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How Custom Fabrication Strengthens Manufacturing Supply Chains

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Custom fabrication isn’t just about converting materials. It’s about strengthening your supply chain. Learn how custom fabrication improves quality, controls costs, and meets demanding requirements.

Custom fabrication is a type of manufacturing that turns stock items or materials into finished parts or products. Typically, these  items or materials are made of rubber, plastic, metal, concrete, or wood, and are supplied in standard forms such as sheets, rolls, tubes, rods, billets, bars, extrusions, and slabs. Custom fabricators use many different types of production equipment to cut materials to size, and some companies also offer value-added services such as joining and assembly.

A custom fabricator’s capabilities determine whether parts and products can be supplied in low, medium, or high-volume quantities. Global companies like Elasto Proxy have a network of warehouses, and can release custom fabricated products according to customer sales forecasts. We can also ship finished products on demand. Custom fabrication thus adds flexibility to the manufacturing supply chain, but does it add value to your operations? Industrial buyers and product designers need to consider a variety of factors, especially during vendor selection.

Technical Knowledge and Manufacturing Expertise

Industrial Rubber Products from Elasto Proxy Industrial Rubber Products from Elasto Proxy

For starters, buyers and designers need to understand that custom fabricators don’t make the stock items or materials that they convert. Instead, these contract manufacturers buy stock in standard forms from suppliers such as rubber compounders, plastics distributors, steel foundries, and concrete manufacturers. That’s why it’s important to choose a custom fabricator with a strong supplier network, and who can source what you need when other parts of the supply chain contract.

Experienced custom fabricators can and do help with material selection. They can also suggest improvements to your product designs. In this way, a custom fabricator can serve as an extension of your own engineering department. Manufacturing expertise is readily available, too. By suggesting the most efficient and cost-effective production techniques, a custom fabricator can help you to control costs and improve quality. That’s why Elasto Proxy recommends water jet cutting for fine, fast cuts without tooling charges.

Specialty Products and Value-Added Services

Water Jet Cutting from Elasto Proxy Water Jet Cutting from Elasto Proxy

Buyers and designers need to understand that custom fabricators don’t make standard parts and products like you’d find at your local hardware store, or that are available from a general industrial distributor. For example, Elasto Proxy custom-fabricates rubber door seals for passenger rail cars. We don’t make the rubber, we don’t install the door seals, and we don’t sell these seals to general industrial buyers. So how does custom fabrication add value to the railcar builder’s operations? The rubber products that we supply meet specific mass transit industry requirements, including resistance to flame, smoke, and toxicity (FST).

Cutting materials with speed and accuracy is important, but custom fabrication is about more than just converting stock forms into specialty shapes. That’s why Elasto Proxy applies its design knowledge and application expertise. It’s also why we provide taping services to create “peel and stick” gaskets that arrive at your facility ready-to-install. This saves time on your assembly line and reduces the material waste that can occur when installers need to cut materials to size and then apply adhesives.

Make It or Buy It? The Business Case for Custom Fabrication

What are your company’s manufacturing costs? What are your opportunity costs? Do you need low-to-medium volume quantities of specialty seals, gaskets, or insulation? Now that you’ve read more about custom fabrication, it’s time to apply these lessons to your own operations. Download Elasto Proxy’s Make It or Buy It? e-book, and then contact us with questions about building the business case for custom fabrication. How can we help you?

Make It or Buy It