When you commission formed metal components for your facility, you expect custom hardware that will operate consistently and reliably for years or decades. These pieces are not interchangeable or mass-produced, and represent a significant investment in an enduring project. Metal fabrication is, in short, a serious commitment.

It can also be an intimidating and confusing industry, governed by inside professional knowledge that may seem confusing and inaccessible even to those familiar with heavy industry and engineering. What, then, should one look for when choosing a fabrication company? Fortunately, a few simple questions can tell you a great deal of what you need to know about a fabrication service, as long as you know to ask them: What do you have? What do you do with it? Who are you? What do you provide?

What do you have?

To get anything done, you need tools, and those tools will have a lot to do with what you do and how you do it. A fabricator’s work can be no better than the equipment at their disposal. Be ready to ask any company about the quality and condition of their tools, as well as the quantity. Do they have a full range of equipment, and do they have enough of each piece to keep up with demand? Or, do they lack sufficient duplicate pieces, and will that lack form a bottleneck in your time-sensitive supply chain? SES’s 27,000 square foot facility in Colonial Heights, VA, features a full range of state-of-the-art fabrication tools including multiple punches, multiple press brakes, and two laser cutters for incising steel to pinpoint tolerances. We are able to operate all of this equipment rapidly and efficiently, with quick prototyping for clients and same-day fabrication under nearly all circumstances.

What do you do with it?

Machinery has to be controlled somehow, and a fabricator’s control over the tools of the trade is of utmost importance for all types of precision applications. Lower tech operations may rely on direct human manipulation of fabrication equipment—a comparatively straightforward but risky approach. If you have ever assembled inexpensive modular furniture, you understand the dangers of imperfect machining: Pieces that fit together almost (but not quite) perfectly can result in an unsightly living room at best, or at worst an oblique mess that does not do what it’s supposed to do. The stakes are much higher when the poorly formed object is industrial equipment and not just a particle board bookcase, which is why SES fabrication tools take full advantage of computer numerical control (CNC). Our systems are completely mechanized and digitally guided once they are programmed to produce a component, resulting in parts formed to tight, make-it-work-the-first-time specifications. Our laser and mechanical punching are governed by SOLIDWORKS, the top-of-the-line CADing software package for industrial design and engineering. With full mastery of the equipment at our disposal, we are ready to provide you with whatever your circumstances may require.

Who are you?

Tools have their limits, of course. A bad musician playing a great musical instrument is still a bad musician, and a poor athlete will not get any faster by putting on the most advanced running shoes available. Likewise, world-class metalworking equipment is only as good as the people behind it. CNC manufacturing may be advanced, but it does not run itself, and our facility would be nothing but a warehouse full of huge and very expensive paperweights without our engineering team. Without talented and hard-working employees running our business end, our engineers would have a harder time serving the needs of our clients.

A fabrication firm should be able to demonstrate a clear track record of successful technical application, as well as responsiveness and strong customer service. Our two dozen employees bring with them technical expertise, the love of a good challenge, and the commitment to meet any client’s needs as closely and as efficiently as possible. We take pride in our excellent customer communication, our competitive pricing, reliable on-time delivery, and the overall quality of the parts we provide to our family of clients. With us, your project becomes another step in a long tradition of technical and commercial excellence.

What do you provide?

Your needs should be met as cleanly and with as few steps as possible. For this reason, you should consider whether a fabrication company provides the full array of essential services to design, make, finish, and even install your components. SES employs a full crew of machinists and welders, allowing us to run a true turnkey operation and finish every part of any custom job. We also offer on-site installation services, further streamlining your path to a completely functional facility. In our hands, a flat sheet of unformed metal becomes whatever you want it to be, properly installed where you need it to be. You know what you need to have happen, but making it happen should not be your responsibility as long as SES is on the job. We are committed to turning your needs into reality.

Now that you have a sense of what to look for, and see what you can find in the metal fabrication world. Look for the right tools, in the right hands, overseen by the right people offering the right services, and you’ll undoubtedly make the right choice. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions about the industry, or about our processes and practices. We are always eager to serve, and look forward to hearing from you.