What to Look for in a Custom Precision Sheet Metal Partner

Custom Precision Sheet Metal

A quick search for custom precision metal fabrication in the Toronto area yields a list of both organic and paid search results.  With so many options, it is important to ask the following questions to find the right precision sheet metal fabrication partner for your customized part requirements.

What types of material do you process?

Many steel fabrication shops specialize in carbon steel.  A precision sheet metal fabrication partner is needed when bending stainless steel and aluminum for small and large production runs.  These materials require a greater level of experience in precision metals and manufacturing process knowledge to successfully execute the bends.

A follow-up to this question is enquiring what gauge of metal do they form?  While 11 and 12 gauges are very common, asking if they are experienced in thinner gauges such as 18 and 20 is key to getting the high-quality results you need.  These thinner sheets have greater spring back information and are impacted by the grain flow of the material.

It requires years of experience and a skilled fabricator to understand the grain flow of the sheet to make the right adjustments to the process and avoid cracking or distortions in the part.

What additional capabilities are available?

A custom sheet metal fabrication supplier that has a wide range of additional capabilities such as custom sheet metal work, welding, CNC machining, silk screening, laser cutting, and part finishing is more capable of producing high precision sheet metal products.  Having this range of on-site capabilities enables the supplier to take on more elaborate and complex precision metal projects.

Additionally, the welding of thin gauge aluminum and stainless steel requires more skill as it can easily be destroyed with too much heat.  CNC machining allows for the precise location of holes and features.  Specialty finishing services such as anodizing, powder coating, painting, and assembly all done on-site enable a fully completed and assembled part to be sent to you efficiently and cost-effectively.

How do you check your work?

Both calipers and a height gauge might be all that is required to validate that a part is conforming to print.  More complex parts need something significantly more accurate, like a bridge-style Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) or a vision scanning system.

Compound angles and tangents, as well as geometric dimensioning and tolerancing, are reliably measured with these systems.  The capital investment in this type of inspection method is an indicator of the complexity of part the fabricator can perform.  A precision sheet metal fabricator will have a full CMM.  These are used to inspect tight tolerance CNC machined parts.  They are also used to inspect tight tolerance and exact dimensions of a precision fabricated part. Not only does Ben Machine have a highly accurate CMM, it has many.

What additional services are available?

Supply chain reliability has been a critical challenge the past couple of years and will remain so going forward.  A precision fabricator that offers additional value-added services such as maintaining a just-in-time (JIT) inventory or Kanban system reduces risk and creates consistent deliveries.

The ability to kit a group of parts and have them ready to be brought directly to the assembly area makes for smoother production. Finally, a supplier that is willing to invest in the inventory of challenging lead time raw materials, is a great partner for sheet metal components.

Ben Machine is a state-of-the-art, full-service high-precision sheet metal fabrication partner who delivers top-quality custom work.  Our proprietary manufacturing knowledge, breadth of precision CNC machinery, and years of experience in the business have allowed Ben Machine. Its team of experts to become a leading supplier of precision sheet metal fabrication services for complex requirements.