Sep 30 2020
For years, custom metal fabricators have handled the fabricating part of a project and farmed out powder coating to a subcontractor. For some shops, it makes perfect sense. If there are local coating services that do good work, subcontracting it out can save them a lot in overhead. If they outsource this step, they don’t have to invest in the equipment and staff necessary to offer powder coating in-house.
This is common practice because it's not as easy as investing in some equipment and hiring a guy to operate it. Powder coating and wet coating can seem deceptively easy, but the truth is doing it well requires training and experience. As the last stage in the process, any errors in the coating stage could mean taking the fabrication all the way back to the beginning of the process. That equates to lost productivity and real costs in re-making the custom fabrication.
Why Powder Coat?
Not all custom metal fabrication requires powder-coating, but there are significant reasons to have the service performed.
- Corrosion Resistance
Powder coating is an advanced technique, with pretty much every advantage over other coating choices. Because powder coating resists scratching, wearing, chipping, or fading, custom fabrication that is powder-coated retains a like-new appearance throughout its life cycle.
In-House vs. Third-Party Coating Services
Regardless of the hurdles that must be cleared to bring a previously outsourced process in-house, some custom metal fabricators are making the leap for a myriad of reasons.
Chief among them is increased control of both quality and project timelines. Simply put, the custom shops that have taken the plunge and brought powder coating in-house have done so not because it's easy to do, but because it gives them a distinct advantage over the entire project.
When estimating cost and production times for the fabrication, shops talk in hours and days, not weeks. However, when a third-party powder coater enters the picture, those timelines slow down drastically. Obviously, the off-site powder-coating professional isn't necessarily focused on only the work your fabricator is providing.
That results in the metal fabricator giving a timeline that is completely out of their control. Production time becomes subject to transport time, and once the piece heads out the door, they relinquish control of the delivery date. That brings uncertainty into the equation. For fabricators that stake their reputation on customer service, that can be a hard pill to swallow.
Cost issues also rear their ugly head when powder coating is being handled by a third party. In-house coating operations can be estimated down to the dollar, with no need to factor in wiggle room. Fabricators that offer in-house coating, therefore, have better cost control and can provide an estimate they are really confident in.
In-House Offers the Real Advantages
The bottom line is that relying on a custom fabricator with in-house powder coating capabilities gives you the advantage of:
- Accurate project cost estimate.
- Accurate project timeline.
- Quality assurance and control.
Because of the processes involved in powder coating, having a shop in-house makes custom metal fabrication projects run smoothly. As the final step in the fabrication process, in-house powder-coating allows project managers to oversee the entire project from beginning to end, and quality management leads to successful projects.
All costs will be known up-front, meaning you have a better idea of what you are getting for your money. Having their name on the entire piece means it's entirely their reputation at stake. There's also clearer communication throughout the entire process, with no games of telephone going on from customer to fabricator to coater.
Swanton Welding offers in-house painting and coating services because we want to deliver the best in custom metal fabrication and customer service to our customers. You know when you work with us you'll receive high quality service throughout the entire project. We're proud of the reputation we’ve built nationwide. Contact us today to learn more about our in-house powder coating capabilities and complete custom metal fabrication services.