While many sheet metal fabricators and machine shops offer powder coat finishing services, the vast majority outsource or subcontract out the work to third parties. However, there are substantial benefits to working with a fab shop that provides integrated manufacturing services, including in-house powder coating, all under one roof.
There are 5 advantages to working with a metal fabricator and machine shop that offers powder coating in-house.
Working with a metal fab and machine shop with full-range production capabilities, such as in-house powder coating, has five key advantages:
- Controlling Quality
- Minimizing Waste and Rework
- Effectiveness & Speed
- Satisfaction and Customer Service
- Savings on Costs
When powder coating services are handled in-house, metal fabricators may correctly estimate expenses for a project down to the last dollar, and there are no extra markups added by employing outsourced suppliers or vendors. Due to not having to pay more than what it truly costs to provide the service, its clients are able to save money. In-house powder coating provides fabrication shops total control over the procedure, enabling them to fully grasp the project’s requirements from the outset and confidently price it. This prevents any unwelcome surprises about the project’s expenses.
1. Controlling Quality
It may be challenging to maintain quality when powder coating is outsourced, particularly when it comes to metal finishing jobs. For example, when powder coating is carried out offsite, it is not unusual for a metal part’s surface flaws to go un-repaired and even go unpainted. This is particularly true with gloss coatings, which make it more harder to conceal scratches and other blemishes than when matte finishes are employed. Prior to painting, internal powder coating experts may find these problems or faults in the metal components and, working with the quality control team, can fix them before the parts are completed.
Beyond surface flaws, in-house powder coating can be closely supervised by a team that is aware of how the part should ultimately appear and function, allowing issues with the paint itself, like color mismatches and uneven thicknesses, to be addressed more quickly and, most often, completely avoided in the first place.
2. Minimizing Waste and Rework
Painters who operate in locations that only handle one process are less likely to have this degree of expertise in metal fabrication than those who work in a metal fab facility, which increases the risk that flaws won’t be discovered until after the metal has been painted and sent back to the fabricator for completion of other processes like assembly and integration or shipping and delivery. As a result of the discarded components and rework, this may increase fabrication costs and have a detrimental impact on lead times.
Even when shipping to and from an off-site powder coating facility, moving metal components back and forth might result in other sorts of damage. While components are being transported to the vendor, they may bump against one another, leaving scratches or other blemishes on the metal surfaces that may not be sufficiently covered by the powder coating process. Similar problems might arise when a vendor returns a product to the fabricator, but this time the outcome is damage to freshly applied paint, which results in yet another wasted component and rework.
3. Effectiveness & Speed
Moving goods to a powder coating shop increases lead times and, ultimately, slows down the product’s time to market, often by weeks. When integrated into a comprehensive project including fabricated metal and machining, in-house powder coating may be completed in as little as a day, depending on the order size.
When all manufacturing services are delivered in one location, lead-time predictions are often accurate. Exporting powder coating causes variations in those lead-time estimates, which may sometimes be a problem. Much of the control over when a component could be returned and on its way to being finished and delivered to the client is given up by the fabricator after it leaves the plant. When using an external powder coating provider, delivery estimates often include a significant amount of “wiggle room” in order to prevent disappointing consumers and losing business. Faster delivery of completed goods is achieved by using in-house powder coating, which does not call for that kind of padding to be included in estimates.
4. Satisfaction and Customer Service
When powder coating services are retained in-house, the fabrication team supervising the project is better and more thoroughly equipped to serve their clients since they are able to keep an eye on the project from start to end.
5. Savings on Costs
Also, it is simple to understand how in-house powder coating may be seen as a substantial advantage by their clients given that fully integrated metal fabrication businesses are able to produce goods of better quality quicker and at cheaper prices. Investments in value-added production techniques, such as powder coat lines, are well worth the cost for fabricators that prioritize customer satisfaction.
Why don’t most contract sheet metal fabricators provide powder coating inside their own facilities? The majority of metal fabrication businesses don’t provide in-house powder coating for two reasons:
1. The Use of Priceless Floor Space by Internal Powder Coating Lines
A powder coating line must be set up within the company, particularly if it is automated. Particularly if they just have one site, small and even mid-sized fabricators often lack the shop floor capacity to add an internal line to their facility. They probably need to provide alternative skills that will provide a larger total return when space is at a premium. Powder coating services are often outsourced, so their clients are unlikely to find the absence of internal resources to be a deal-breaker, particularly if they are not aware of the advantages of integrated manufacturing processes.
2. Powder coating lines that are automated and housed-in are expensive.
A new line might cost up to $750,000 to buy and install at one plant. While outsourcing powder coating procedures is seen as a legitimate technique, not many metal fabricators are able or willing to make such a large investment.
In essence, the small number of fabricators with in-house powder coating capabilities, like Dale Brisco Inc., have not made the investment because it is cheap or simple, but rather because they value the control it gives them over the entire manufacturing process, from engineering to delivery. Due to their ability to offer their clients with value in terms of cost, efficiency, quality, speed, and customer service, these businesses have a significant competitive edge.
While working on your next project, are you looking for a metal fabricator that has access to powder coating equipment in-house? Our American facility, located in Fowler, California, contains automated lines. We serve Fresno and all of the Central Valley. Want to learn more? Call us at 559-834-5926 or submit a quote request online.