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Sign fabrication

There is ample work available in this sector, but with steep competition, Rob Fletcher asks: “what are some of the necessary steps to bring sign fabrication in-house?”

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David Catanach, director, ISA-UK

Business and strategy

The larger sign companies already do this simply due to the economics of scale and for control of the project. However, as 80% of the industry are SMEs not all can do this and consideration depends on the business model and strategy of the individual sign shop.

If you are prepared to invest and train – or employ those with experience – and providing the work is going to continue to justify capital expenditure, then serious consideration should be given to bring the work in-house and under your control.

However, because of the diversity of jobs and projects landing on your doorstep, it may well be more advantageous for you to use trade suppliers who should have all the right equipment and skills at their disposal to provide you with a trouble free and efficient service. It depends on your business, the type of customers you have and where you want to take your company in the years ahead. 

While the ISA-UK will provide guidance on specific requirements, we tend not to tell our members how to run their business or what equipment they should be using, except where safety and compliancy is paramount. Our members tend to gather valuable guidance and information when networking with other ISA-UK members.


Always go for the best you can get and if possible, one step higher

For those that do invest, then they should invest properly. I have seen too many times in my career in this industry, jobs go wrong simply because the wrong equipment was used to manufacture a product or where the sign shop owner wasn’t prepared to invest properly and suffered the consequences as everything fell apart or failed. Always go for the best you can get and if possible, one step higher.


Those first steps

Karolina Mieszko, sales manager, Automatic Letter Bender UK

The decision to transfer the production of 3D letters to your own company can bring significant benefits to the company. Outsourcing of such services has advantages and many companies use it effectively. But what if the company clearly notices the advantages of its own production? Expanding the scope of the company's operations, and thus increasing profits, are just some of them.


The first step is to choose the technology to make the 3D letters. The company should decide what types of 3D letters can bring the most benefits

The first step is to choose the technology to make the 3D letters. The company should decide what types of 3D letters can bring the most benefits. Making letters is designing, bending, gluing and choosing appropriate LED modules. In all of this, qualified Automatic Letter Bender consultants will be happy to help. They will also advise on the selection of machines needed by the Customer. Profitable production means not only bending machines for 3D letters, but also milling machines for cutting faces or laser welders for metal letters.

The next step is to find a supplier that will advise and equip you with the necessary adhesives, LED modules, tools and accessories. The opportunity to purchase all these elements in one place significantly shortens the time of the order.

Most of the bending machines offered by Automatic Letter Bender allow for using different types of materials, for example the ALB-02 Combo 160 is ideal for flat coils up to 1.2 mm thickness and aluminium profiles for 3D letters (DFT, RCP, TGP, Super Letters), while for thicker materials (1-2 mm thickness and up to 180 mm width) and profiles for building 3D letters, the largest model ALB-04 UNI 180 is ideal. The right choice, dictated by current production and the possibility of expanding the offer, is an important step when creating own production processes.


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