Sanborn expands tube fabrication services
During the last decade, Sanborn Tube Sales, Inc. has evolved from a distributor of tube parts to a full-service fabricator of finished and partially finished products, sold to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and sheet metal fabricators nationwide. We’ve changed so much that we recently updated our name to Sanborn Tube & Fab.
We’ve accomplished this by bringing many operations in-house that were formerly done by outside partners. This gives us greater control over pricing, quality and delivery – and ultimately makes us more responsive and competitive than ever.
Here’s what our expanded capabilities make possible for our customers.
Sanborn now operates three tube lasers. Two new fiber-optic tube lasers, which enable us to quickly cut complex shapes, holes and make other modifications to tubes. These state-of-the-art lasers are faster than traditional CO2 lasers, enabling us to produce more parts with greater precision in less time.
Automated cutting and sawing
We use an automated, universal sawing system for cutting tubes and bars. It automatically adjusts to varying tube sizes and helps us maximize our tube processing. It’s equally well-suited to small batch sizes and high-volume production.
Flow drilling is an innovative non-cutting method for drilling holes into tubes. The material is melted by adding high pressure and frictional energy to it. The material created by the hole isn’t lost but cools and forms a bushing inside of the tube. This gives us room to accommodate several more threads when attaching other pieces to it. OEMs in the furniture and recreational product markets utilize flow drilling in many products.
Coming soon: Bending, machining and welding
Later this year, we will break ground on a new 20,000-square-foot addition to our Pewaukee facility, which will house tube bending equipment, machining equipment, and robotic welding equipment. These secondary operations will make a huge impact on our customers.
In 2012, we built a 72,000-square-foot fabrication facility in Pewaukee, which has enabled us to serve as a just-in-time partner to our customers.
Many OEMs have discovered that it’s less expensive to have us inventory their parts and then make frequent deliveries to maintain a specific stocking level. Just-in-time delivery of parts also helps them to improve their cash flow and make better use of their floor space.
Helping OEMs save time and money
As the needs of Sanborn’s OEM customers evolve, the company has kept pace, positioning itself as a valued expert resource to them.
“Many of the OEMs we work with have realized that they can no longer do all of their fabrication and finishing in-house,” explains Sanborn president John Topetzes. “It’s not cost-effective for them to constantly invest in new, more efficient processing tools and technologies. It’s faster and less expensive to outsource that work to a trusted partner like Sanborn, which delivers fully- or partially-fabricated assemblies to them.”
In some cases, OEMs can’t hire enough workers to do those fabrication and finishing operations in-house. A combination of demographics, economics and health concerns are forcing them to focus on their core competencies and outsource their component fabrication operations to subcontractors like Sanborn.
Streamlining work for sheet metal fabricators
Sanborn’s recent investments in equipment and warehousing have also been paying big dividends for sheet metal fabricators, the company’s second-largest customer group.
“Having all of these capabilities in-house enables us to respond faster to their needs, especially for one-time orders,” Topetzes adds. “We can get their orders into production quickly because we control their quality, price and delivery.”
Topetzes believes that Sanborn’s specialization in tube fabrication and finishing gives it a significant advantage compared to larger firms that offer many types of metal fabrication services.
“At Sanborn, we’re not generalists, who know a little bit about everything. Our deep expertise is in tube fabrication and finishing. Our size and focus enable us to be extremely responsive to the needs of our customers,” he concludes.
Learn more about what’s new at Sanborn
Contact us today to discuss your tube fabrication and finishing needs.
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