13 Tips on How to Evaluate a New Fabrication Partner


Partnering with the best metal fabricator is crucial to ensure the quality of your products. Metal fabrication is an intricate task that requires the best quality equipment and years of training to get it right. Anyone from electronics manufactures to the aerospace industry can tell you the importance of partnering with the right fabrication companies.

Unfortunately, finding the right partner for your needs is easier said than done. Every fabrication company offers something unique, but only a handful of them will be able to meet your long checklist and requirements. Before enlisting a fabrication partner for your needs, you should check all factors, from capabilities and quality to the customer service experience. 

Most companies need only stellar service from their metal fabricator. If you are on the lookout for custom fabrication services for your thin metal and non-metallic parts, here are a couple of questions you can ask to properly evaluate the services of a company and ensure you get the right one for the job. 


Can They Provide Prototype Services?

Ask your fabrication partner if they can build a prototype of the product. This prototype will help you assess the quality of their work and if they understand the project. You can ask them to create a virtual prototype first, and when you approve, they can build a small model for you to review.


Can They Handle Large Production Runs?

Another essential factor you must assess before giving your project is to consider their production run. If the metal parts fabrication companies don’t have the right resources and workforce, they may not complete your project on time. Thus, asking about their production run is essential. 


What Are The Thinnest and Thickest Materials They Can Process?

Depending on your requirements, you should ask the fabrication company how thin and thick material they can process. You can tell your needs straight away, but for future reference, you should be prepared. Asking about the size of material they can process will allow you to determine if they would be the right fit for your future needs. 


What Material Types Can They Process?

All custom fabrication companies can process a range of materials. The variety usually depends on their machines and equipment. If you work with a broad range of materials, then you must keep everything clear. Most fabricators can assist you with fabricating steel, aluminum, and copper, but if you have any specialized requests, you should ask about them right away. 


How Do They Ensure Consistent Quality Levels For Every Piece?

Quality is of utmost importance when partnering with a fabrication company. You won’t want products that differ in quality, so it is crucial to inquire about their repeatability on the production line. If some of a batch is exceptional and some are nearly unusable, it may make your production less reliable. 


How Consistent Is Their Work?

When you enlist custom fabrication services, you will require the services for a long time to come. Thus, before getting started, you should check if they can handle consistent work and make deliveries on time. 


Will They Provide Samples? 

Samples are crucial in selecting the right fabricator. Ask them to share a sample with you, as it will help you determine the quality of their work and if it matches your requirements and needs. Samples will help you decide which fabrication company you want to go with for your projects. 


How Long Does It Take To Receive A Quote?

Time is of the essence when working with any partner. From receiving a quote to finally getting to work, you must ask how long each step would take. Will your project need to be reviewed by the only engineer on staff before the company can send a quote? If the quoting process requires additional steps before you see a price, it may cause bottlenecks in the workflow and potentially delay your project before it starts. Working with a partner who can quickly provide a quote will help you maximize your productivity and optimally use your time. 


Do They Provide Onsite Engineering Support?

A fabricator that can also provide engineering and design services is a massive benefit. With in-house engineering expertise, your finished products will be manufactured more efficiently. If your work contains intricate details or is early in the prototype process, you should work with a company that provides on-site engineering support. 


What Level Of Precision Can They Achieve? 

 When working with thin and small parts, the slight difference of microns will make a huge quality difference. Ensure you know how precise each cut can be. Some equipment can achieve incredibly high precision with a high level of repeatability, while others cannot consistently achieve the same level of precision. 


Is There A Lower-cost Option When High Precision And Repeatability Are Not As Important?

Fabricators don’t always have multiple machines to handle a wide range of projects. So, if you require extra precision or something on the rough side, make sure you choose a fabrication company that can handle the level of precision needed. When you don’t need high-precision for your project, you can ask for a lower-cost option. Make sure to communicate the details of your project and then ask for the best price to fit your precision needs. 


Is There One Main Contact Within The Company Or Is It A General Contact?

Effective communion is an integral part of keeping the production chain smooth. When requesting a quote, or assessing the fabrication company in general, ensure to ask about your point of contact. This will streamline your communication and optimize the whole production process. 


Are They ISO / ITAR Certified?

This is an important one. Always make sure that all your shortlisted metal parts fabrication companies are ISO or ITAR certified if your product requires it. ISO certification ensures that they comply with the set standards and deliver only the highest-quality product. ITAR certification ensures that there is a proper paper trail and it is traceable.


Wrapping Up

Finding reliable fabrication companies can be a daunting task, but this set of questions will make the process easier for you. Before enlisting the help of a company, compare their quality, time of delivery, and overall project handling. By doing this, you will get a better idea of which company can assist you best in your projects. 

You should always get the quality you require. Don’t hesitate to ask any other questions if you have any. Effective communication will enable you to make the right choice and partner with a company that will understand your business requirements and deliver on them for years to come. 


Contact Thin Metal Parts if You Are Looking for a New Fabrication Partner

Thin Metal Parts is an industry leader in a wide range of metal fabrication techniques, including mylar imaging, custom laser cutting, electroforming, and chemical etching. At Thin Metal Parts, we pride ourselves on custom manufacturing and superior customer service. Clients working with Thin Metal Parts can expect unmatched responsiveness, quick turnaround times, repeatable precision, cost-effective options, with highly flexible and easily customizable manufacturing across prototypes, small runs, and large volume manufacturing.

For more information on Thin Metal Parts, forming and bending, or their capabilities, contact us online, call 719.268.8300, or email info@thinmetalparts.com.

4733 Centennial Blvd.
Colorado Springs, CO 80919

Phone: 719.268.8300

Fax: 719.268.8399

E-mail: info@thinmetalparts.com