You might be at the point in your industrial business where you want to start custom-designing your steel or other metal pieces. A fabrication shop can be a valuable, trusted partner in getting those pieces completed, but you need to ask the following three questions before you agree to any contracts or place any orders.

Do You Offer Design Feedback?

Even if you have an in-house team to work on the design aspect of your metal pieces, fabrication shop workers who see thousands of pieces go through their doors may be able to offer hands-on help that makes your pieces better. For example, they might recommend that cold-rolled steel is used rather than a stainless version, which could mean that your project ends up costing less. They may double-check the clearances you've set to ensure that there won't be a problem with the completed pieces. Before placing an order anywhere, ask about the help that a shop might be able to offer. They will also be able to help you select appropriate finishes so that your pieces can be durable; for example, they might suggest anti-corrosive finishes or additional finishes to ensure that the pieces can resist multiple abrasions or high temperatures.

Do You Offer Laser Cutting?

Laser cutting is being used with more frequency for many reasons. Your software design can be uploaded within moments and the laser can smoothly cut the pieces you need, often eliminating the need for additional fabrication work on edges. If you discover changes must be made, all you need to do is upload a new design to the machine. This process can sometimes be much more expensive than the alternatives, however, so make sure you talk about this option with any company you're thinking of going with.

What is the Shop's Workload Like?

While a busy, successful fabrication shop may be what you want, if they are constantly overbooked and have too many projects going on at once, that could mean delays for you. Be sure to inquire about their current workload and how they can ensure your project will be done on time. You might also ask for periodic updates.

Being able to discuss the questions listed above can give you the insight you need to select a good fabrication shop to team up with. Spend time consulting a local shop like Garelick Steel so you can be sure you're getting affordable, knowledgeable assistance with the metal pieces you order.