Considerations for Having Parts Made by a Sheet Metal Fabrication Company

If you're manufacturing products that have metal components, you'll probably need sheet metal fabrication services at some point. Sheet metal can be fabricated in a variety of ways to cut, bend, stretch, or saw it into the shape you need. Here's a look at some considerations you'll have for your fabrication project.

The Design Creation

If you're designing your parts from scratch, you might want to have prototypes made before you go through the complete design process. You can make a drawing or use a computer program to create the parts yourself, but the sheet metal fabrication company will create their own CAD designs of the parts you want. This is like a blueprint the machinery uses to mold the sheet metal into the shapes you want.

The Fabrication Methods Used

There are two basic types of sheet metal fabrication: forming and cutting. Within these two categories, there are many ways to cut and form the metal sheets. They can be punched, burned, cut with a saw or laser, bent, or sawed. The fabrication company you work with considers the parts you want to be manufactured and devises a plan using one or more fabrication methods to get the results you want.

The Type of Metal You'll Use

Different factors go into your choice of metal to be fabricated. If the parts are meant to be attractive, you might want brass, copper, or stainless steel. The thickness of the sheets of metal and metal types are chosen once the method of fabrication is known. Some metals are more prone to rusting than others. Some metals are easier to weld than others. Matching the right metal to the job could mean you'll save money because the work will be less complicated.

The Finishing Method

Metal is usually finished so it has smooth edges, resists rust, or looks attractive. One popular option is powder coating. With powder coating, you can choose the color you want for the parts. Plus, the parts will be protected from rust. Powder coating could be an important step when working with steel parts, especially if the parts will be used for outdoor equipment.

The Production Process

Getting to the point where the company is ready to start mass-producing your parts could take some time. Once work is ready to begin, you'll need to know how many to order for your first run and how often to order more parts. Knowing this in advance is helpful so there is never a lag time when you have to shut down production and wait for your metal parts to be fabricated.