How to Select the Best Custom Stainless Steel Fabricators

January 19, 2021

Custom stainless steel fabricators create end products from semi-finished or raw stainless steel stock material. Though often taken for granted, stainless steel fabrication of products, parts and components plays a central role in the economy. The fabrication of a wide range of goods and products, of all shapes and sizes, derive from stainless steel. Just look around any kitchen, from refrigerators and dishwashers to tableware, cutlery, and cookware like pots, pans, and bowls, and even the kitchen sink. But also furniture, building structures, equipment, machinery, tools, and all types of vehicle parts from cars and trucks to airplanes and subway trains.

Selecting the best custom stainless steel fabricator is a process that relates to a number of factors. When manufacturers or companies select a stainless steel fabricator for a project, they should weigh a number of options and establish certain criteria that can range from costs and project scope to capabilities and experience. What are the fabricator’s quality standards? Are they established? Do they have the equipment and resources to meet project goals? Is their pricing in line with industry standards? Answers to such questions are important ones. To get started, here are a few tips to assist in the selection process for finding the best custom stainless steel fabricator for your project.

1. Quality Standards

It might be said that reliability and reputation of what a quality fabrication shop has to offer its customers is the sum of experience and professionalism (and vice-versa) found in that shop. Custom shops will have a team of engineers, designers and fabricators on hand to assist customers in design, development, and fabrication. It will offer references and point to a well established record of customer satisfaction. However, one sure way to assess a custom stainless steel fabrication shop is by the quality standards it sets for itself. Look to see if the shop has achieved ISO 9001, the international standard that specifies that requirements for a quality management system (QMS) have been met and are in place. ISO 9001 recognition demonstrates that a company has not only met stringent quality standards, but has consistently provided products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements.

2. Resources & Capabilities

Nevertheless, a fabricator may have achieved quality standards, with experienced personnel, but they also need to have the equipment, capabilities, tools, and resources to meet project goals. Selecting stainless steel fabricators to manufacture custom parts and components for assembly of products requires manufacturing technology to perform the necessary fabrication techniques required for your project needs. An area of particular focus when selecting a fabricator is the degree to which that shop has automated CNC programmed technologies, such as laser cutting, stamping, punching, etc. Automation in fabrication is vital to repeatability and to ensure output of quality products.

3. Expertise

Related to a fabricator’s capabilities to fulfill your project goals is in selecting a shop that serves the types of industries similar to your own. Such compatibility should not be overlooked in your selection process. Choosing a shop that has expertise in the type of fabrication you need is a key to your success. Therefore, when selecting a custom fabricator for your stainless steel product, choose one that specializes in the type of fabrication you need.

4. Pricing

Pricing is another aspect of the selection process that needs to be weighed carefully. It’s more than simply comparing multiple quotes and going with the best price. On the other hand, that quality comes with a price should not exclude competitive pricing of a project. The cost of stainless steel material is readily available. Estimates should be related to time and labor in relation to the other considerations mentioned. The quote should be in writing and represented as a good-faith estimate. There should be no hidden costs stated.

5. Financial Stability

A quality, financially stable, fabrication company will present you with a detailed offer in writing. Financial stability, though a sensitive area, is an important one when selecting a custom fabricator. It relates to years of experience and time in business. A company with low turnover, that offers competitive wages, and has good vendor relations is a company with a solid workforce and a line of credit. The latter is a very good indication that the company is on solid financial footing and follows good financial practices. In total, it’s an indicator that the fabricator has skilled labor, uses cutting-edge technology, and has access to all the material necessary to complete your project.

Selecting the best custom stainless steel fabricators to fulfill your company’s project requirements will directly relate to the criteria you establish to meet your project goals. Inquiries into a fabricator’s experience, expertise, quality standards, capabilities, pricing and financial stability can greatly aid in ensuring the best fabricator for the job.