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What Is Custom Fabrication

Jun 11

In the investment world, people tend to pigeonhole metal fabricators into two business models. The first involves competing primarily on price. The second involves taking overall cost out of a broader process. That could mean a partnership with a customer to take the design process (design for manufacturability, or DFM) into account before final design is complete. Or it could mean that a fabricator offers supply chain management services—producing, assembling and shipping products directly to the fabricator’s customers.

The primary functions of a Custom Fabrication shop include cutting the stock to the desired shapes and sizes, forming the stock into the shape required for the finished product and joining the components together. Each of those major processes breaks down into a number of distinct steps and uses specialized equipment. For example, cutting can be done using a variety of tools and methods, including shears, specialized saws and sources of extreme heat such as plasma and laser cutters. Another form of cutting is punching, which creates holes in pieces of metal.

Other types of machining are also used, such as milling, turning and drilling. Fabricators can also offer welding, powder coating and assembly services. In fact, more and more fabricators are moving away from traditional pigeonholing, as their customers demand a greater range of capabilities.

Labor costs are a significant component of the cost of any fabricated part or product. The metal fabricator has to pay its staff, whether that be professional estimators, inspectors, certified welders or assembly technicians. In addition, a metal fabricator has to pay for the specialized machinery it uses to do its work.

The industry a metal fabricator serves can also play a role in its capacity to meet demand for the type of fabrication it can provide. For example, an automotive fabricator is more likely to be able to handle tight tolerance work, as that's what the automakers require. Similarly, a fabricator that works with aerospace materials can better serve the needs of the aircraft and space industry.

It’s important to find a metal fabrication company with the right mix of technology to be able to service all your needs, whether you need a complex industrial project, a simple machined part or even an entire bespoke manufacturing line. A broader technology mix can give you more flexibility for future projects, and it’s also important to understand what a metal fabricator specializes in so you know if it can meet your specific needs. For example, a precision acrylic fabricator can help you manufacture prototypes and low to high volume production runs for the aerospace, appliance, chemical, cosmetics, computer, medical, marine, mining, optical, mechanical, pharmaceutical, robotic and telecommunication industries. It can also handle a wide variety of polymer and plastic materials such as acetal, acrylic, ABS, Noryl, PEEK, polyetherimide, polysulfone, PVDF, Ultem and Vespel. It can perform a broad array of services including annealing, cutting, bending, drilling, masking, slitting, forming and welding. It can also meet a wide array of standards, such as ANSI, ASTM, DOT and FAA.


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Custom Materials, Inc
16865 Park Circle Drive
Chagrin Falls, Ohio 44023
(440) 543-8284