Sheet Metal Fabrication - Enclosures and Assemblies
The fabrication of enclosures and assemblies from sheet metal and stainless steel includes cabinets, weldments, tubular frames, panels and parts. Just-In-Time (JIT) deliveries and turnkey assemblies become an integral part of the process for serious vendors.
The manufacture of these enclosures and assemblies involves the use of 2D and 3D CAD programming and systems plus a variety of equipment and operations, including punching, forming, shearing, graining, fastener installation (inserts and rivets), welding (use of robots for repeatability), machining and inspection. Sawing, deburring, grinding and wrapping equipment are important tools in the complete operation.
Machining and tooling functions require power notchers, milling machines, lathes and drill presses. Inspection operations incorporate coordinate measuring machines, gages, data collectors and traceable gage block sets. Depending on the company's commitment to quality, process and inspection methods can be quite sophisticated.
An example of this sophistication is the three-tiered program of our source. It involves Statistical Process Control (SPC) evaluation of machine performance, in-process inspections monitoring each step and a final check based on exacting military or consensus standards.
In evaluating a source for fabricated metal products, purchasers should look to earlier process involvement (dialogue), design and technical assistance and capabilities in prototyping as well as production. Whether or not a company looks to partnerships with vendors of raw materials and services should also be considered in evaluation checklists. These kinds of relationships yield cost effectiveness and certain implied loyalties.
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