From food processing to energy generation, metal fabrication is vital to countless industries. If you’re in one of those industries and find yourself trying to choose between mass-produced components and custom solutions, you’re in the right place. Today, we’ll be exploring what custom metal fabrication is, its applications, and, most importantly, when it makes a sound business investment.
Custom Metal Fabrication Overview
Custom metal fabrication is exactly what it sounds like—the process of designing and creating metal components or parts, usually from carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, or copper.
Most custom fabrications are designed using computer-aided design (CAD) and, at least within the constraints of metal applications, can be made in any shape imaginable. Once the fabricators have developed a workable design, the project is completed using a wide range of techniques, such as:
The exact details of the forging process will depend on what’s being made, how many are required, and the materials involved. Fabricators often utilize a combination of hand and machine methods.
What Can Custom Metal Fabrication Do For Your Business?
Custom metal fabrication services allow you to create components for your prototypes or applications that are entirely new or cut out the middleman on pre-existing designs.
Here are just a few examples of common custom metal fabrication applications:
- Heavy equipment and machinery
- Panels, indoor/solar
- Office Furniture
- Enclosures and housings
- Fencing and railing
- Bars and rods
- Springs and wire
- Gears and cogs
- Latches and hinges
If it can be made from metal—it can be made via the custom metal fabrication process. While you can, of course, purchase all the above from various suppliers, there are several advantages of opting for custom design—which brings us to our next point.
The Benefits of Using Custom Metal Fabrication
The most obvious advantage of having your metal components made custom is, well, customization. In many cases, store-bought components may not be a perfect fit for your application. With customization, you can optimize your designs and benefit from tailor-made solutions.
It also allows you better flexibility. For instance, say you’re creating an entirely new product or machine—the parts required for your project may not even exist! Custom fabrication allows you to create what you need. After all, necessity is the mother of invention.
Better Designs, Lower Costs
The benefits of investing in custom metal fabrication don’t stop there, either. While customization, in general, comes with the assumption that costs will be higher, that’s not necessarily true—custom metal fabrication may actually save you money. How?
When you buy your components from a mass-producer, you’re essentially adding a middleman. Someone is designing your components for you and handling the process of getting them from the fabricator to you. That service isn’t free. Many businesses find ordering directly from a metal fabricator results in lower overhead costs.
Get What You Need Faster
What does a middleman cost you outside of the monetary aspects? Time. The more points in a supply chain, the longer it takes for that product to get from design to done—and the higher the potential for delays.
Working directly with a custom metal fabricator creates a direct link from your supplier. You benefit from one point of contact, fast turnaround times, and less chance for something to go wrong along the way.
Higher Quality Components
Finally, custom metal fabricated components are generally much higher quality than mass-produced options. Think of it like spaghetti. Could a store-bought bottle of sauce possibly compare to grama’s six-generation secret recipe?
Custom fabricators specialize in one thing: creating metal masterpieces, and they do it with a level of care and attention that big-box suppliers can’t offer.
Bringing It All Together: When Does It Make Sense to Invest in Custom Metal Fabrication?
Now that you understand what custom metal fabrication is, have an idea of the types of things that can be fabricated, and know a few of the benefits it offers, back to the question at hand: when does it make sense to invest in custom metal fabrication?
While most businesses that use any form of metal components or products will benefit from a customized solution, it may not be ideal if you’re dealing with a generic item that you need in massive quantities. For instance, having something like staples or nails custom fabricated is unlikely to offer significant cost benefits, if any.
Custom fabrication is a better option when high quality, carefully considered design, and supply-chain simplicity matter.
For example, custom sheet metal fabrication is a vital aspect of the automotive industry, where sheet metal and steel fabrication are used to make everything from large body panels to tiny engine components.
In construction, custom fabrication is used to make beams, brackets, handrails, and more. It’s also common for robotics, electronics, aerospace, consumer product creation, and foodservice and transportation applications.
Overall, you’ll need to consider more than just cost to determine if custom metal fabrication is the right choice. Cost is a factor as well, but go beyond that and think about how important the quality of the component you need is to the success of your business. If the answer is “very important,” it’s time to seek out a custom metal fabricator.
Ready to Invest in Custom Metal Fabrication For Your Business?
If you have an idea for a project or need a custom metal part or component, The Federal Group USA is happy to help. We can design the perfect metal components for your company, provide firm cost estimates, and get your idea ready for production.
If you need assistance, our team can also work with you on your design and material selection. We have extensive experience and a strong reputation in the metalworking community. Designing a custom metal fabrication piece for your product—and shepherding it through creation—is a personal journey, and we want to execute your vision perfectly.
Call us today at (800)759-2658 to discuss your custom metal fabrication project or compare costs to see if a customized solution is right for your business.