Case Study – Why the fabricator needs to invest in a smarter machine than the steel service centre



The fabricator is investing in the beamline that can do many functions of many machines and manual processes from the one drilling, machine coping, marking, layout marking, tapping beamline.

The fabricator can process between 28-32 meters per hour in fully automatic mode that includes the full capability of the beamline depending on what processes are required on each profile. The steel service centre can not afford to run their beamline at this speed to increase the capability of the processes to add value to the fabricator but ultimately slow the service centres beamline down so they lose other work when the delivery isn’t competitive.

The fabricator will program & deploy the full functionality of their beamline. This ensures there will be a limited amount of manual labour that is required on the workshop bench to complete the processing of any complex machines profiles that no beamline can machine (not many common profiles).

The fabricator often will not have the same quantity of steel to process as the steel service centre. The fabricator can then afford to slow their beamline/coping robot to ensure the full capability of the machine is deployed so the workshop can benefit from not having to finish off the profile on the fitter's workshop bench that can increase the costs by 40% when comparisons are made to how the steel service centre delivers the processed steel to their clients.

Fabricators have been purchasing basic profiles processed from steel service centres that require the profiles to have the coping finished manually at the fabricator's workshop bench. The fabricator should never assume purchasing the same type of beamline the steel service centre is using is a wise decision as it is not.

The fabricator investing in the most basic steel service centre beamline specification will not provide a competitive advantage from what is already available from steel service centres. SMS suggestion would be to continue to purchase steel from the steel service centre instead of investing in the same style beamline as the steel service centre that is not designed for the fabricator to win more and do more.

The fabricator ONLY interested in the cheap 1990 designed beamlines that do not offer the modern capability required should continue to purchase processed steel from the steel service centre and then spend another 40% of man-hours finishing the manual processing on each and every welding bench. With the cheap beamline steel service centres purchase, they will not be increasing their capacity, improving their schedule or winning an additional 40% profit from the fabrication workshop or be able to win the 2nd or 3rd project at the one time.

SMS can show you what these profiles look like & explain why no beamline can machine these examples so the fabricator with the SMS beamline can perform many tasks that the steel service or fabricators that have not commissioned the SMS beamline can not process.

Why the fabricator needs to invest in a smarter machine than the steel service centre

  1. The fabricator understands the costs of labour to finish off processing on the workshop bench that should be automated on a beamline/coping robot.
  2. The fabricator needs to be smarter so they can win more and do more against their local and foreign competition.
  3. The fabricator however will measure the 40% saving from manual labour and then understand what competitors have what beamlines or purchase from what steel service centres. Now they can maintain an additional 40% profit in the cost for the fabrication (that is 25% of their project costs)
  4. The fabricators are avoiding investing in a traditional beamline like the steel service centres are committed to purchasing. The fabricator is now investing in automated beamlines that work in lights out the operation with only 20% labour to load/unload material handling
  5. Fabricators are also investing in the automated beamline that can have the shot blasting pre-processing synchronised to the beamline so only 20% labour is required to work both machines. Steel service centres refuse to shot blast profiles for the fabricator that increases their schedule and cost to every project.
  6. Fabricators that invest in the fully automated and synchronised shot blasting and beamline with only 20% labour to run both machines can have steel blasted and processed for less than $5/meter. A fabricator contracting out their excess capacity for a shot blasting machine is charging $10/meter and often they can have 3 profiles blasted at one time.


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