laser cutting

D+M Metal Products is a full-service metal fabricator. We provide services for a wide variety of manufacturers across industries. One of our capabilities is laser cutting. If you don’t know what laser cutting is or how it’s utilized within metal fabricating, this blog is for you. 

What Is Laser Cutting? 

 

Laser cutting is the technique of cutting a material with a high-powered laser. The laser beam is directed through optics using a motion control system to follow a CNC or G-code of a CAD-file pattern. The beam melts, burns, or vaporizes, leaving behind a finished edge or etched surface.

One of the most common uses of laser cutting is cutting metal. It is frequently used to cut stainless and mild steel, nickel, brass, tungsten, and aluminum. The result is a high-quality smooth finish. 

Laser cutting has many advantages. Lasers can cut many different kinds of materials, they don’t wear down with time or use, and they don’t warp metal. Laser cutting is precise, accurate, efficient, and adaptable. The process leaves little room for error, which means less waste, less energy used, and lower costs. 

What To Consider With Laser Cutting

 

The costs involved in laser cutting depend on the amount of time that the laser spends running. With this in mind, if you want to lower the cost of your project, you want to limit that time. The thinner the material is, the faster the laser will cut through it, so finding the optimal material thickness will help greatly. 

It’s also useful to simplify the design elements of any project so that laser-cutting time is minimized. Many small cuts take longer to do than one larger cut. If it takes the technician more time to do, the costs will be higher. Tracing small detailed shapes or circles, for example, will take longer than tracing larger ones or straight lines. It can be a challenge to determine what the best material is, what the optimal thickness is, or how best to simplify a design, but we at D+M Metal are here to answer any questions you have. 

If you’re looking for laser cutting services in West Michigan, D+M Metal Products wants to be your metal fabricator. Laser cutting is only one of our offerings. Others include: 

  • Blanking
  • Machining
  • Welding
  • Brake press forming
  • Bending
  • Assembly and finishing

Choosing a metal fabrication partner that offers a whole spectrum of services will make finishing your project simpler and less costly. We are committed to investing in our technology so we can provide additional capacity, reliability and value for our customers. We have a skilled workforce and a reputation for producing quality. Call us today to talk about your next project. 

fabricated products

As the anniversary of the first COVID-19 shutdowns approaches, it’s good to look back to see how people responded in positive ways to the pandemic. While it has been a very challenging year for people all over the world, there have been moments that have highlighted human generosity and genius. And by creating solutions such as reworking machinery in order to produce PPE and creating filter systems for cleanrooms, our West Michigan community demonstrated their commitment and ingenuity in fighting the virus. 

Fighting the Coronavirus 

 

In one of our blogs last year we highlighted one project that D+M Metal Products was a part of. This was a robot developed by Skytron called the IPT 3000 that used ultraviolet light to stop the coronavirus from replicating itself. This technology has been used in hospitals for years, but it clearly has many more applications now, from workplaces to classrooms to prisons. The demand for spaces where the air is considered safe to breathe has gone through the roof in the past year, so this technology is very much needed.

There are other new solutions as well. Another product that was altered to curb the spread of COVID-19 indoors is a mobile air filtration system called Guardiair. Clean Rooms International took stock HEPA filters and reconfigured them to create a new product that minimizes airborne contaminants, including viruses. This allows hospitals to make isolation rooms from standard patient rooms and has many other applications much like the Skytron robot.

D+M Metal is a metal fabricator, so we create the fabricated products that go into the manufacturing of other whole products such as the IPT 3000. We have worked with a wide variety of manufacturers in a spectrum of industries to develop to specification the fabricated products they need to make medical equipment and other goods. We can also advise on designs and help to alter a part so that it’s maximally efficient and economical to produce. This is important for companies that have tight budgets or time constraints to manufacture specific products. 

It’s encouraging to think that in a crisis people do not give up, but instead get creative. While the coronavirus pandemic was really tough, our businesses and our communities worked together to come up with solutions by modifying processes and products to make them capable of fighting COVID-19. That’s something to celebrate now in 2021.

If you have questions about a fabricated part that you need made in quantity, please call us at 616-784-0601. We would be happy to help you get your fabricated products to your customers with as few delays as possible. 

material handling

D+M Metal Products has been providing components for our material handling customers for many years. The demand for material handling systems has never been higher. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon and other retail suppliers had been developing convenient systems of ordering and delivery that were competing with in-person shopping. Since the pandemic, the demand for home delivery has increased dramatically. This trend is likely to continue even when social distancing is no longer necessary. 

Material Handling in West Michigan

 

Last March Amazon Logistics opened a fulfillment center in Gaines Township. This is a 850,000-square-foot facility intended to employ 1,000 people. By the end of the year, because of demand, Amazon had opened another delivery station in Grand Rapids and had plans for two more, in Walker and Caledonia. The economy radically shifted during that period to accommodate people’s needs and their inability to freely circulate. 

The products and groceries that people order online and that arrive at their front doors ship in planes, airplanes, and trucks and are stored and distributed via these centers. They are transported in these warehouses by automated guided vehicles or AGVs. Inside these facilities are conveyor systems that allow people to pack boxes quickly and efficiently. Those conveyor systems require fabricated components to operate. This is how D+M Metal plays its part in the fulfillment economy

Producing Components for Material Handling Systems

 

These systems are made of smaller metal components. We create these for our customers using turrets for punching, lasers for cutting, and press brakes for forming. We also weld these components together robotically or manually. 

Protecting both workers and product is vital for running a successful material handling business. Properly designed material handling systems eliminate unnecessary storage space and improve ergonomics. For the companies that use them, this means fewer accidents or injuries and less warehouse space to build or lease. Generic or badly designed handling solutions also result in damaged products. 

When a customer comes to us with a specific need, we assist them by coming up with creative solutions that will ensure their designs will be maximally effective for their purpose. We have worked with a wide range of customers across material handling industries. This experience allows us to find a cost effective solution for any number of challenges. 

If your company has a need for custom material handling components, we can fabricate them. D+M Metal Products has over 40 years of experience in metal fabrication. We continuously update our technology in order to add value to each step of the fabrication process. We know what it takes to assist equipment manufacturers in delivering an efficient material handling system.

Call us today at 616-784-0601 to discuss your conveyor equipment part requirements. 

price of steel

Several years ago, we sent out a letter to our customers about how the new U.S. tariffs on imported steel and aluminum would affect the price of steel and our prices going forward. As you might imagine, 2020 created quite a lot of economic chaos for companies given the complications of COVID-19, the lockdowns, shortages of products and raw materials, and worldwide shipping issues. Since that time, the price of steel has fluctuated, but it’s risen again and availability may be affected as well. D&M Metal Products sets the prices for the products we produce based on costs of labor and raw materials. Unfortunately, when those prices increase, our current pricing must as well. 

The Price of Steel Is Increasing 

 

The price of all types of steel increased from November to December of 2020 with the month-over-month price for hot-rolled steel up $6.65 cwt, cold-rolled steel up $6.05 cwt, galvanized steel up $6.50 cwt and plate steel up $4.00 cwt. It increased again from mid-December to the end of December. The largest increase in steel prices, however, was the change from August of 2020 when steel prices were at their lowest. Hot-rolled steel increased $20.40 cwt from August to December, with cold-rolled steel up $18.90 cwt, galvanized steel up $20.10 cwt, and plate steel up $9.25 cwt.  

Even at those increased prices, steel is becoming harder to acquire. In April of 2020, there was a lead time of 3-4 weeks for hot-rolled steel. By December, that lead time was 9-11 weeks. This is the longest lead time for almost a decade. 

There are a number of reasons for this. The steel industry was also affected by COVID-19. Mills are typically running 2-6 weeks late due to labor shortages, labor strikes, and cyber attacks. Their inventories of steel are currently very low, and increased demand for steel has resulted in the highest prices for hot-rolled steel since August of 2008. 

The market for steel looks to continue to be tight through at least the first quarter of 2021. Mills are trying to meet increased demand coming from different industries and playing catch up due to downtime or other problems earlier in the year. Steel imports are at lowest levels in 10 years.

Aluminum Availability

 

The availability of aluminum is also a problem. The U.S. Department of Commerce placed new tariffs on aluminum in October, so that had an effect. Currently, the lead times for aluminum are 8-12 weeks for common alloy. Base prices have increased two times since the beginning of September. There are constraints across the industry. Getting wide-stock aluminum is a challenge, and the availability of .160 and thicker aluminum is limited. 

Lumber Prices

 

The lumber market also had a roller coaster of a year in 2020 with prices reaching historic highs in the summer and then dropping lower in the fall. However, the price of lumber has begun to increase again in the past month. The instability in the market was caused by numerous things, including COVID-19, tariffs with Canada, wildfires, and hurricanes. 

As you might expect, it’s a challenge for anyone to accurately predict what might happen with prices on raw materials in 2021, given complications with the pandemic, trade, the economy, and politics in the short term. We want to be as transparent with our customers as we can. For open purchase orders for which we’ve already purchased material, D&M Metal will honor the pricing that is in place. We will need to review pricing as new orders or releases come in. We may need to make adjustments based on our inventories for your specific products. We will do our best to be as fair as possible when we price out costs based on changing prices for materials.

We do appreciate your business and will work to be as competitive and responsive as we can.  If you have any immediate questions, please call Bob Buist, D&M Metal Products’ president. He will be happy to talk to you about your concerns. 

medical equipment

Earlier this year we reported on ways that D+M Metal was involved with providing solutions for the COVID-19 epidemic. Medical gear and equipment has been in high demand for obvious reasons, and many manufacturers have stepped up to provide it to our medical community. However, it’s true that even during more normal times, there’s also a consistent demand for medical products and components. We are happy to work with medical equipment manufacturers to provide the parts they need made with precision to specification.

Industry Standards for Medical Equipment

 

We are proud of all of the parts that we make. Our quality control program is rigorous and is ISO 9001:2015 certified. It is true, however, that many types of medical equipment must be manufactured with extreme precision because if it fails, someone’s life or health could be at risk. A poorly made component can cause equipment to malfunction, which is why selecting an experienced metal fabricator is so important. 

Whether your component designs are complex or simple, D+M Metal Products can produce them to your specifications and meet or exceed industry standards. Over the decades we’ve been in business, we have invested in both the equipment and the skilled workforce to create metal fabrications with the tight tolerances and precise dimensions medical equipment requires.  We can duplicate the same part quality from the first to last part we fabricate. Our staff can assist you with all the steps in the process, from design to production. 

New advances in medical technology mean that manufacturers need to have equipment that can be adapted to produce new designs. We have acquired a large variety of machinery and tools over the years to keep up with the changing needs of manufacturing. Having the right equipment is crucial to being able to not only produce the necessary components, but to produce them efficiently with short turnaround times for our customers. 

Some of the medical equipment we have produced include cabinetry and fabrications that are powder coated as well as a variety of stainless steel products and components that make up air purification devices. 

Do you need medical components produced quickly, affordably, and to specification? D+M Metal can help. From the simple to the complex, we are able to work with your engineers and designers to come up with solutions that sell. Call us today for all of your medical equipment component needs.