An Introduction to Custom Metal Fabrication Quality Control

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Quality control for custom metal fabrication is a crucial part of the process. Without high standards and well-thought-out quality control procedures, metal fabricators will find it extremely challenging to meet customer expectations.

Because custom metal fabrication often involves multiple processes, it is critical to have well-documented quality control procedures. Any shop manuals should include quality standards and inspections policies for drawings and specifications, welding procedures, welder qualifications, materials, welding inspections, and handling, storage, and shipping.

At Southern Metal Fabricators (SMF), we combine our quality guidelines and procedures with information obtained from our customers to create products that meet and exceed their expectations.

Here is some insight into how we manage quality control at our industrial metal fabrication facility.

Quality Control Personnel

At SMF, our Quality Control Manager is responsible for implementing the appropriate quality control procedures. In addition, the Quality Control Manager has direct access to the President/CEO whenever there is a concern about the quality of any products we produce. Along with access to the President/CEO, the Quality Control Manager can also rely on the cooperation of the Shop Manager and Engineering Manager to resolve any issues that are discovered.

At SMF, quality control is a team effort. The Purchasing Department, for example, is charged with ordering materials that satisfy contract requirements and any applicable codes and standards. Meanwhile the Shop Manager is responsible for the distribution of appropriate information to shop personnel, scheduling necessary personnel time and equipment, and coordinating production managers so that finished products are manufactured and shipped in accordance with project specifications and our quality standards.

Drawings & Specifications

A successful project starts with high-quality engineering drawings and specifications. In this area, our Engineering Manager has latitude to make adjustments to drawings and specifications based on quality and/or regulatory standards.

Once the Quality Control Manager reviews plans from Engineering, the Shop Manager and Quality Control Manager work together to complete the project.

Materials

To monitor our suppliers, we require that our raw material vendors provide markings on materials that verify:

  • The manufacturer or trade name
  • Material thickness
  • ASTM specification
  • Heat No. traceable to the Mill Test Report (MTR)
  • Domestic production (e.g., “Melted and manufactured in the USA”)

Welding

At SMF, Welding Procedure Specifications (WPS) are planned by and qualified with the Quality Control Manager. He is then responsible for recording all the pertinent information and variables used in preparing the Welding Procedure Qualification test specimen. He also oversees the preparation of the test coupons and verifies and records the test results. All parameters involved in welding are recorded.

SMF only uses qualified welders and the Quality Control Manager and the Shop Manager are responsible for maintaining a performance qualification file for each welder, tacker, and welding operator.

All aspects of welding at SMF are periodically monitored by the Quality Control Managers’ personnel as well as the welder’s supervisor. If any systematic error is discovered, the Quality Control Manager confers with production management to decide on actions that will be taken to resolve the issue.

Shop assembled main members are inspected for:

  • Dimensional accuracy
  • Distortion (twist, flatness, etc.)
  • Bolt hole accuracy and edge distances
  • Match-marking of mating parts and correct location of all piece marks
  • Removal of burrs and splatter

Handling, Storage & Shipping

Once a product is complete, our quality control efforts don’t stop. We diligently make sure each piece is properly marked and identified. They are placed on skids or platforms or otherwise properly stored to prevent damage. And materials are always securely blocked to prevent any damage in shipping.

Improperly handling, storing, or shipping your final product can negate many of our previous quality control efforts so we take these steps very seriously.

Our Quality Control Goals

Southern Metal Fabricators Inc. is committed to meet the requirements of customers, while producing a quality, affordable product, with dependable delivery. We pride ourselves on the reliable service and quality of the finished product.”

We have been producing quality custom metal fabricated products from our facility in Albertville, Alabama for over 26 years. We work in wide-ranging industries including petroleum, marine, agriculture, and many others.

If you would like to know more about our standards of quality or our capabilities, we invite you to contact us at Southern Metal Fabricators.