Choosing the right machine shop for an important manufacturing project is a big decision. However, there are some basic services and capabilities that any quality CNC machining company will already have in place. Ensuring you check these top 8 features off of your list when researching local machine shops will make it easier to narrow down your options and find the best fit for your business.
Looking for a machine shop near you? Let EVS Metal help! Request a quote online, or give us a call at 1-888-9EVS-MET for more information.
- Integrated Manufacturing & Metal Fabrication Services
Many commercial and industrial manufacturing projects require a range of different metal fabrication, machining & finishing processes. Integrated manufacturers offer all of these capabilities and more, including services like in-house machine shops, laser cutting, robotic forming and automated powder coating. Some, like EVS Metal, also make shipping and delivery options available. Handling all of these processes under one roof helps us control quality, costs and lead times, which ultimately benefits you — the customer.
- The Latest and Best CNC Machine Shop Technology
Whether machining is being performed by an independent operator, or at an in-house machine shop that’s part of a larger metal fabrication facility, a significant factor in choosing a machining company should be the technology in which they have invested. Automated CNC machining has been the industry standard for many years, now, at least for large metal fab projects. But beyond automation, there are now high-tech machines that stand head and shoulders above the rest, like the Haas machining centers in which EVS has invested at our in-house machine shops in Texas and Pennsylvania. These centers offer both vertical and horizontal machining and are capable of performing a full range of operations incredibly efficiently while offering extremely high part quality at the same time.
- Customer Service and Support
Choosing a machine shop means that you are choosing not just a fabrication and machining company but also, a partner — one that will greatly impact your project and therefore, your business’s financial future. It’s a big decision, which makes understanding everything you can about the business important, including how they treat their customers. The best metal fabricators have earned their reputation as reliable providers of machined parts and products for a reason, and much of that is often due to the level of customer service and support they provide. Any quality machine shop will be more than willing to answer any questions you may have, and provide references from other companies they’ve worked with previously.
- Machine Shop Capabilities
Not every machine shop is equipped to handle every type of project — even if they may say they are. It’s important that any CNC machining company you consider actually has the capabilities required to fabricate and machine the part you need with precision, especially when it requires tight tolerances. Fully equipped metal fabricators with in-house machine shops should have a variety of modern machining centers and lathes on the shop floor, equipped with a wide range of tools that will allow them to mill, drill and turn parts to ensure the greatest possible accuracy. The availability of multiple centers also demonstrates that they are able to handle machining projects of any size, including very large production runs when needed.
- Machine Shop Locations
Most machining companies offer only a single location with a limited number of machining centers. This means they cannot adequately serve areas outside of a few hundred miles radius of their facilities. Only a handful of integrated metal fabricators have invested in large in-house CNC machining departments and have more than one location. With a sizable Texas machine shop serving most areas of the Southeastern U.S., and a second and equally substantial Pennsylvania machine shop serving the majority of the Northeastern U.S., EVS Metal is able to provide sheet metal machining and fabrication services that are accessible to customers all over the country — even those in Canada and Mexico.
- Certifications & Registrations
There are several different types of certifications and registrations a CNC machine shop may have. Depending on your project, not all may be relevant. However, there is one that should be important to everyone, and that’s ISO 9001 certification. The most recent set of standards for manufacturers and metal fabricators is ISO 9001:2015. EVS choose to undertake the recertification of each of our 4 integrated sheet metal fab facilities in 2017 — a process that took nearly a year to complete.
ISO 9001 standards are a set of strict guidelines for quality management systems (QMS) that are recognized worldwide, and certification is important because it tells customers that a company is dedicated to following best practices for manufacturing, When followed, the standards ensure that companies are using these practices consistently in order to best and most effectively serve their customers.
Other certifications & registrations that may be important include:
ITAR registration is granted by the U.S. State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC). The U.S. Government requires all of its contracted manufacturers to be compliant with ITAR regulations. In EVS’s case registration allows us to submit bids and subsequently operate our in-house machine shops as a manufacturer of defense articles for the U.S. government.
UL (Underwriters Laboratories) is a safety certification company that has existed for more than 125 years. They offer more than 20 types of certifications across multiple industries. EVS Metal’s NJ facility is authorized to design and build UL-Certified Type 1 508A sheet metal control panels and enclosures. This capability allows us to custom-fabricate new UL-certified sheet metal enclosures in-house, rather than outsource their fabrication to a third party.
- Willingness to Provide Samples of Machining Work
Quality machine shops will never hesitate to provide potential customers with CNC machining work samples from previous clients. While there are situations where parts and products may be subject to an NDA, especially if they are prototype pieces, or when you may not be able to find out what company or project they were fabricated for. However, there are always more than a few options fabricators have for sharing previous work, whether using photos or physical pieces in person. In fact, some facilities, like EVS Metal, strongly encourage potential customers to take in-person tours of their machine shops and fabrication facilities whenever they’re able to do so.
- Ability to Handle Future CNC Machining Needs
Can the machine shop grow as your company grows? That’s an important consideration when choosing a machining company. Turnkey sheet metal fabricators like EVS offer a large range of services that ensure they are able to meet both present and future CNC machining needs, as well as additional metal fabrication and finishing services that may be required, too. Look for companies that have made consistent and considerable capital investments in their machine shops and other manufacturing departments, whether it’s gone toward automated in-house powder coating lines, laser cutting machines, or robotic bending equipment. These companies are willing to spend money now in order to meet their customers’ needs for years and even decades to come.
Final Thoughts on Choosing the Best Machine Shop
We cannot say for certain what the single most important feature should be when choosing a machine shop for your project. This is because what matters most is entirely dependent on your business’s needs and values. For some, it may be the facility’s location. For others, it could be available value-added services like logistics management or assembly and integration. Whatever you decide, simply choosing a CNC machining partner who has the expertise, equipment and dedication to customer service that you and all clients deserve will go a long way toward ensuring that you find the best fit for your company.
Looking for the best CNC machine shop? Look no further than EVS Metal. Request a quote online or give us a call at 1-888-9EVSMET to learn more about how we can serve your aluminum, steel and stainless steel machining needs.