In today’s world, there are specialists for almost everything: from medical specialists to learning specialists and even shrubbery specialists – the world of metal fabrication is no exception. While you can find shops that specialize in many different areas of sheet metal fabrication, that may not necessarily be the best decision for you or the success of your project.
Significant savings, not to mention convenience, can be found when utilizing a sheet metal fabricator that offers a one-stop shop for product design, prototyping, fabrication, and inventory management under one roof. Using a full-service shop fast-tracks your entire project and makes your life easier because you no longer need to find and qualify a design house, a prototyping house, a fabricator, and a fulfillment house. This optimized approach will get your components or finished product to you faster.
What is included in a full-service shop?
In a full-service metal fabrication shop such as Estes Design and Manufacturing, we have departments with very different roles all under one roof. We offer prototype, engineering, product development, and production services all in one place. This means that we can help you design your part, fabricate your prototypes, and then transition that design right to production when it’s ready.
What are the benefits?
Streamlined Process with Reduced Lead-Times
Using a full-service sheet metal fabricator can streamline the product conception to full production process, since working with one company gives you a single point of contact. This reduces the opportunity for error when moving from one location to another, as there is always the chance for information to get lost, overlooked, or communicated incorrectly. Keeping your project under one roof helps prevent that.
Working with a single full-service fabricator can also help reduce your lead-times. If you had your prototype designed with one type of technology but another is used for your production runs, you may lose time having to have the part redesigned or you may compromise the design of the part/assembly. You also save time by eliminating handoffs between the prototype house and the production house and can eliminate costly delays associated with moving product ideas from one shop to another. Additionally, there is no learning curve for the production house because lessons have already been learned during the prototype stage. This is crucial when trying to get a product to market quickly.
Continuity in Technology and Processes
Another benefit of working with a full-service fabrication shop is that the prototypes will be made on the same equipment as the production parts. You want a final product that looks and functions exactly like the prototype you’ve used for testing. Using two different sheet metal fabricators could mean different equipment, different capabilities, or different processes. Using the same fabricator for prototyping and production will ensure you have continuity of technology and process so that your production processes imitate those already validated in the prototyping phase. This continuity is invaluable as you can be secure in the knowledge that your parts will not have to be redesigned if your prototype shop has different machinery than your production shop.
Conversely, if you already have an existing design, having multiple services under one roof can help improve your parts. Fabricators that focus solely on prototypes are often short-sighted and are churning out parts quickly without considering design for manufacturability or assembly principles that affect long-term production. As we look at the design for manufacturability, our engineers can take their knowledge of our equipment and look for ways to change your parts to fit our machines, which can improve the part and/or lower the cost.
Both the above mentioned benefits contribute to the benefit of reduced costs. Without a production mindset, opportunities for improvement in design and production efficiency are lost, and parts cost more than they need to. In addition to this, when time to market is delayed because of handoffs and learning curves, you risk the loss of market share. Similarly, without continuity between prototyping and production, you risk increased costs associated with potential redesigns.
Why Partner With Estes?
Estes Design and Manufacturing is your one-stop-shop for sheet metal projects from conception to production, offering traditional metal fabrication services as well as 3D laser welding and product development and prototyping services. Our team can help you design your idea, prototype it, and produce it, or help to improve your existing idea. As a dedicated prototype shop, Estes Accelerator is designed to give customers quick turnaround on all of their projects and improve their speed to market. Estes Accelerator uses state-of-the-art equipment and the latest programming software to reduce product development time. We have the solution to all your sheet metal needs under one roof, so contact us today to get started!