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Getting the best out of your metal chassis manufacturer

June 1st 2018

More often than not a bespoke metal chassis forms the primary structural element of a complex electromechanical product and as such, the structural integrity, quality and longevity of the finished article is critical.
Getting the best out of your metal chassis manufacturer

Here at Universal Wolf we understand that the development and production of the perfect bespoke metal chassis is a very particular challenge and that getting it right is far from a simple process.

A chassis is the central frame of an object, essentially comprising of its support system and base. The chassis is almost like a product’s skeleton, the solid base around which everything else is built. It must be capable of withstanding a range of possible stresses and strains to keep the product sound and functional. As just one example, consider the multiple environmental pressures that will act on a car chassis as a vehicle is driven fast over rough terrain. A core component to any product based around one, the importance of top quality manufacture ensuring the highest possible performance in this one part is clear to see.

When creating any new product built around a complex metal chassis, your chances of success are increased if you take the time to consult a metalworker with relevant experience during the design phase. Their advice can then be incorporated into the chassis design from the earliest stage, potentially preventing expense and unnecessary delays which a faulty or imperfect plan could cause.

At Universal Wolf we’ve been manufacturing bespoke metal chassis for years and supported numerous customers from the earliest stage in the product design process. Here are some of the main pointers we cover with them. These are also the questions we would expect any manufacturer you approach or start working with to ask you about your own metal chassis project, so they can almost represent a standard for evaluating your potential new supplier.

  • What is fitting to the chassis, and how do you define an acceptable quality standard so both parties have agreement on “what good looks like”?
  • What are your tolerances and are they fit for purpose? Have you identified the critical-to-quality features and how does your chassis manufacturer propose to achieve these?
  • Is there a risk of distortion, for example due to welding requirements and how will you design around this to achieve the right level of stability and functionality?
  • Is there need for jigging the chassis during manufacture to ensure repeatability? It is important that your metalworker is able to maintain overall and critical dimensions of the chassis.
  • What inspection jigs are required to check fit and function, and how does your metalworker propose to control quality during the manufacturing process?
  • How will material handling be effectively managed? Large complex chassis are often made up of many smaller sub-components and sub-assemblies and it’s important to have confidence that your supplier has a robust process in place for managing all parts that makeup the final chassis assembly.

Producing a bespoke metal chassis that has all the necessary attributes for the task envisaged requires a particular engineering and manufacturing skill-set, as well as a passion for delivering a high quality product to specification. It’s important that companies align themselves with the right type of metalworking business that can not only meet, but exceed, their expectations.

Teamwork is key to success in these projects, as both parties will need to adopt an open and collaborative attitude particularly during the design and prototyping phase, with the ultimate aim of ensuring the chassis design is fully optimised and can be reliably reproduced to fixed standards.

Universal Wolf has many years’ experience manufacturing a variety of sheet metal fabricated chassis for complex electromechanical products. Spanning a wide range of industry sectors, our work includes some of the following types of fabrication chassis work:

  • Motorsport vehicle chassis
  • All-terrain vehicle chassis (AVT), including hydrostatic variants
  • Subsea remote operated vehicle (ROV) chassis
  • Airport baggage scanning machine chassis
  • Military lane marking system chassis
  • Bespoke equipment chassis, including fault current limitation equipment

If you have a metal fabrication chassis project you would like to discuss, please contact a member of our team who will be happy to assist.