Metal fabricators are a pillar that supports the nation’s infrastructure and economy. Countless aspects of our day-to-day life depends on some form of product fabricated from metal, whether its household appliances or critical medical technology. In short, fabricated metal products are invaluable in society, if they’ve been properly finished by a trained professional.

Why is Metal Finishing Important?

Taken on its own, raw metal has some distinct problems; without proper finishing, exposed metals can eventually corrode and tarnish. Depending on the intended use, unfinished metal-fabricated parts can be eroded by salts, weakened by ultraviolet light or rusted by rain. However, the metal fabrication industry realized many years ago that properly finishing components is essential for enhancing durability and the product’s life span.

Beyond that, correctly finishing metal-fabricated products greatly enhances aesthetics, which in turn, makes the products more valuable and pleasing to the end-user. In other words, metal finishing done right is a win for both the metal fabricator and the customer.

Powder Coating’s Impact on Fabrication

Metal fabricators didn’t always have powder coating as an option, though. In the past, fabricators opted for liquid paint; yet, this process took time, required proper conditions and performed poorly unless professionally applied.

In the 1960s, scientists perfected powder-coating, which was a new finishing process that revolutionized the metal product industry. Powder coating provided immediate advantages over previous finishing methods, giving metal fabricators and product manufacturers a leading edge.

Powder coating improves durability, while offering a premium appearance and lowering environmental impact. Over the years, powder coating has allowed metal fabricators to improve production time while increasing functional protective product properties.

How Does Powder Coating Work?

It’s crucial to understand exactly how powder coating works to fully appreciate its unique advantages. While conventional liquid paint has color pigments suspended in liquid, powder coating operates in a completely dry environment— this is an important aspect in finishing custom fabrication and coatings done through powder coating.

Here’s a brief overview of how powder coating works: dry powder receives a positive electric charge and gets sprayed under pressure to the unfinished metal object that’s grounded with a negative charge. This, in turn, creates an electrochemical change allowing molecules from the powder to attach to the metal. There’s a wide variety of powder bases including acrylic, polyester, epoxy, polyurethane or a blend of the aforementioned. The electric polarization inherent to the process allows entirely uniform coating without runs or sags.

After the fabricated metal parts have a uniform powder coating, they’re then placed in a high-temperature environment— the duration will ultimately depend on powder materials, and temperatures can range up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Powder-coated products are fully cured when they’re removed from the oven and can be used immediately.

Powder coating allows for complex geometric shapes to be easily coated with uniform coverage. Upon completion, powder-coated pieces have a solid, molecularly-dense, protective outer layer.

Unique Benefits of Powder Coating

Powder coating finish has a multitude of benefits over other available finishing options. Powder coating, performed by a professional, makes finished surfaces resistant to scratching, fading, wearing, and chipping. Beyond that, powder-coated metal products won’t corrode or rust, maintaining a new appearance throughout the product lifecycle. Powder coating also helps to make products nearly maintenance-free under normal usage, as there isn’t a need for repainting.

Powder-coated metal finishes stack up well when compared to other finish techniques. Since powder coating uses less equipment, requires less application time and takes up fewer raw materials, it’s a less expensive process than alternatives like plating and conventional painting. Powder coating is indeed a reliable process, reducing the amount of rejected work. It’s a cleaner, smoother and superior process than other finishing methods. Powder coating is environmentally-friendly, safe and cost-effective finishing. It’s no surprise that powder coating has such a superior advantage in the metal finishing industry.

It’s crucial to do your research when choosing a metal fabrication expert, as not all companies are capable of completing the same quality of work. Yarbrough Industries has years of experience here in Springfield, honing our skills across the board to deliver a quality product and measurable bottom-line value to our customers.

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There are many different methods that metal fabricators use to cut metal, but laser cutting is one of the most advanced techniques. A laser cutter’s ability to make precise cuts at speeds unmatched by other flat sheet cutting methods makes it one of the best sheet metal fabrication choices. There are several benefits to this method of cutting, including:

Competitive Pricing

Laser cutting is a highly automated process, making labor costs minimal when compared to hand-operated machinery. Since costs associated with sheet metal fabrication include labor, operation and machine expenses, this is an important factor to consider. The operating costs and machine costs are fairly average compared to other cutting techniques.

Generally, companies will find that outsourcing laser cutting for their sheet metal fabrication is the most effective option for most projects. Laser-cutting machines can be quite expensive, and most companies find that it is easier and less expensive to outsource this aspect of their fabrication process. 

One of the great things about laser cutters is that there are no dull or worn blades to worry about, making die changeovers a thing of the past. This also means that by placing larger orders, you can reduce costs tremendously, as the automated system does the mapping and planning for each additional piece. 

Although laser cutting isn’t the cheapest cutting technology available, it’s more than affordable for most projects. It has some major benefits over other cutting forms, such as water jet cutting or hand cutting processes.

Unrivaled Speed, Efficiency & Automation

A laser cutting machine can move as quickly as 1,000 holes per minute. Of course, the exact speed will vary depending on the tolerances and intricacy of the parts.

CNC controls typically run laser cutting. The formulas entered into the computer mean each part and product is identically fabricated, leading to fewer defects per batch.

Quality Precision

Laser cutting can create tiny cuts at tight tolerances. However, that’s the tradeoff: the more precision you want, the slower the laser will move. Yet, this highly detailed capability is unique to laser cutting. So, laser cutting is the only type of cutting that will get the job done well if you require intricate cuts.

Beyond that, all laser-cut edges and curves are smooth, sharp, and clean, which means there is very little, if any, burring because the laser melts rather than physically cuts the metal.

The only thing to consider is if your project requires very thick sheets of metal – thicker metals affect the cut’s quality, and a laser will leave some dross (melted metal scum) behind on thick metals. Aside from this dross, there is little to no clean-up involved in the majority of laser cutting projects.

Versatility

The combination of cost, speed, automation, and precision makes laser cutting a great choice for any size product or project. This makes many routine tasks/projects easy, including prototypes, industrial orders, delicate designs, and larger cutouts. Lasers are capable of making holes, slots, tabs, and other cut fabrications with no interruption of the cutting process. The incredible precision allows for tight tolerances on intricately detailed designs. If your project doesn’t require tight tolerances, the laser can move quickly and produce parts at incredible speeds. This makes laser cutting a fantastic choice for a wide spectrum of projects.

Yarbrough Industries is proud to offer laser cutting services for your next fabrication product. We can fabricate any order, whether it includes prototypes, components, or final assemblies. We adhere to the belief that high-quality results can only be achieved through the use of high-quality equipment. Laser cutting offers the ability to cut through various materials and thicknesses at high speeds, producing extremely precise and accurate cuts.

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Metal fabrication is a small part of the metal manufacturing industry. There are many different types of manufacturing processes, including:

  • Forging
  • Smelting
  • Blacksmithing
  • Casting
  • Stamping
  • Painting
  • Roll Forming
  • Heat Treating
  • Structural Fabrication
  • Machining
  • Metal Fabrication

As you can imagine, the wide variety involved in metal manufacturing can be overwhelming. Metal fabrication, by itself, has many subcategories and niches that would be impossible to comprehensively list. Some different categories of metal fabrication you might encounter are heavy industrial plate metal, light industrial sheet metal, heavy structural steel, and light structural steel fabrication.  

Heavy Industrial Plate Metal Fabrication

This type of fabrication might include enormous plate steel, sometimes 1”-4” thick (even heavier) and fabrication processes like plasma cutting, rolling, welding, heat treating, and finishing. Finished products that involve heavy industrial plate metal fabrication might include mining equipment, pressure vessels, and tanks.

Light Industrial Sheet Metal Fabrication

This type could include smaller weighted metal-like materials ranging from 1/32” – 1/2” and fabrication processes like Laser Cutting, Brake Forming, Welding, Anodizing, and Painting. The products produced using this type of fabrication might be Computer Enclosures, Cases, and OEM Parts.

Heavy Structural Steel Fabrication

These fabrication processes are done with sawing cutting, plasma cutting, drilling, welding, sandblasting, and painting. This process deals with structural iron and beams that weigh several hundred pounds or more per foot. You can see the results of heavy structural steel fabrication, check out skyscrapers, large bridges and tunnel supports. 

Light Structural Steel Fabrication

This can include structural tube, angle and beams that weigh less than a hundred pounds per foot.  Fabrication processes would typically be similar to heavy structural steel processes, but the products created would be Small Buildings, Small Bridges, Platforms, and Supports.

Metal Fabrication Versus Machining

Metal fabrication is a term that typically refers to manufacturing that includes cutting, forming, rolling, sawing and welding metal. However, it is not to be confused with machining. There is a bit of crossover with the two, but machining usually includes more detailed work such as milling, lathing, routing, and polishing and is typically a part of the manufacturing industry. 

In addition, fabrication usually works with manufacturing tolerances at .010” – .030” whereas machining works with tolerances all the way down to .005” (and even smaller in many cases). 

Advancements in Metal Fabrication

Metal fabrication, like all manufacturing industries, has transformed over the years as technology has become more advanced. This began with the Computer Numerically Controlled, CNC, machines. These types of machines, combined with Computer Aided Drafting, CAD, revolutionized the metal fabrication industry.

Prior to the invention of CNC and CAD, hand layouts and calculator math were the tools used by craftsmen to layout and calculate fabricated parts. Machines had manual gauges that would be fine-tuned by hand as the technician moved stops, dialed back gauges and tweaked settings.

However, those days are long gone and programs are now generated automatically from CAD drawings and sent, via computer and code, directly to the various machines. Lasers can cut metal like butter, brake forming machines can tell you which order to sequence your bends and robotic welders can weld endless amounts of wire throughout the night. Metal fabrication is still an enormous part of everyday life and most of us see it, or use it, without even knowing as much. Light rail transit cars, automobiles, snowblowers, electrical panels, guardrails, signs, etc. Metal fabrication is everywhere!

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When you need to hire a machine shop, it’s important to work with someone you can trust to get the job done right the first time. Working with a local company makes this much more likely. But why?

A local machine shop offers several advantages. When you are weighing your options, consider the following benefits of working with someone in your own backyard and what you should look for when doing so:

    • You can be more specific: Clear communication and detailed specifics are essential to getting the end result you desire. Being able to deliver this information in person allows you to make sure your parameters are accurately conveyed and your machine shop understands exactly what you need. You can specify the tolerances needed and work with the local company to achieve accurate measurements and optimal results. 
    • You can make roughness smooth: An important aspect of your project is determining the desired roughness of the surface. Do you want smooth components, with a very polished surface? This depends greatly on the functionality of the parts. A local professional can explain how the roughness will affect the performance of your equipment and work with you to decide what roughness is best for your project.
    • You can choose wisely: The materials you use for your manufacturing affect the final durability and performance. It also greatly affects the cost of production. Your local machine shop will review your options with you and let you personally examine various materials to determine which is best. You may even be able to look at similar products the shop has made in the past to make an informed comparison.
    • You can enjoy savings: A local shop can save you both time and money. Enjoy a smaller budget by saving on delivery costs. Complete your project faster by cutting out delivery wait times. By working with someone local, you won’t be wondering where your parts are in transit or when the project will be completed.
    • You can be involved: When you work with a local machine shop, you can be actively involved in the manufacturing process. This will provide peace of mind and a better overall experience with production.
    • You can complete the process: Once the machine shop has designed and manufactured your piece, they can also install it. It is typically easier for the same professionals who created the part to also perform the installation. Working with someone local makes this possible.
    • You can help your community: Obviously, we all want to do what we can to ensure that the community we live in is becoming better every year. Working with a local business helps your own community and you know that they will provide reliable, timely service to keep their reputation spotless.

Shop local with Yarbrough Industries! You’ll enjoy the advantages of working with a local machine shop right here in the heart of the Ozarks while receiving the best quality from some of the top professionals in the industry. Reach out to us today with any questions or to get started on your next project.

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In every area of life, we are all looking for ways to save money, cut costs, and squeeze out every penny when it comes to our budget. No matter if it’s a trip to the grocery store, buying a car, or looking to repurpose an abandoned warehouse for something new, we all want the best quality at the best price possible. There are situations where the best price isn’t necessarily the lowest, but knowing the difference will give you the confidence you need to make an informed decision.

This is especially true when it comes to metal fabrication. Although there may not be coupons or weekly ads to compare prices, when you begin getting the bids for a job, it becomes a heavy task to sift through the facts and figures to try to ensure you are hiring the right fabricator or welder for the job. Every job has many different factors that have to be considered, but typically the bid’s total dollar amount is one of the most things you can look at.

When you are getting ready to request bids on an upcoming project, here are a few tips that can help keep estimates low and lead times short. Keep in mind, these are suggestions and you can alter each of them to fit your specifications and needs at any particular time.

 

Provide shop-ready drawings.

By providing your own drawings, you can eliminate the engineering process that many fabrication companies spend additional money on while forming their estimated bid.

Provide a completion date. 

Every fabrication company has a different workload based on multiple factors. This means that your desired delivery date will impact their bid price and ability to fit the project into their schedule.

Provide addresses and contacts.

It is not uncommon for fabricators to do a majority of the work on-site, which can help shorten lead times considerably. By having this information upfront, you allow each metal shop to determine a closer estimate of their costs based on the specifications of the job site.

Provide load specifications if possible. 

These include specs for tension, environmental loads, equipment limitations or restrictions, or even equipment cut sheets. This can provide them with valuable information on how they will be pricing your bid and if they will need to custom order anything.

Provide engineering drawings

Provide engineering drawings or basic arrangement drawings if possible. Once again, these small things allow estimators to have a clearer picture of the project in its entirety. That enables them to provide a more realistic bid total. Plus, their bid total won’t need to include costs related to this prep work.

Provide any plans and profiles available.

To reiterate for the third time, the more information you can provide prior to getting the bid, the more realistic and accurate that bid will be.

If you are ever in doubt about what you should provide, always err on the side of too much. Communication is key to more precise bids and the more detail you include, the closer to a factual total you will end up with. As an interested customer, the more information you can provide upfront, the better.

Another thing it is important to remember when you are considering a fabrication job is that if you need to make any major changes to these pre-stated specifications AFTER a job begins, it can extend the completion date out beyond the deadline and tack on extra costs that weren’t accounted for in the contingency figures. By being prepared in advance and knowing what you want from the start, your metal fabricator can actually get to work and complete the project as efficiently as possible.

Need to Request for Quote from Yarbrough Industries? Contact us anytime!

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High-quality welds are the best way to ensure a successful metal fabrication project. Every single weld is important as they build on each other to ensure the final product’s structural integrity and longevity. Without sufficient welding quality control, mistakes can compromise the entire custom metal fabrication.

There are many ways that welding mistakes can cause disastrous and costly consequences. Even minuscule holes can invite rust, and poorly-fused welds can lead to breaks, eventually causing things like product failure or failure to meet OSHA industrial access regulations or industry-specific requirements.

Properly trained welders, along with a well-documented WPS program, can prevent project mishaps and delays.

Finding a company

Finding a company that you can trust could be a challenge if you don’t know what to look for. Welding Procedure Specifications are a great way to determine the quality of the work you will receive. Having Welding Procedure Specifications is essential for every welding company because it maintains quality standards across every weld. It isn’t just a nice guide to follow. Under various international standards, a WPS is required to ensure a stable weld.

No matter how experienced your welding company appears to be, you shouldn’t rely on them to simply guess the best way to accomplish a specific weld. They should provide you with a list of specifications that guarantee their welders can execute an excellent weld in any situation. To maintain consistently high standards, you should look for a Welding Procedure Specification for every type of weld you require for your project.

WHAT IS A Welding Procedure Specification?

A Welding Procedure Specification, or WPS, is a formal written document describing standard welding procedures.

Like a recipe for welders, these procedures provide clear direction for welders to make quality products up to code and industry standards. They will include any details and information that are required to make the desired weld.

These are proven and tested procedures that include but are not limited to information such as the materials needed, the tools required, the processes to follow, the techniques they employ and finally, confirmation of the desired outcome.

A WPS goes beyond knowing you will get a great weld. Although a WPS will ensure the welded components meet design requirements, it can also help you determine what company you should go with when hiring someone to create your product. Knowing a company’s welders have skills that are in line with a particular WPS can give you peace of mind and ensure your product will pass inspection and do exactly what it should.

WHY YOU NEED A Welding Procedure Specification

A company that has an established process to ensure their welders follow Welding Procedure Specifications means you know what you will get without having to see the finished product. Because the WPS should record all pertinent welding information, such as plate dimensions, material type, and welder and operator identifications, it is easy to guarantee the quality of the work.

Here at Yarbrough Industries, we hold our welders to the highest standard. We can provide Welding Procedure Specifications for the most common welding types, including MIG, TIG, welding of carbon steels, stud welding, and welding stainless steels for structural purposes. We are also willing to create a custom WPS for your product when the basics aren’t enough.

At Yarbrough Industries, we only employ certified, safety-conscious welders as part of our documented quality control program. Our Quality Control program adheres to industry-specific safety standards, such as material thickness, in each custom metal fabrication. We provide our clients with the documentation for every fabrication, including quality inspection and detailed photographs. Our dedicated manager ensures every metal fabrication meets or exceeds safety and quality standards.

If you’re ready to work with a custom metal fabricator that practices what they preach when it comes to welding quality, give us a chance to say, “Yes, we can do that!” by contacting us today.

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There are many choices when you are looking for a metal fabricator that has the capabilities and services you need for your next project. But how do you determine which one will be the best fit for you? What is important to look for? What sets one company apart from the rest?

These are the characteristics that will help you distinguish between a competent fabricator and an exceptional metal fabrication partner.

1. Experience Matters

A company with years of experience under their belts will have the knowledge to help you make strategic decisions regarding product design and fabrication needs. When you partner with an experienced company, you will be backed by the knowledge and expertise of people who can make the best recommendations while keeping them realistic. They can guide you in everything from structural aesthetics to functionality.

2. Invested In Your Success

When choosing a partner for your metal fabrication needs, you should look for someone who is personally invested in your success, beginning to end.  When you have a partner who has watched your product evolve and helped refine your designs, they will be far more invested in creating an effective product. Effectual product design begins with an expert partner who can guide you through the entire product development cycle.

3. Innovation Is Imperative

The way a company approaches a new project can set them apart when you are looking for the right fit. A company with an innovative approach to projects will stand out from the commoditized competition by differentiating itself through value-driven fabrication. No matter if you are looking for a simple consultation on product development or needing full metal fabrication project management, the partner you choose should constantly evaluate the product’s functionality, cost-effectiveness and structural integrity. 

4. Cost-Consciousness

The company you choose to partner with should have a proactive cost avoidance approach. Avoiding unseen costs due to scope creep is important as you work through your project. It is a common occurrence for metal fabrication products, so identifying a fabrication partner that will help you reduce material, assembly and shipping costs, as well as holding and handling costs, a ballooning scope—and bill—can be avoided. To be successful, it is critical that your fabrication partner commits to understanding all aspects of your supply chain operations.

5. Multiple Material Suppliers

When a metal fabricator buys from multiple suppliers, they are able to negotiate for material prices and products on your behalf and to your benefit. Having multiple suppliers also means they can buy, ship, store and process the steel in-house, which helps considerably when you need high-volume projects and achieving economies of scale. multiple suppliers, they are able to source materials that best suit your application. The flexibility to purchase large quantities at reduced prices OR specialty material for your non-typical project means you will get exactly what you need at the best possible rate.  

Choosing the best metal fabrication partner is critical to the overall strength of your business. By taking the time to identify and partner with a strategic, useful, all-in-one metal fabricator, you’ll notice a difference in production cost, effectiveness and efficiency. Don’t settle for anything short of first-class service and reliability.

Yarbrough Industries is here to provide the experience and service you need to ensure your project’s success. 

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Yarbrough Industries had a new Cincinnati press brake “flown in” to provide even higher quality bent parts at competitive prices.  This new machine is the perfect complement to their laser, water jet, welding and other fabrication equipment.  Now is a great time to contact Yarbrough for a quote on your parts or assemblies.

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This industry moves fast, but you can move even faster if you’re up to date on trends, technical developments, and best practices. The Yarbrough Industries blog is a go-to source for valuable, timely and detailed information. Sign up to ensure that you don’t miss a single post.