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How To Minimise Waste In Sheet Metal Fabrication
25 September 2015
Reducing waste is a key business imperative for organisations involved in the steel and metal fabrication industries.
Waste represents a tangible loss of resources which translates into increased costs and lost revenue, so whether it’s minimising wasted materials or keeping a lid on unnecessary consumption of energy or water, every step of the manufacturing process needs to be carefully investigated for opportunities to reduce waste.
Reducing waste is as imperative for the fabricators themselves as it is for their customers, because the end result will be a more productive, profitable organisation which is able to reduce the final cost of their products – and therefore deliver better value to their clients.
This article investigates ways that sheet metal fabricators can minimise the amount of material wasted – and by doing so, how they can reduce their operating costs, improve their margins, reduce the costs of disposing of their waste material and ultimately deliver cost-benefits to customers and improve the long-term sustainability of their business.
Professional sheet metal fabricators understand that if they are to achieve material savings, they need to know what their material use rate is and where their best opportunities to save costs are. It’s important for them to examine their inventory and to question whether savings may be possible through holding a smaller inventory or by buying sheet metal in smaller sizes or in larger quantities which may reduce transport and storage costs.
With sheet metal fabrication, one of the keys to reducing waste is improving the usage of the material. This could be anything from using the trimmed sections to produce additional parts, batching parts together that have similar straight edges or radii and using the ‘hole’ of a part to create additional items.
Another good strategy to reduce waste in sheet metal fabrication is to use higher grade material that would otherwise have been scrapped to create filler parts that would normally be made from a new piece of lower grade material. This can result in less wastage of higher grade material – with the added benefit of reduced costs.
For many steel fabrication companies, a certain amount of scrap is unavoidable – but the trick is to continually investigate ways of minimising wastage and improve efficiencies. Automation and technology both go a long way in minimising waste during the fabrication process – and a professional sheet metal fabricator will continually invest in manufacturing processes and equipment to ensure their ongoing competitiveness. For example, a fabricator using sophisticated CNC equipment or laser cutters can maximise the number of items or forms made from a single metal sheet due to the precision accuracy of the equipment – and are therefore able to minimise the amount of waste material. Advanced software can also help to maximise the usage of materials. As far as possible, leftover remnants should be retained and used wherever possible.
If you’re looking for a specialist in sheet metal fabrication in Perth that doesn’t waste raw materials unnecessarily and pass on those extra costs to customers, WA Steel in Bassendean is the name to remember. They use a variety of processes and strategies to ensure that they minimise waste and deliver superior quality and cost-effective products to their customers. One of their focus areas is ongoing investment in the latest manufacturing equipment and technology – and this has put them at the forefront of steel and sheet metal fabrication technology in Perth.
WA Steel specialise in a range of metal fabrication including steel, stainless steel and aluminium fabrication and to find out more about their total manufacturing solutions, you can either call them on 08 9377 3778 or visit their website, www. wasteel.com.au.