How to Source a Metal Forming Company

Partnering with a metal forming company increases a manufacturer’s ability to fill orders quickly. Highly proficient metal forming and bending processes require expert technicians and advanced machinery. These elements allow metal forming companies to produce high-quality components that fit the specifications and expectations of their customers.

formed aluminum channels

A metal forming company is defined by multiple factors, such as:

  • Capabilities. A prospective partner should have the equipment and skill to complete a broad range of projects, including those with complex geometries and tight tolerances.
  • Experience. Precision forming requires extensive practical experience to achieve optimal results.
  • Quality. High standards ensure that every component meets or exceeds expectations. A reputable metal forming company earns third-party validation via certifications and positive reviews.
  • Methodology. Complex projects require a higher level of organization. An experienced metal forming partner can keep track of multistage projects easily and accurately and successfully perform a wide range of processes.
  • Customer service. In the end, the goal of precision forming is to produce high quality components that contribute to the customer’s success. Good communication and a commitment to integrity ensure the best results.

If any of these elements are out of place, the customer experience and quality of the end product will suffer as a result.

Assessing the Quality of Precision Forming Companies

Dimensions are the key to creating ideal metal formed components. With the right equipment, a precision metal fabricator can control the quality of their finished items and adhere to the highest industry standards.This includes the ability to:

  • Accommodate metals of varying type, grade, and thickness.
  • Choose a bend sequence based on desired tolerance.
  • Adhere to minimum recommended bend radii for materials.
  • Bend metals to accommodate desired grain direction.
  • Use a variety of tooling to facilitate production of precision formed components.

When evaluating a prospective metal fabricator, look for these team members to ensure you will receive the highest quality service throughout the fabrication and delivery processes.

  • Estimators who break down the costs of complex projects in a thorough, yet easy to understand manner.
  • Engineers with experience converting plans and drawings into feasible projects.
  • Certified craftsmen on the shop floor who can apply their training and experience in their respective fields.
  • Experienced project managers who can effectively communicate with all stakeholders to ensure efficiency at every step of the project.

Common Errors in the Metal Fabrication Process

Metal fabrication processes often require intricate adjustments and careful attention to detail. When processes and calibrations are not closely monitored, these common errors can occur.

  • Not having enough tonnage to form the desired thickness and length.
  • Cracks or fractures in the material can occur when a material has been formed with incorrect size tooling. Splitting occurs when a material has been stretched beyond its limits.
  • Springback that interferes with the bending and shaping process. Unexpected shape changes can make it impossible to achieve the correct final form.
  • Incorrect flat development of blanks, making it impossible to achieve desired shape of part within tolerance.

These errors can compromise an entire supply of fabricated components. Catching these problems early in the process gives engineers the ability to adjust their processes and realize better results. Your metal forming partner should have a stringent quality assurance process in place to identify and resolve these problems.

Industrial Metal Fabrications from G.E. Mathis Company

Research your options before choosing a partner for your metal forming project. Check their capabilities, staff certifications, and previous experience to ensure they have the ability to complete your job within the time, budget, and specifications necessary. It’s also important to understand a company’s technical limitations before choosing to partner with them for your manufacturing project.

G.E. Mathis Company provides precision metal forming services for a variety of industrial applications. Our metal fabrication processes include CNC plasma cutting, CNC punching, laser cutting, plate rolling, welding, shearing, metal forming and bending, and more. Please contact our representatives directly or request a quote for a personalized assessment of your project.

4 Tips for Designing Large, Cost-Effective Components

Large parts are often challenging to fabricate; making cost-effective decisions during the design stage can help to ensure manufacturing success. Sometimes a small change in a design can reduce a project’s cost substantially.

1.    Make Things Easy

Close up of a designers working on a projectEffective design communication begins with clear, legible, and accurate drawings that clearly describe the component. Avoid colors such as yellow, blue, or light gray as they are often difficult to read and do not scan well.

Easy-to-read drawings take the guesswork out of fabricating. As this is often the only thing that the shop has to work with, it is important to make sure your information is clear, so your manufacturer understands all of the details of the part they are creating.

2.    Provide Context

Clearly communicate how you plan to use the final product. Experienced metalworkers will be better equipped to take on your large component fabrication project if they understand the part’s intended use.

All technical drawings and documents should include these details and provide vital information to manufacturers and help them to choose the best equipment for cost-effective fabrication.

3.    Be Consistent

Legibility is important, but drawings and prints must also provide consistent and clear information. In-depth data is more important than exact scale drawings and will ensure the best accuracy.

Every drawing should convey the dimensions and tolerances of the product, with clear labeling that identifies all required materials and finishes.

4.    Be Conscientious

Industrial Laser cutting processing manufacture technology of flat sheet metal steel material with sparksClick on banner below to view more images in theWhen designing large steel components for fabrication projects, consider the processes that your fabricator will be utilizing.

If you’re not sure what processes will be used, like laser cutting, we’ll be happy to talk to you about it. We will gladly work with you towards a solution.

Your Partner in Large Scale Manufacturing

By following these guidelines, your designs will be easily fulfilled to suit all of your application’s requirements. At G.E. Mathis Company, we do our part by maintaining the tooling, equipment, and expertise to complete precision welding fabrication projects of virtually any size.

2012_iso-logo_printWe keep communication lines open, offering advice and information whenever necessary. With over a century in the business, we deliver ISO 9001:2015 certified work that reflects excellence in craftsmanship. You can rest assured that our large scale precision components will meet your specifications.

For further information or a custom quote, contact us today.

How It Works: 3 Key Factors for Metal Forming

Bump formed metal cone segments

What to Consider for Your Next Project

Metal forming, or bending, is one of the most common types of metal fabrication. The process manipulates flat sheets of steel, aluminum, and other high performance metals by bending or pressing around a straight axis to obtain a new three-dimensional shape. These shapes can then be deburred, polished, punched, or otherwise customized to create specialty metal components, either as part of a greater system or on their own.

Here are three major factors contribute to the success of a formed metal component.

1.  Have you compensated for spring back?

When planning a design and evaluating material choices, it’s essential to remember spring back: a material will always tend to bend back to its original shape. Fabricators can often take this into account and compensate by over bending the material beyond its desired final radius, allowing the metal to “spring back” into the proper final position.

2.  Minimum Inside Bend Radius: Avoiding Material Fractures

To avoid material fractures or weakness in a bent component, careful material evaluation needs to be considered from the start. Each material type has a unique recommended minimum. Inside Bend Radius is critical to evaluating its radii — as the thickness of a material increases, so does the minimum inside bend radius. Every material has its own ratios, which can help to determine the best fit for a project.

3.  Bending Direction: Optimizing Natural Ductility

When sheet metal is milled, it’s stretched in particular directions. The resulting grains impact the nature and strength of the material in a given direction, so be sure to note whether a sheet is being formed with (longitudinally) or across the grain.

By bending with the grain, fabricators work with the material’s natural ductility and apply less bending force, but projects are more prone to outside cracking. By bending across the grain, more tonnage will always be needed for forming, but can create a much tighter inside bend radius for the final project.

Types of Custom Formed Metal Components

Metal forming specialists craft the critical components needed to support almost every industry — aerospace, military, automotive, medical, food service, manufacturing, communications — the list goes on and on. At G.E. Mathis Company, we produce a wide range of large precision components, including:

  • Channels
  • Angles
  • Formed Pan sections
  • Transition segments
  • Bump Formed Sections
  • Cones

Precision Metal Forming at the G.E. Mathis Company

With over a century of experience in specialty metalworking, the G.E. Mathis Company is known for commitment, professional certifications, and the highest quality precision work. Our eight precision press brakes can handle a full range of capacities, from 400 to 1,000 tons, with thicknesses of up to two inches. We offer metal fabrication beyond bending and forming, too — precision laser processing, plasma cutting, and welding are a few of our capabilities.

Our team forms components for heavy equipment, frame rails, wear parts, and so much more. Contact us to discuss your next project with one of our metal forming professionals or learn more about our capabilities today.

Key Factors for Metal Forming

Our Metal Forming Skills are a Work of Art

Throughout the manufacturing industry, there has been a lot of discussion around what is known as the “skills gap.” The skills gap –essentially the lack of workers with appropriate skills for the industry—is becoming more of a problem as the baby boomer generation is beginning to retire and the younger workforce are finding careers in other fields. Not only is the skills gap affecting the bottom line, but’s it’s also providing manufacturers with a major challenge.[1]

Here at G.E. Mathis Company, we understand the importance of these technical skills, as they allow our craftsmen to perform at the highest levels. Take, for example, our forming capabilities. Our advanced equipment and expertise allow us to process metal in a variety of dimensions and shapes, even up to 2” thick. Taking our forming services to the next level, we can bend long parts up to 48 ft. long.

Forming metal is an art, a skill acquired through observation and instruction. It is a skill that needs the human touch, one that cannot be completed by a robot or machine. Our skilled craftsmen pride themselves on their ability to form almost any shape. Some of the special shapes that we form, such as cone segments, cannot be processed through automation; instead, the operator needs to form the radiuses in the component using our unique equipment, working the metal blank to form the shape to the customer’s specifications. There is a complex process that we go through to form these complex parts.

This process requires a lot of technical skill, something that is becoming more and more unique, as we have seen due to the skills gap. However, our shop team continues to put this high level of skill into each part that they make, no matter what the customer’s specifications are. In fact, two recent projects we worked on exemplify the type of skill needed for metal forming: eccentric cones and elbow transitions.

Eccentric Cones

Unlike more traditional concentric cones, where the center points of each end of the cone are the same, the eccentric cones have these center points offset.

Elbow Transitions

Elbow transitions are used where a pipe needs to make a turn in an assembly. These also require a very specific and high level of skill to be able to fabricate and fit together with precision.

Neither of these projects had straight-forward dimensions, nor could they simply be made by an automated machine. Instead, they required specific radiuses that needed to be formed by a skillful hand. Rising to the challenge, our craftsmen have the skills to do so. G.E. Mathis Company will assure that these skills never become a lost art.


[1] http://www.sandiegonewsroom.com/business-finance/1282-how-to-combat-the-manufacturing-skills-gap