When a manufacturing client comes to a fabrication shop looking for equipment, generally speaking, they may or may not already have exact specifications for the item they need fabricated. If they only have a general idea of what they need, they’re probably hoping to utilize engineers provided by the fabrication shop to help come up with an appropriate solution.
Smart Machine Technologies has a staff of on-site engineers capable of handling build to print fabrication, design & spec fabrication, and completely custom designed fabrication. In this blog, we’ll discuss how these options differ, as well as how to select the option that’s most appropriate for the equipment you need.
What is Build-to-Print Fabrication?
Build-to-print is what we call the building of equipment, components, or other products to exact specifications provided by the client. Usually these specifications come in the form of designs that have been generated by an engineer. Build-to-print designs are typically specified down to the millimeter, type of materials needed for each component, and other specific details.
When to Use Build-to-Print Fabrication
If a piece of equipment already has a specific design that’s been successful in the past, there’s no sense in recreating the wheel. If a piece of equipment that’s part of a larger assembly line or operation has to be replaced, it may be vital to get an exact replica to avoid problems.
Benefits of Build-to-Print Fabrication
In a scenario where an assembly line is waiting on a single piece of equipment, getting back up and running as soon as possible is of the utmost importance. Having build-to-print designs ready to go will ensure you aren’t wasting time on design. If your fabricator doesn’t get everything perfect, improperly built machinery could put lives in danger or cause further production delays.
What is Design and Spec Fabrication?
Design and Spec fabrication is more of a custom job than print-to-build. When a client has a general idea of what they need, the size, function, and other details, they may come to a fabricator like SMT and ask us to design the piece of equipment from scratch. In extreme scenarios, clients have come to us with a specific problem or dilemma in mind, and we help them build an entirely custom solution.
When Is Design and Spec Fabrication the Best Solution?
Some equipment doesn’t have to be built to exact specifications. A conveyor belt may just need to be of an approximate length, height, and width, and be capable of handling a specific size load. The client may not be concerned where every single screw is placed, down to the exact millimeter. On-staff engineers ensure the final design meets the clients’ needs, budget, and desired functionality.
Benefits of Design and Spec Fabrication
More than likely, our fabrication shop has experienced a similar project and will be able to apply that past knowledge to designing your piece of equipment. Our engineers can advise on specific metals to use, ways to keep down the cost, or techniques to make the process more efficient. This experience and past knowledge will help your project move along as quickly and smoothly as possible.
How Build-to-Print Compares to Design & Spec Fabrication
Really it comes down to the needs of the client, budget, and eventual function of the equipment in determining which fabrication method is appropriate. However, one of the primary determining factors is whether or not you already have the building specifications on hand. If it’s a new piece of equipment or the plans for building that equipment aren’t available, you’re better off going with design and spec fabrication.
One major benefit to hiring a U.S. based fabricator, is that our engineers can easily travel to your location to help in determining the best course of action for your piece of equipment.
Hire a Fabricator Capable of Handling Both
Even if you have plans, it’s beneficial to go with a company capable of fabricating custom equipment, because you never know what custom components you may want to build in tandem with that item. We’ll partner with you to ensure you get what you need and will even travel to your location to help install the piece of equipment. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about print-to-build fabrication or our custom design and spec capabilities.