How much do you know about how your project gets from the drawing board to the finished product stage? Many people spend their time focusing on the initial design stage or on selling the finished product. What can often be overlooked is the actual manufacturing process. An engineer may be asked whether a particular design is possible. However, there may be no opportunity to feedback possible alternative options or solutions, based on the available manufacturing possibilities. By taking the time to look at the metal fabrication process in more depth, you can often find ways to modify or adjust your designs to streamline the manufacturing processes or improve the design. Here are two questions that you must ask when you are considering a metal fabrication process.
Which metal would be best?
Before you can start to think about the processes involved in metal fabrication, you must decide which metal you will be using. The choice of metal should depend in part on the characteristics you want the final product to possess. These characteristics might include strength and rigidity, but you will also need to think about the overall appearance of the metal, especially if it is used somewhere highly visible. Depending on where the metal will be used, you might also want to bear in mind practical concerns, such as corrosion resistance, when making your decision. Another concern when choosing metal is how easily a particular metal can be shaped. You might find a metal that possesses all the final characteristics that you need, but it is too brittle or too tough to easily machine. Working with a difficult metal can greatly increase manufacturing costs, as it slows down production and increases wastage.
What metal fabrication processes are involved?
You can't decide which production processes will be best until you know which metal you will be using. Once you have picked a metal, you will be faced with decisions about which cutting and bending processes will be employed. Often, it is best to be guided by the metal fabrication company. They will know their equipment best and will be fully aware of the capabilities of the machinery. If you aren't sure if their equipment can do what they claim, don't be afraid to ask to see examples of projects they have completed in the past using that equipment. A good metal fabrication company should be pleased to demonstrate their work and explain how they can best assist you.