processes custom metal fabrication

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the qualities that separate custom metal fabrication from standard meta fabrication. There are a wide range of fabrication methods out there for sheet metal and other types, but custom fabrication requires a few specific areas of knowledge and certification from manufacturers.

At Cypress Metals, we’re happy to offer a wide range of custom metal design options, from fabrication for many clients – including commercial contractors and their metal roofing and other needs – to laser cutting and several other areas. What are some of the other qualities that distinguish custom metal fabrication from other types, including certifications or skills you need your custom fabricator to have? Here are a few additional areas to keep in mind.

processes custom metal fabrication

Welding and Certifications

One of the key areas that helps separate custom fabrication from other types is welding. There are many fabricated products that must be welded to meet specific industry standards – in such cases, you need a manufacturer who has welding certifications and a proper quality control program.

A couple areas to ask about down these lines when discussing services with any custom metal fabricator like ours:

  • Adherence to American Welding Society (AWS) standards, or Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB) standards for those ordering products within Canada.
  • Welding Procedure Specification (WPS) that conforms to ASME Section 9, plus welding practices that conform to API-650 standard.
  • Qualifications from the American Welding Society to weld structural steel per AWS D1.1.

Assembly Themes

In addition, custom metal fabrication often requires multiple assemblies and subassemblies as part of the process. Not only should this entire process be documented carefully, including images and even video in some cases, it should also be tested. Both assemblies and subassemblies should be tested together to confirm the final product has the required functionality.

Finishing Techniques and Shipping Themes

Finally, another major area here is the finishing process, which often extends the lifespan of fabricated metal products by years. There are a few different techniques we might utilize for finishing a metal fabrication:

  • Metal bead blasting: This process, or other forms of surface preparation, will allow paint or other coating to properly adhere to the surface of the metal.
  • Powder coating: For decorative finishes, such as railings or signs.
  • Custom painting and drying: Using controlled paint booths that allow for ideal hardening and dry times.
  • Hot-dip galvanization: A process that coats each part of the metal, including hidden nooks and crannies, to prevent moisture from entering the metal.

For more on what separates true custom metal fabrication from other metal fabrication methods, or to learn about any of our custom fabrication, laser cutting or related services, speak to the staff at Cypress Metals today.

processes custom metal fabrication

At Cypress Metals, we’re proud to serve as your top custom metal design, metal fabrication and laser cutting specialists in Utah. We’ve carried out numerous custom metal fabrication jobs, from chimneys and chimney covers to cupolas, range hoods, post caps and many other materials.

What separates our custom fabrication services from standard metal fabrication solutions? There are actually several answers. There are numerous different fabrication methods possible for sheet and other metals out there – this two-part blog series will dig into some of the most common and specific such methods that will be taken by a custom metal fabricator to add major value and cost efficiency to your project.

processes custom metal fabrication

Settling on Design Intent

The entire point of custom metal fabrication, which can encompass numerous different processes, is reaching a desired final outcome of added value. In many cases, this involves your custom fabricator using an existing industrial plan or engineering drawing, but expanding it and adding significant detail or custom components.

This is a process that often involves testing and refining the design through stages. This is often defined by industry-specific standards or even full-on regulations, which a fabricator must be able to work within. Some of the industries or components that tend to benefit most from this early step in the custom metal fabrication process include:

  • Liquid food storage that requires quality control, such as heating or cooling sectors.
  • Feed and grain tanks, hoppers and silos, including areas like dry solids metering or material handling.
  • Custom spiral stair-cases with cross-platforms, common for storage unit access.

Designs will be laid out using one of several possible computer programs, or simply by hand in some cases.

Cutting and Forming Processes

Once you’ve worked with your custom fabricator on the basic goals and value-add areas of the design, it’s time to discuss the cutting and forming processes that will be used. There are several cutting formats potentially available for various fabrication jobs, including laser cutting for heavy plates or strict tolerances – but these lasers will not do as well with metal composites or materials with high levels of impurity.

In many cases, sawing will be done for structural steel projects. In others, plate shears might be used for cutting simple metal shapes. Other metal processes like bending, rolling and punching may also be carried out, and this requires a fabricator who knows how to choose the proper machinery for the required process. Equipment could include areas like hydraulic press brakes, plate or angle rolling machines, beam or CNC punching machines, and multi-function ironworkers for various metal processes.

For more on what separates a custom metal fabricator from standard fabrication, or to learn about any of our laser cutting or other metal design services, speak to the staff at Cypress Metals today.

material handling tote metal fabrication

Both for manufacturers and clients in metal fabrication and laser cutting areas, handling of materials is often a very important process. One of the most common products utilized here is known as the material handling tote, which streamlines efficiency by maximizing organization and material access.

At Cypress Metals, we regularly utilize material handling totes in our facility for both practical and safety needs, whether for custom laser cutting, metal fabrication or any of our other services. We know many of our clients also utilize such options or similar products – with this in mind, here’s a quick primer on material handling totes, the purposes they serve and some of the materials they are made of and which is best for given applications.

material handling tote metal fabrication

Defining Material Handling Totes

In any area where material handling is necessary, a tote describes several different containers that might be used in this realm. Material handling totes are open-ended containers generally made of wire, plastic or metal, meant to hold a variety of different items.

Material handling totes are portable, which is extremely convenient and necessary for many facilities. They’re also often designed to collapse when they aren’t being used, allowing them to be stored extremely easily. They come in a huge range of sizes and styles, and will generally be purchased based on their volume.

Totes Vs. Bins

Some assume material handling totes and bins are the same thing, but they are not. As we noted above, totes are open-ended containers, with this opening generally appearing at the top. Bins, on the other hand, come with a lid to completely enclose materials.

Each of these products has its ideal uses. Totes are best for parts or materials that require quick access, while bins are best for materials that aren’t accessed as often. Things like nails and screws are often stored in totes, for example, but specialty parts that are only used every so often will be stored in bins.

Material Options

There are several materials available for material handling totes, including each of the following:

  • Steel: A heavy, strong metal that’s best for totes that need to hold heavy parts.
  • Stainless steel: For specific totes that are required to stand up to issues like chemicals, corrosion or even impact damage, stainless steel is an ideal material.
  • Aluminum: A lighter metal than steel, plus one that won’t oxidize or rust. However, aluminum does dent, so it shouldn’t be used if impact risks are present.
  • PVC: Commonly used in food processing and chemical facilities, PVC resists environmental factors like corrosion.
  • ABS, PE or PP: These are varieties of thermoplastics that bring a rigid material handling solution, with PP generally serving as the strongest option.

For more on material handling totes in metal fabrication or laser cutting settings, or to learn about any of our custom fabrication or other services, speak to the staff at Cypress Metals today.

fabrication quality control matters clients

Within any mechanical industry or related field, quality control is one of the single most important areas for any manufacturer – and metal fabrication is no different. From safety areas to compliance and product effectiveness, there are several reasons why robust quality control programs for any metal fabricator are an absolute must.

At Cypress Metals, we’re happy to detail our quality control methods for any of our metal fabrication, laser cutting fabrication or other services. This information is important not only for our fabricators, but also for our clients as they seek to ensure their job is done correctly and in a timely fashion. Today’s blog will give you a primer on why quality control is important to us, some basics on the quality control manual we and other metal fabricators use on a regular basis, plus why this information matters not only to us, but to you as well.

fabrication quality control matters clients

Why Fabrication Quality Control Matters

There are several distinct reasons why robust, detailed quality control programs are vital for metal fabricators. They include:

  • Safety: First and foremost, fabrication products can be dangerous if they aren’t made correctly – both to fabricators and to eventual clients. Quality control ensures not only that fabricators are taking proper safety precautions during manufacturing, but also that products are up to code and will be safe for clients who receive them.
  • Consistency: Quality controls are also vital for the actual products themselves, particularly their effectiveness and consistency. Quality control processes ensure the client’s expectations will be met with precision, keeping both parties accountable.
  • Compliance: We mentioned compliance earlier – quality control helps ensure it within several code areas, including OSHA, ASME and the American Welding Society, among potential others.
  • Cost control: The proper safety and manufacturing standards being upheld, which takes place through quality control, will lead to cost savings for both manufacturers and clients.
  • Reputation: A fabricator’s business often relies in large part on reputation, and without quality control, they’re susceptible to drops in quality that will be reflected in the way they’re viewed.

Quality Control Manual

At Cypress Metals and virtually any other metal fabricator you may call on, we utilize a quality control manual that covers our entire facility in heavy detail. The manual standardizes and documents all our quality control practices, from procedures and basic systems to roles and relationships, safety methods and many others. We regularly audit our entire operation to make updates to the quality control manual, plus require new and old employees to remain up-to-speed on it at all times.

Importance to Fabricators and Clients

This area isn’t just important to us as fabricators – it should be important to you as a client as well, and you should never contract a metal fabricator without quality control procedures in place. A manual for quality control makes it far easier for us to communicate with our clients, for instance, as we can easily spell our all quality control processes to answer any questions you have and get you on the same page as our fabricators. Robust quality control systems give clients peace of mind for processes like welding and high temperatures, plus signal that we take this area seriously.

For more on any of our quality control methods or metal fabrication services, speak to the staff at Cypress Metals today.

welding qualities metal fabricators

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the top welding themes you should be inquiring about with any metal fabrication specialist before you begin a given project. One of several areas it’s important to evaluate during your selection process for a metal fabricator, welding is often a central part of a metal fabrication solution being applied to a given product.

At Cypress Metals, we’re happy to detail our welding capabilities and safety measures for any prospective metal fabrication client, whether you require chimney caps, cupolas, radius roofing or any of our other services. In today’s part two of our series, we’ll go over a few additional areas to check into when it comes to the welding quality of a given metal fabricator, ensuring they have all the proper tools and procedures in place to meet your needs moving forward.

welding qualities metal fabricators

Quality Manager

All high-level metal fabrication companies will employ at least one quality assurance (QA) manager on their staff. This individual or group of individuals is responsible for overseeing welding and tacking performance from all employees on staff, plus documenting their work histories and maintenance of various safety and industry codes.

In addition, the quality assurance manager performs visual inspections of fit-ups and welding equipment periodically. They will also update specific shop welding practices or techniques as needed, plus document and photograph all welds and assembly details for metal fabrication paperwork before a project is shipped.

WPS Numbering and Identification

One important theme during the metal fabrication and welding process is the WPS system, or Welding Procedure Specifications. This system, which is generally overseen by the QA manager, records all important welding information in a given project, from material type and plate dimensions to the welder and operator IDs involved.

The QA manager will also evaluate other important WPS variables, including consumables, interpass temperature, preheat, travel speed and the amps or volts used for preparing the WPS test specimen.

Safe Welding Practices

Finally, the quality control program run by the QA manager should include specific safety practices for all welding processes undergone in the facility. This involves attention to the hiring process, which should only bring in qualified and certified welders who are able to adhere to all required safety processes. Ensure the quality control program aligns with multiple welding standards per AWS, ASTM and CWB specifications, plus industry-specific standards like material thickness or others. Any metal fabricator should be able to provide detailed documentation of each project, including QA inspection paperwork and photographs if needed.

For more on how to ensure a given metal fabricator has all the required qualities for welding in place, or to learn about any of our metal fabrication, laser cutting or other services, speak to the staff at Cypress Metals today.

welding qualities metal fabricators

Like with many other services, metal fabrication is an area where clients in need should canvass multiple metal fabricators and choose the best based on needs and their qualifications. There are several areas to evaluate while making such a choice, and one of the most important is welding.

At Cypress Metals, we’re proud to provide a wide range of custom metal fabrication and laser cutting services, with solutions ranging from radius roofing packages and runouts to custom siding, window well covers and numerous others. We welcome comparisons of any of our fabrication elements to our competitors, including welding – not only do we want clients to get the best possible metal fabrication work, we’re supremely confident we’re the ones best-equipped to provide it. This two-part blog series will dig into the welding themes you should be inquiring about when choosing a metal fabricator, including why welding is so vital for metal fabrication to begin with.

welding qualities metal fabricators

Why Welding Matters

Those outside the industry may not hear about it as often, but quality welding capabilities are an absolutely vital element for successful metal fabrication. Multiple welds will generally be needed for a given product, helping maintain structural integrity and durability.

Even a single weld that’s poorly-done can lead t major issues. This may lead to rust, for instance, or product failure and situations where the final product does not meet OSHA regulations or industry-specific codes. However, well-trained and experienced welders eliminate these risks and ensure your welding sections are always done optimally.

Our next several sections will go over some of the areas to inquire about with a metal fabricator regarding their welding and welders.

Documentation and Certification

Firstly, can the metal fabricator provide certifications and qualifications for every welder on staff? There should not be a single individual on this area of the staff who does not meet every single qualification, which includes the following areas:

  • Ability to weld structural steel according to American Welding Society (AWS) D1.1 regulations
  • Understanding and compliance with Welding Procedure Specifications (WPS) conforming to ASME Section 9
  • Ability to meet AWS D1.6 standards for stainless steel
  • Fabrication of carbon-steel tanks conforming to API-50 standard
  • Following all industry-specific welding regulations

How Welders are Qualified

In addition to the above, metal fabricators should be able to show you a Welder Qualification Record that shows test results and all welding codes the welder in question has been approved for. Such records or tests may include American or Canadian Welding Society codes, various AWS codes noted above, or even various API, AISC and CSA standards.

For more on what to ask a metal fabricator about their welding, or to learn about any of our custom metal fabrication services, speak to the staff at Cypress Metals today.

metal fabrication essential pandemic service

The recent worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 has impacted numerous businesses and consumers in many ways, one of which is confusion regarding which businesses are deemed “essential” and will remain open while others either shutter temporarily or suspend certain services. The metal fabrication world has been impacted as well, but recent developments at the federal government level have brought some clarity here.

At Cypress Metals, we’re proud to provide a variety of custom metal design and metal fabrication services of everything from chimney covers and chimney caps to cupolas, range hoods and many other materials. Recently, the US Department of Homeland Security deemed “metal manufacturing” part of the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce – let’s go over what this means for the industry, plus a couple areas of metal fabrication that have become even more important during this outbreak.

metal fabrication essential pandemic service

“Essential” Definition and Metal Fabrication

Under the guidelines linked above, metal manufacturing is essential within several “critical” manufacturing operations. These operations include:

  • The manufacturing of metals like steel and aluminum, plus materials and products need for supply chains associated with food, agriculture and related fields.
  • Manufacturing and maintenance of equipment and other infrastructure needed for mining production and various distribution networks.
  • Workers required to maintain continuity of the above manufacturing functions and all related supply chains.

Now, it’s important to note that the document in question is intended to provide guidance to state and local jurisdictions. That said, due to the vital role these areas play in important pandemic response areas like food supplies and others, they are generally being followed around the country.

Feed and Grain Storage

Feed and grain storage are hugely important areas within agriculture, with contamination prevention serving as a particularly vital need. A single poor weld or rust spot on fabricated metals could compromise a full silo of feed and grain due to moisture or other contaminant exposure, risking entire harvests being lost – but quality metal fabricators create products that prevent these risks entirely.

Through techniques like hot-dip galvanizing (for corrosion resistance), various welding formats and several fabrication detail/ling methods, a fabricator will eliminate any potential for structural issues in agricultural settings. Fabricators are happy to play this important role in maintaining safe storage and transportation of food, water and feed.

Infrastructure Areas

In addition, metal fabricators provide materials for other important infrastructure areas, such as HVAC and pollution control that are even more vital during a disease outbreak. They help manufacture products and materials for medical equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE) and various medical supply chains. In addition, they manufacture numerous pieces of equipment that directly support other essential services, plus increases in remote workforce materials like computing and communication devices.

For more on why metal fabricators have been deemed essential during the COVID-19 outbreak, or to learn about any of our metal fabrication or laser cutting services, speak to the staff at Cypress Metals today.

safety precautions metal fabricators

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the vital safety precautions that must be taken by metal fabricators on a daily basis. Precision metal cutting, shearing and other related services can carry risks if they are not performed using proper safety precautions, which must be understood and put into practice by all employees in a given fabrication facility.

At Cypress Metals, we’re proud to observe stringent safety requirements for all our metal fabrication processes, from chimney caps and chimney covers to pots, cupolas, range hoods and numerous other products. In today’s part two, we’ll go over a few additional themes and areas our metal fabrication professionals are constantly adhering to when it comes to safety during metal fabrication.

safety precautions metal fabricators

General Cleanliness and Related Methods

Just like many other industrial facilities or production areas, one potential safety risk is clutter and mess on the floor or other major areas of the facility. You’d be surprised just how much even a few out-of-place items might lead to hazards based on proximity to machinery and other unseen risks. Even a single small mistake in general housekeeping could lead to a major accident with such high-powered equipment nearby.

For this reason, we practice several areas of decluttering and general organization. These include:

  • Using industry quality control standards, regularly organizing and decluttering the facility.
  • Removing piles of scrap metal or any other items that have begun to pile up on the floor or other common work spaces.
  • Making sure all tools are properly stored and marked.
  • Stacking all boxes or other items clear of walkways, emergency exits or common employee routes.
  • Storing heavy or potentially dangerous equipment in safe areas, including those where employees do not have to stoop or strain to pick them up.

Covering OSHA Requirements

The OSHA, or Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is a US government agency that regulates metal fabrication and numerous other industrial areas. It has a variety of standards that must be met in such facilities, many of which relate to items like ladders, stairs, platforms and a variety of equipment pieces that might be present in the facility.

Creating a Reputation

Through many of the methods we’ve outlined in this series, the best metal fabricators – including ours – build up a reputation for safety and effective processes. This, in turn, leads to limited employee turnover and more attention from the top workers in the field, who always want to work for reliable companies that treat employee safety as a top priority. Areas that help improve safety reputation include posting diagrams and charts, providing detailed employee training, and consistently reinforcing safety and training methods to existing employees.

For more on vital safety procedures taken by top metal fabricators, or to learn about any of our metal fabrication or other services, speak to the staff at Cypress Metals today.

safety precautions metal fabricators

As with any industry where heavy items and potentially hazardous machinery are used on a regular basis, safety is a vital concern for those in the metal fabrication world. Precision metal cutting, shearing and various fabrication services carry risks if they are not performed correctly and with proper safety precautions taken.

At Cypress Metals, we take great pride in the safety measures taken throughout our facilities and services, from fabricated chimney covers and caps to our laser cutting areas, sheet metal fabrication and many others. In fact, many top clients in the fabrication realm will even investigate a given manufacturer’s safety practices, which are often an indicator of overall quality. With this in mind, our two-part blog series beginning today will dig into some of the vital safety precautions that must be taken by any metal fabricator, from materials and equipment to training and other important themes.

safety precautions metal fabricators

Equipment and Guards

First and foremost, it’s essential for any metal fabricator to have the proper safety equipment and guards present in their facility at all times. This begins with the presence of important features like safety guards, emergency shutoff switches and protective equipment for all employees (plus extras on hand).

In addition, at Cypress Metals, we place significant weight on organization and a general culture of safety. Employees are trained to always keep tools or pieces of equipment in their proper location, plus to ensure no scrap metal or other materials build up in the wrong places. We always stack boxes or store heavy equipment out of walkways, plus in areas that are safe for employee access.

Workforce Education and Training

We mentioned training a moment ago, and it’s another vital piece of this puzzle. All the best safety equipment in the world will only do so much if the individuals using it are not trained on how to properly do so.

This involves specific training on all equipment or tools through licensed trainers. Not only should employees be trained on the proper usage of a given piece of equipment, but also its safety hazards and all precautions to take while the item is in use. Employees should also be trained on basic facility practices in terms of storage, posture and other simple areas.

Employee Satisfaction

Another area you may not necessarily connect to employee safety, but one that has several direct links, is employee satisfaction. We’re referring here not only to a positive, friendly work environment, but also to areas like good health coverage, positive relationships between managers and staffers, and other related themes. Employees who feel safe and cared for will be more consistent in their work across the board, from production levels to safety practices.

For more on how quality metal fabricators like ours at Cypress Metal maintain safety at all times, or to learn about any of our metal fab services, speak to our staff today.

metal fabrication increase steel ROI

For those in any industrial field, the last couple years have provided some stress points when it comes to metals like steel and aluminum. While steel costs have stabilized a bit in 2019, large tariffs on imported steel and aluminum in 2017 and 2018 meant that manufacturers had to take more care to improve their return on investment when dealing with these metals, steel in particular.

At Cypress Metals, our sheet metal fabrication and other custom metal design services will help you assess every detail of the process and bring back a strong ROI for all steel-related projects. Let’s go over a few ROI-related areas many manufacturers are focused on, plus how our processes help streamline things for you in these areas.

metal fabrication increase steel ROI

Descaling Issues

In areas where you have to store steel for long periods of time, one of the issues that sometimes comes up is the formation of oxide scale on steel surfaces, sometimes minor but occasionally significant levels as well. These oxides can damage the qualities of steel, opening it up to risks of corrosion or weakness that manufacturers can’t afford.

Luckily, full-service metal fabricators are qualified to assist with this sort of thing. This is done in a process called descaling, which involves pickling applications and heat combined, then scrubbing that helps remove the sludge areas. Finally, descaling involves rinsing and finishing the steel in nitric-hydrofluoric acid.

Galvanization

In many situations, we’ll even help you ward off these oxidization issues before they ever form in the first place. This is through one of a few processes, the most common of which is hot-dip galvanization – a process that creates a zinc layer around the entire steel surface, making it resistant to corrosion at every point, even edges and crevices.

Hot-dip galvanization is often a huge benefit in terms of steel-related ROI. It can increase steel value in several ways:

  • Allowing for outdoor construction due to resistance to corrosion or weather.
  • Preparing for utility uses like electrical transmission towers or similar areas.
  • Protecting stairs, ladders and other industrial areas from wear and damage over time.
  • Preventing embrittlement due to age, including the kind that can crack steel over a long enough period of exposure.
  • Limiting damage due to friction on various working components.

Welding Measures

In addition to dealing with oxidization, welding is a vital part of steel ROI. The right welding techniques must be applied before hot-dip galvanization to avoid cracking of the zinc or other negative reactions if this process isn’t don in the right order. Welding QC areas that will help add ROI to your steel include:

  • Ensuring matching thickness for the zinc coating from hot-dip galvanization, so long as the welding is done before the galvanizing process.
  • Post-galvanization techniques that will remove zing from welds and weld zones while protecting the surface area from corrosion.
  • “Push” welding techniques are preferred over “pull” techniques, allowing for a flatter bead and better penetration qualities.

For more on how metal fabrication services will help raise your steel project ROI, or to learn about any of our metal fab or laser cutting services, speak to the staff at Cypress Metals today.