Fabrication projects can be a big investment. An investment that requires planning, budget setting and monitoring, and ongoing process analysis.
Numerous variables are involved in metal fabrication, which creates fluctuating prices and costs.
However, knowing the cost behind fabrication, what it entails, and ultimately where your money is going can help you to understand the true value of fabrication and also help you in managing your budgets and your bottom line effectively.
How much does metal fabrication cost?
With metal fabrication, there is no one cost-fits-all approach, as depending on your project requirements and specifications will depend on the fabrication processes required, how long the project will take to complete, the man-hours required, etc.
Factors that affect metal fabrication costs include:
This includes both human and mechanical and looks at what it actually takes to produce the part. For example, how many employees will the entire process involve? What level of skill and expertise is required? Of course, the more specialised a trades’ person is, the more their time will cost, and the more complex and challenging your design, the more highly skilled labour you may need.
For example, are they proficient in CAD/CAM software? Do they have streamlined, agile processes that make them more cost-effective and efficient?
Then comes machine labour, which also impacts costs. For example, how long will materials take to process? Considering design specifications and even the thickness and durability of materials, as this will all affect machine time, which in turn affects costs.
Depending on the fabrication processes required will depend on what machinery is used.
(Check out our latest post on metal stamping vs fabrication and the pros and cons of each process).
The area of sourcing raw materials is where you will see the most fluctuations in cost as raw materials are significantly affected by what is happening in the market and if there are any disruptions to supply chains, which will be translated into fluctuating costs to you.
In addition, what type of materials do you want to use? Aluminium, stainless steel, carbon steel? Are various alloys to be included? What about metal thickness?
Professional and experienced metal fabricators can help you choose the most suitable and appropriate material for your project, advising on the various costs of the different types of materials available.
The complexity of your design, detailed specification, or the requirement for refined parts will all affect processes and production; hence, it will also affect cost.
For example, a project that requires more cuts, shaping, and milling will cost more than one that simply involves drilling.
Do you require specialist machinery or prototypes?
All fabrication projects also need to go through the process of design, prototyping, and testing, which is an area of cost that should be built into budgets.
If you require a high degree of accuracy and the design is complex, requiring more time, your metal fab costs will increase as a result.
The more parts there are to your project, the more costly this particular fabrication project will be. The price per unit will fall for large-volume productions where products are easily fabricated. However, for large volume, complex fabrication requirements the price per unit will be more expensive.
However, for most parts, larger volumes can optimise the metal fabrication process as fabricators can maximise efficiency and reduce waste while also seeking to reduce costs through bulk material ordering.
Do you require certificates, inspections, testing, auditing, and traceability of materials?
All of these elements can add to the cost of a project. But, they will also provide you with peace of mind that your chosen metal fabricator has the required capabilities, with well-documented processes and procedures.
Do the final fabricated parts require polishing, painting, powder coating, embossing, etc?
This will all be dependent on your project needs, and some projects will require more detailed finishing than others, so they will incur more costs.
You will also have to bear in mind the project’s requirements, i.e., do you require rust or chemical resistance? Does the product have to be durable? Be a particular colour, etc.?
Delivery and shipping costs can sometimes be a forgotten expense if not factored in from the start. What’s more, you will also need to consider whether you require custom-designed packaging and the associated costs of this.
Metal Fabricators Near Me
No one likes costly surprises, so knowing what you’re getting into before your project starts is important.
By understanding the underlying factors affecting the overall cost of fabrication projects, you can plan budgets accordingly, highlighting the areas that have the largest impact and where you can increase or decrease costs accordingly.
Identifying the parameters of your project and exactly what’s involved can help to determine the best estimation of costs for your metal fabrication project.
Helping you to make effective choices, our team works with you on all areas of the fabrication process. We provide detailed quotes and estimations, and we only work with tried and trusted suppliers for material costs.