For small orders of just a few pieces of any given type of standard aluminum extrusion for a small project, spending time finding the best company to do business with is probably not a good use of time.
However, for prototype development or for small or large production orders, researching and selecting the best company for quality aluminum extrusions stock will be critical. There are several reasons why this is important. Taking the time to consider each one will definitely make the case for taking the time to get the right match.
Not all aluminum extrusions stock are created equally. Some mills and extruders are committed to high levels of quality assurance and control throughout their process. Other extruders and mills are not as quality focused, which can lead to inferior alloys or poor quality control during extrusion.
This can have a very big impact on the quality of prototypes. If inferior materials are used in the fabrication and manufacturing of the part or component, there is a greater risk of test failure. This may not be a design flaw but rather a failure in the individual components.
Using a quality provider for aluminum extrusions stock even for small orders for prototype development is highly recommended. This also provides the business with an immediate provider for aluminum when the prototype is ready to go into production.
Not all metal suppliers and not all aluminum supply companies keep a large inventory of standard extrusions. This results in longer lead time to be able to get the aluminum extrusions in stock and shipped out to their customers.
Specialized aluminum supply companies working with large volume buyers typically have the best on-hand inventory. They also have a good relationship with mills and extruders and are able to handle even unusual or atypical orders quickly and within the lead times provided. This means less downtime and delays for all of their customers.
Companies that only sell aluminum have the highest volume sales with the mills. This results in the best possible prices on the aluminum they purchase, which can be passed on to customers.
While the aluminum market has its ups and downs, working with a top aluminum supplier tends to minimize the sometimes dramatic pricing changes. This is a great factor to consider when a company has large volume single or repeat orders. Saving just a small amount per order adds up to a lot of savings over a year.