedures and testing equipment to meet quality requirements.
- Examine its certificates to see whether they are sufficient to give it a project similar to yours.
- Find out if it is willing to invest in additional training, equipment, or personnel if necessary.
- What measures does it employ to measure the quality of its work? Find out if it is suitable for your project.
The market for metal fabricators is booming as much as ever and all of the companies in it are different in their own respects. You should be able to discover a match if you keep these three important elements in mind. While none of these characteristics should be compromised, you can prioritize them according to your budget, location, and other constraints.