As we head towards another new year, we wanted to set you up with the fabrication information to keep top of mind for your projects in 2022 and beyond. We also spoke to our long-term supplier Austral Wright on the current sheet metal climate and what to expect next year. Our industry is constantly developing technologies and efficiencies to help businesses like yours reach project goals – read on for our top takeaways to set you up for another successful year!
New fabrication equipment and technologies for 2022
Automated equipment and technologies are allowing for fabrication efficiencies – helping teams put out more, in less time. With labour shortages rife across all manufacturing and industrial businesses, automation has the added benefit of reducing labour requirements. Plus, automation also allows for increased accuracy by reducing the risks of human error.
Like any forward-focused business, QSM has invested in technology to keep up with our client’s requirements in the last three years. One such investment – our Smart Press – is a bending system that allows operators to efficiently load even the most complex layouts for faster fabrication. This means we can manage jobs with tight deadlines, outputting triple or quadruple the amount of setups than we could previously. You can learn more about our Smart Press capabilities here.
This year, we’re also expanding our offering to include Eddy Current Testing within our NDT Testing services. Eddy Current Testing is a non-destructive way to check for weld weaknesses without having to remove paint. It’s a common and effective way to test cranes – but has plenty of other uses for our industrial and mining clients too. The process of Eddy Current Testing utilises electromagnetic induction, creating a magnetic field between the material being tested and a coil conductor. Using variations in electrical conductivity, the Eddy Current Testing device measures changes in the eddy current which in turn determines any defects. What does this mean for you? Eddy Current Testing provides immediate feedback and enables you to identify cracks as small as 0.5mm. Feel free to reach out if you would like to learn more about this service.
Sheet metal trends for 2022
According to our long-term supplier Austral Wright, production in Mills have been affected with power supply issues, along with some of the highest demands from specific industries like Electric vehicles and mobile electronics continue to put pressure on supply. Marco Wirth from Austral Wright’s Internal Sales says “we expect there to be some catch up, but supply issues will continue till at least June/July as far as we can see. Aluminium will continue to rise till mid next year and Stainless will probably level out after the first quarter, but really we only have an idea based on our incoming orders. The mills are so volatile and global demand so strong, we are at the mercy of the mills.”
Ultimately, the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to cause problems in supply until factories and shipping ports can return to normal production. As a result, the prices will likely continue to rise until the end of 2022 – although once our borders open up in the first quarter we may start to see some leveling of prices accordingly.
In WA, we are seeing a trend of stockpiling as businesses try to keep up with demand – similar to the panic buying we have seen at the supermarket. To help manage inflated costs and material sourcing difficulties, some local government councils have decided to put a hold on all projects until the end of 2022.
QSM holds a large volume of laser plate and sheet metal in-house, but we also rely on trusted suppliers such as Austral Wright for the supply of aluminium and stainless steel. During these uncertain times, we cannot always guarantee the supply of materials but we do ensure diligent communication to notify our customers of such delays and always work with our customers to provide an alternative solution to their needs if required.
Ongoing development pathways to build better teams and provide better project outcomes
Flowing on from labour shortages across the board, it’s never been a more important time to upskill staff and work on internal processes to become an employer of choice. At QSM, we invest in staff training every year to ensure our team is empowered to do their work safely and efficiently.
For example, this year one of our team members will be doing a dogging and rigging course so we can add to our in-house skills to load and unload jobs as safely and efficiently as possible. We have two existing NDT staff doing Training for Level 1 and Level 2 in MT and PT.
As we see borders opening and international travel more available in 2022, we’re expecting labour shortage relief and more skills entering the state. Compared to the rest of the world, the Western Australian economy has fared well over the last two years, so our state will no doubt be a location of choice for those looking to relocate after a tumultuous few years elsewhere.
So, how does all this affect fabrication clients? Labour shortages have increased lead times for supply and manufacturing. Our team has been upskilling and working overtime to deliver projects for our clients as efficiently as we can – and we know we aren’t the only ones in this position. We ensure any delays are communicated as soon as they arise and will work with you to manage your deadlines accordingly.
In 2022, we are celebrating 40 years in business!
That’s 40 years of helping businesses like yours find the right solutions to meet their project objectives. We’re passionate about partnering with businesses and individuals with a focus on customer service to help them succeed. We are as flexible as required, whether you need us to seamlessly integrate into your team to generate solutions or operate independently and efficiently. If you are looking for a trustworthy fabrications partner, consider QSM – we will help you build your advantage.
Contact Us Today!