Essential Questions to Ask Your Pipe Fabricator
Pipe spools are pipe spools. Or are they? Choosing the wrong vendor for your pipe spools can cost you in more ways than one. Spools that are fitted and welded outside of specs can mean a failed project. Poorly-produced pipe means problems later, and pipe that’s not delivered on time means cost overruns, unhappy customers, and reputational damage; bad news travels fast, unfortunately.
There’s a lot at stake in choosing your pipe fabricator. You’ve been meticulous with planning your project, and you want a vendor that has standards that are just as exacting as your own. Finding the best spools and the best supplier doesn’t have to be a needle-in-the-haystack situation when you know what to look for.
You can’t afford to take a gamble. Here are the questions to ask and the things you should consider when looking for a pipe fabricator. You’ll find that when it comes to fabricated pipe spools, you won’t find a better supplier than Turner Industries.
The essential questions to ask any pipe fabricator
Fabricated pipe spools are essential for heavy industrial projects, and you need a supplier that can meet the requirements of what’s been designed with a process that ensures quality from the get-go. Here are some important questions to ask.
Does your fabricator have in-house engineers? You’ll want one that uses computer-aided design (CAD) that optimizes and streamlines workflows, improves the quality and level of detail, and provide precise documentation.
CAD provides significant benefits that can:
- Lower production costs
- Make workflows more efficient
- Simplify communication and collaboration
Your fabricator should offer a dedicated project manager that oversees your project from its order through delivery. Modern project management involves both people and technology.
There are more than 100 steps that can go into spool fabrication. How is your vendor keeping track of them all?
At Turner, we use a barcode-based computer system that scans each piece in real-time as it goes through the shop, from cutting pieces of pipe to pulling materials to welding and all the steps between and beyond.
This means that any time a customer wants to know their project status, we can tell them what phase it is in and when it went into that phase.
Efficient, on-time procurement of the proper materials can make your project a success Poor procurement practices, on the other hand, can break it.
Does your fabricator have a supplier code of conduct? Do they cast the net far and wide to find the best materials? Do they have contingency plans if a supplier falls on the job? The best fabricators have a robust procurement department and stringent vendor requirements.
Production and specialty services
You never know when something will come up, so you want a vendor with as many capabilities as possible, including one that can provide time and cost savings. You want one solution that contributes to your success and operational excellence.
Look for a full range of services that include:
- Climate Controlled Painting & Coating
- Heat Treating
- Pipe Spool Detailing
Your fabricated pipe spool must meet quality requirements. What are your fabricator’s in-house testing methods and tracking processes? The “S,” “U,” and “R” stamps are standards. But do they offer full traceability? What about standard and custom document packages? Also, ask about in-house NDE/NDT, heat testing, and processes for stress relief.
At Turner, we maintain processes, manuals, and quality procedures that ensure adherence to all applicable regulating codes and quality standards at job sites and we meet client-specific requirements and expectations.
Our certified and trained personnel manage the requirements for the quality management system (QMS) planning, product/service realization, resource management, QMS processes, NDE inspections, outside authorized inspector regulatory activities, NDE training and certification, leak testing, welder certifications, weld mapping and tracking, document control, management reviews, auditing, radiation safety monitoring, continuous improvement, and quality records. How does your current vendor stack up?
Painting and coating
Painting and coating affect the life of your spools and should stay top-of-mind. At Turner, we have state-of-the-art, climate-controlled facilities with recoverable grit blast booths. We can paint single and multiple-coat systems regardless of weather conditions.
Our enclosed climate-controlled blast and coating facilities maintain production, quality, and scheduled delivery of pipe spools to the field. In addition to painting pipe spools, our facility can quickly blast and paint straight-run pipe for field run rack piping, valves, loose fittings, and structural components. Our Louisiana and Texas operations can do fusion bond epoxy coating for gas transmission and product pipeline applications and metalizing for various applications, including a solution to corrosion under insulation.
Delivery is about more than getting things where they need to be on time. An essential requirement is the safe delivery of your pipe spools, and that they are tagged for easy sorting on-site. Your vendor should provide the following:
- A secured load
- Pipe flange and opening protection
- Spool piece identification tags
- A spool document package
Another essential vendor component is the ability to ship pipes anywhere from coast-to-coast, with strategic locations to connect with resources no matter where they are located.
Asking questions can give you a lot of information but there are more things you should consider when choosing a pipe fabricator.
Other important considerations
Many pipe fabricators will answer your questions and tell you what you want to hear but choosing the best means digging a little deeper.
Pipe fabrication is a complex industry, so you want to select a vendor that has industry-specific experience as well as experience in the type of service you need. Looking at project profiles is an excellent way to see the scope of the supplier’s capabilities and how they have been applied in real life.
A focus on continuous improvement
Selecting a pipe fabricator with the proper equipment to produce pipe spools is a given. But what about the company’s people? A company’s success with its products depends on its ability to attract, retain, and train a quality workforce. Check out a potential vendor’s commitment to workforce development, including upskilling and affiliation with partners that provide industry education. They also should have an in-house training program.
Another thing of vital importance is to make sure your fabricator has a culture of safety with a focus on continuous improvement to protect their employees. Choose a company with an industry-leading safety record.
Why you should choose Turner
Since 1961, Turner Industries has supported the nation’s heavy industrial sector and worked to provide a one-stop-shop for client success. We produce bottom-line results by working smarter and faster while delivering innovative digital solutions that reduce costs.
Innovation is the hallmark of our business. Since our inception, we’ve been on the cutting edge of pipe fabrication, adding the services, people, and technology that have made us the one-stop shop for your pipe fabrication needs. We are the largest privately-owned pipe fabricator in the country.
Give your company a competitive edge. Get in touch with Turner Industries today for your pipe fabrication needs.