There are man different types of precision measurement tools that businesses can use today, ranging from state-of-the-art computerized systems, which cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, to hand-held instruments, which only cost a few hundred dollars.
Selecting the correct tool for the job is vital. It is imperative to be sure that your precision aluminum extrusions supplier is utilizing the same measuring tool you will be using.
If the both of you use different tools, there is a chance that they will send you extrusions they believe are suitable for your needs when, in fact, they are not.
What is your standard lead time?
(Do you keep an inventory of stock extrusions in-house?)
Some aluminum extrusion companies may keep a number of basic and/or common extrusions on hand.
This is not always the case, though, especially if you choose an extrusion supplier specializing in custom-to-spec assembled components.
The best aluminum extrusion suppliers will have thousands of custom die profiles they can rely on to bring new component orders into production incredibly efficiently.
In most cases, lead times will be based on the unique circumstances and specifications of the project, as well as the current production pipeline.
What are your minimum order requirements?
Many custom extrusion suppliers will have very high minimum order quantities, i.e., in excess of 50,000. Others will require you to place an order of at least 1,000 products. You then have some businesses that do not have any minimum order requirements.
It is always important to enquire about this before you place your order. The last thing you want is to get to the end of the aluminum extrusion process and find you need to order way more than you had planned.
Don’t forget about maximum order requirements as well!
Some companies have maximum order requirements, so do not forget to enquire about this if you intend to place a large bulk order. In most cases, you will experience better quality too, because the parts pass through fewer hands.
Will you work with us throughout all phases of the project?
Some aluminum extrusion manufacturers may work with a client during the early development phases of a component if there is a clear opportunity or commitment to obtain a more significant future order for commercial production.
You then have other custom extruders who are happy to work with clients throughout the initial prototype phase and during the development and testing stages for every project. This is vital to consider if you are looking for service and quality consistency throughout the manufacturing process.
You should also make sure you are free to move to a different provider at any point, should you wish to do so or feel it is necessary for the project in question.
Will you anodize, machine, or paint my custom extrusion?
For most businesses, it makes sense to simplify your supply chain. A company that can provide you with a finished component, instead of just an aluminum tube, is helping you do that.
You can save yourself heaps of time by managing a smaller vendor base. Having fewer vendors marking up components ultimately means more money saved. In most cases, you will experience better quality too, because the parts pass through fewer hands.