- Complex assemblies require machining, testing, hand finishing and mechanical assembly – not just welding.
- Look for a provider with the proper controlled environment, including clean room and cleaning facilities for assembly and test.
- Robust QMS ensures tests are performed properly and documented fully.
Not all fabricated assemblies are created equal. While it may not be difficult to find competent fabricators for basic tubular frames, tanks or plates, great care must be taken when sourcing the services of a fabricator for more complex, technical or detailed assemblies.
For highly technical steel, stainless steel, aluminum or exotic alloy fabrications, a typical weld shop may not be the right fit. Vacuum chambers, ASME code pressure vessels, and process chambers all require multiple process steps, such as machining, testing, hand finishing, and mechanical assembly, not just welding.
This type of precision fabrication work may also call for manufacturing engineering and test engineering expertise. Experience with specific materials of construction are important to enable the fabricator to qualify to those materials. For vacuum and other applications that require the elimination of contaminants, it’s important for the proper machine lubricants to be utilized and for non-ferrous metals to be separated from steel.
In some of these instances it’s also necessary to have the proper controlled environment and clean room and cleaning facilities for assembly and testing. For higher volume production of precision fabrications, the proper equipment such as robotic welding cells and high-speed machine tools may be necessary.
A robust quality management system must also be in place to assure that critical welds, inspections and tests are performed properly and documented fully. The complex and multi-step nature of this fabrication calls for rigorous project management to ensure schedule and cost targets are met.
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