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Our processes include Laser, Punch, Forming, Machining, Weld, Finish, and Painting

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4220 Curlis Lane
Batavia, OH 45103

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The Art of Metal Finishing


Metal finishers are the artist of any fabrication operation. Mastering the finesse need to perform the transformation of product from an unfinished state to a flawlessly completed product.

What appears to be the simplest of task, if improperly done, can destroy the cosmetic appearance of the finished product. Often the artful skill of their workmanship provides the foundation of a superior paint finish but not in all cases. Our prominence in the finishing of Stainless Steel and Aluminum provides an insight to the expertise of our highly skilled finishers.

The fabrication process presents many inherent opportunities for the finishers to prove themselves. The finisher is responsible for smoothing of welds, finishing of corners, removal of imperfections, and for safety reasons the removal of sharp edges. When touring our facility I often reiterate the fact that our finishers are, blessed or cursed however they choose to look at it, with the task of making our welders look amazing.

With the simplest of tools the transformation to product is performed. Often the process begins with an Angle Grinder the most critical of the finishing operations. The angle grinder is a large bulky hand tools, requiring 2 hands to operate, and a disc spinning at 2,800 to 11,000 rpm. Various grits of sand paper are applied to the spinning disc providing flexibility in the amount of material and in the material type being finished. Mastering the correct amount of material to remove, angle of the tool, and correct application of pressure to achieve the desired results is the key to the artistry and the beginning process to a superior finish.

Once the grinding operation is completed smoothing out the ground surfaces, removal of sharp edges, and an overall smoothing to the surface of the product is required. This is most often accomplished with the use of a Dual Action (DA) sander. Various grits of sandpaper can be applied to the random orbital pad providing flexibility in the material type to be finished and control in the smoothness of the surface to be finished.

In areas that are difficult or cannot be reached with the traditional finishing equipment, a Belt Sander, characterized by a continuous loop of sandpaper driven around an arm, maybe be used. Arms are interchangeable allowing extended reach areas, small reach areas, and various angles. Optional grits of belts can also be used to obtain various finishing requirements.

Contamination of product such as Stainless Steel is possible when tools are used on carbon steels and then used on Stainless product. The carbon is embedded into the material and can result in recurring rusting of the carbon that becomes embedded into the Stainless Steel. This concern is addressed with the separation of material processed. Carbon steel product is processed in one department while Stainless and Aluminum are processed in a separated work area. The division of work areas has been established to prevent contamination through dust in the air and through the possible use of equipment that had previously been used on carbon steel materials.

As demonstrated in any process that is centered on the talent and ability of the craftsmen, our operators are assigned to the department that best suit their skills. This allows each finisher to demonstrate the commitment to their craft through the exceptional appearance of our finished product.

Why Both MIG & TIG Welding

While both end results of MIG and TIG Welding are the same, in that the metal pieces or parts are joined together by heating the surfaces to the point of melting, there are very distinct   difference in both appearance and technique. Each of the 13 weld station at A-1 Fabricators and Finishers is equipped with a MIG and TIG welding machine.

The mig process is used to weld most metal types. In cases where weld quality is not critical the Mig process is fast, cost efficient, and produces results that are more than acceptable for most manufacturing and fabrication needs.

MIG welding was developed in 1940’s, and is considered semi-automated. Accounting for the skill of the welder, the continuous filling of the joint being welded through the MIG welding machine, allows for longer weld beads and increased productivity.

Three things are required for the MIG weld process, electricity to produce heat, an electrode to fill the joint, and shielding gas to protect the weld from the air. The wire runs through the liner, which also has gas feeding through the same cable to the point of arc, which protects the weld from the air. MIG welding is done using a very small electrode that is fed continuously, while the operator controls the amount of weld.

TIG welding is mostly used for critical weld joints, welding metals other than common steel, and where precise, small welds are needed.

It is a manual welding process that requires the welder to use two hands to weld. One of the major differences of TIG welding process is the way the arc is created and how the filler metal is added. During the TIG Welding process one hand is used to hold the TIG torch that produces the arc and the other hand is used to add the filler metal to the weld joint. Due to two hands and the coordination required to weld TIG welding is the most difficult of the welding processes to learn. The TIG welding process is the most versatile when it comes to welding of different metals and produces the higher quality of weld , when executed properly, but the process is slow.

TIG welding requires three things, heat, shielding, and filler metal. The heat is produced by electricity passing through the tungsten electrode by creating an arc to the metal. The shielding comes from a compressed bottle of gas that flows to the weld area to protect it from air. The filler metal is just a wire that is dipped by hand into the arc and melted.

The marriage of the three required elements begins with the welder turning on the gas flow, either by or a valve or on the TIG torch itself. The gas begins to flow and starts protecting the weld area from the air. The torch is held over the weld joint just far enough for the torch not to touch the metal. The welder then presses a foot pedal and the TIG torches tungsten electrode starts an arc. Once the arc is started the two pieces of metal begin to melt by creating a puddle of metal. Once the puddle is established the welder with the other hand starts filling the joint by manually dipping a welding wire into the arc to fill the joint. Ultimately this process creates a single piece of metal.

Reference material : http://www.gowelding.org/

Paint Adhesion and the Cleaning Process

Paint 6The secret to any successful painting process begins with the cleaning process. The performance of powder coating is significantly influenced by its ability to adhere properly to the substrate material. Surface preparation is the most important factor affecting adhesion in the powder coating process. The presence of even small amounts of surface contaminants, oil, grease, oxides etc. can physically impair and reduce coating adhesion to the substrate.

Many fabricators struggle with the surface preparation of metal fabricated parts due to the lack of adhesion on the edge of parts processed through the laser. During the laser cutting process oxygen is used an assist gas during laser cutting of mild steel. The oxygen causes an exothermic reaction that creates heat, which helps the laser cut through the metal. The oxygen creates an oxidized edge that makes it difficult for powder coatings to adhere to the area exposed to the laser cutting.

To provide adequate cleaning A-1 Fabricators & Finishers provides a 5 stage cleaning process that removes this oxidation and allows for proper adhesion of the powder paint to the material. Listed below are the 5 stages and a brief description of each stages function.

Stage1: Acid – Descale or Laser Etch

1st step of the process is the spray application of a liquid acidic compound used to remove laser edge oxides and heat scale.

  • Removes Laser Edge Oxide
  • Removes Heat scales

Stage2: Rinse

Product is then rinsed with a water spray to stop the acid cleaning process

Stage 3: Iron Phosphate – Cleaner/Coater

Parts are then sprayed with an acid cleaning concentrate that also applies an iron phosphate conversion coating. The coating provides an etching on the material that enhances paint adhesion.

  • Provides etching enhancing adhesion

Stage 4: Rinse

Product is again water spray rinsed to stop the phosphate etching process.

Stage 5: Seal/Rinse

Final stage applies a sealer that is safe for all metals. Sealer application provides a rust inhibitor that prevents flash rust of materials.

  • Safe for all metals
  • Controls flash rust
  • Improves salt spray and humidity test results

To assure proper adhesion is achieved in the cleaning process prepared samples are Cross Hatch Tested at a minimum of twice per shift. A crosshatch pattern is made though the film to the substrate. Detached flakes of coating are removed by brushing with a soft brush. Pressure-sensitive tape is applied over the crosshatch cut. Tape is smoothed into place by using a pencil eraser over the area of the incisions. Tape is removed by pulling it off rapidly back over itself as close to an angle of 180º. Adhesion is assessed on a 0 to 5 scale, reference ASTM D3359-09E2 Test Method B for Cross Cut Tape Test Requirements. Click on link to review testing process. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyzzUVjEGnU

Dale Lawson June’s Peer Recognition Winner

_MG_0208Dale Lawson, a Fabrication Welder was recognized by Jessie Ballinger, an employee of our Engineering Department, for “Going Above and Beyond.” Dale received his nomination for working through his lunch as a customer waited for a rush part. Along with Dale, Dwayne Link was also recognized by Jessie for working through lunch to assist the same customer. Their dedication and team work were much appreciated by the customer allowing him to meet his customer’s urgent need.

As winner of the month’s nominations Dale received 2 Reds tickets and a travel tumbler. Congratulations and a grateful thank you to Dale for his commitment in meeting our customer’s needs!

Expanding Capacity With Addition of Third Trumpf Laser


A-1 Fabricators and Finishers is expanding capacity with the addition of a third Trumpf Trulaser 3030, 4000 watt laser. Installation is currently underway with anticipation of our newest laser being utilized into production by July 20th. Each of our lasers provide an average cutting rate of 150” per minute; varying with material types and thickness , accommodating sheet sizes to 60” x 120” as well as some structural tubing. Material thickness capabilities can vary dependent upon material type. I.e., ferrous carbon materials of up to ¾” can be accurately processed and non ferrous materials, aluminum, and stainless steels, up to ½” and shim stock material as thin as .001”. Laser cutting process provides many advantages:

  • Clean smooth cut edges
  • Greater accuracy
  • No burrs or dust formation
  • Ability to cut complex shapes
  • Faster than conventional cutting process

(Click on link for laser demonstration) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j94tZ_BC8oA)

Dennis Doane, President and Owner of A-1 Fabricators and Finishers stated “Growth is the investment into our future. The investment of equipment and additional resources is essential in to the support of our commitment to continuous improvement and growth. We have an obligation to our employees, their families, and community to provide stable employment opportunities for future generations.”

Utilizing the additional 50,000 sq ft of manufacturing being realized with the construction of our newest facility provides the required space needed to accommodate the additional laser as well as expand key fabrication processes. The laser cutting of material is the beginning operation of the manufacturing process and will allow for a 33% increased capacity throughout the manufacturing process. The A-1 Fabricators and Finishers team is looking forward to the exciting advancements and opportunities being presented and have embraced the atmosphere of change.

A-1 Fabricators & Finishers Fabrication welcomes Daniel Blackburn to Engineering Team

Ban Blackburn dblackburn@a1fab.biz Ph. (513) 724-0383 Fax (513) 724-0387

Dan Blackburn
Ph. (513) 724-0383
Fax (513) 724-0387

A-1 Fabricators and Finishers is pleased to announce the appointment of Dan Blackburn to our Fabrication Engineering Team in support of our current and future growth and development. Dan brings a wealth of experience and knowledge, having spent the last 15 years in the fabrication industry, where he was instrumental in developing and supporting many fabrication projects.

Joe Strack , Fabrication Engineering Manager stated “ Dan’s years of fabrication experience, positive attitude, and background in customer relations has already made him a key addition to our engineering team”. We view his appointment as a sign of our commitment to continuous growth and dedication to our customer satisfaction. We were fortunate to have found and engineer with the qualifications that Dan possess and are confident that he will play a key role in the future our Engineering Team.”

Dan is an Alumni of Southern State where he obtained his Engineering Degree. He is native to Southern Ohio and currently resides in Brown County with his family. Much of Dan’s off time is spent coaching Youth Baseball and Basketball. He is an avid Bengal fan, “Who Dey” and enjoys riding his motorcycle and golfing.

Self-Directed Workforce

Banner1A-1 Fabricators and Finishers recognized success of our Self-Directed Work and the residual benefits being realized.

Operating under a self-directed workforce allows for each employee to be responsible and accountable for their own productivity. This concept is practiced throughout all divisions of the company and basic guidelines have been established. Assuring that the company’s expectations are clearly understood the specifications of the guidelines have been documented in our employee handbook.

In this environment the diversity in personalities plays an important factor in the success. The many inherent traits of individuals to be leaders, followers, detail oriented, enthusiastic, etc., allows for diversity in our workforce. This diversity allows for the

strength and weakness of all individuals to be utilized and fosters an environment of individuality and importance. To learn more on understanding personality types this page has been found to be useful. http://www.hiresuccess.com/help/Understandingthe4PersonalityTypes.htm/ .

The concept of a self-directed workforce is achievable by empowering and trusting our employees in their decision making process. An often seen advantage is that employees openly communicate and resolve their concerns amongst each other. Continuous improvement efforts are consistently being implemented as individuals share their expertise and needs. Problem solving skills are realized with the promotion of expertise of the employee’s skills and knowledge. Individuals are respected for their contribution and have developed a sense of pride in the roles they perform.

Each employee is responsible for the quality of work produced. Guidelines in the form of Control Plans have been established with the input of employees performing the operations. Employees perform and document established inprocess inspections prior to moving product from their area. Inspection department performs sampling inspection and provides feedback to applicable employees in cases where standards have not been met. Providing real time feedback allows employees the opportunity for immediate corrective

and preventative actions to systems and processes.

Employee performance and productivity is monitored through our Enterprise Resource Planning System. ERP is business management software—typically a suite of integrated applications—that a company can use to collect, store, manage and interpret data from many business activities. Work is scheduled and released to manufacturing were employees are responsible for assuring that product is processed in the order of operation by due dates. Once an operation is completed employee then moves the job to the following operation as listed on the job work order and records the information into the ERP System. Through utilization of the ERP system full traceability of a part history, past or present, is captured recording employee identification, time, and materials.

Through implementation of self-direct work force the need of supervision throughout the manufacturing process has been eliminated. Employees have proven to perform at higher standards and the reduction in payroll is beneficial in reducing the Cost of Goods. Cost of Goods is the direct costs attributable to the production of the goods sold by a company. Through the reduction of cost allows labor rates to be reduced and savings are reflected in the pricing reductions experienced by our customers.

Your feedback is crucial in evaluating the relevance and value of the content being

provided. Please take a minute to share your comments and any feedback. We are open to suggestions on the content of future blogs pertaining to any specific process or service that may be of specific interest to you. Please submit your request and we will do what we can to address that topic in the near future. All feedback is welcome and encouraged we only ask that your comments comply with our Comment Policy. Be nice, be considerate, be friendly. Any comment that we feel doesn’t meet these simple rules can and probably will be deleted.

Feedback can be submitted by clicking the Comment button located on the top right corner of the blog page or by contacting Deborah Throenle, see contact information below.

We do not pretend to be experts in every field and would like to extend an invitation to encourage anyone with value added information to participate in our blogging post. Please contact Deborah Throenle with your request to be added to our Editorial Calendar, see contact information below.

Debbie Throenle

Ph (513) 724-0383 Ext 101
(513) 724-0387

From Concept to Reality Metal Fabrication Blog

A-1 Fabricators and Finishers is a one-stop sheet and structural metal fabrication company located just East of Cincinnati, Ohio. We are a veteran owned, small business that has recognized continuous growth in each passing year of business. We are currently staffed with 75 employees and plan to increase staffing in the near future to accommodate our current expansion of an additional facility.

Accumulated expertise in all aspects of metal fabrications provides the resource of knowledge needed in understanding fabrication process. Utilizing the many cumlative years of experience of our employees provides the necessary expertise needed to create a forum of sharing past, present, and future fabrication processes and experience. Our fabrication expertise includes but is not limited to Engineering and Design, Laser Cutting Services, Press Brakes, AWS Certified Mig & Tig Welding, Finish Powder Coating Services.

Our objective in writing this blog is to offer valuable fabrication information to supplier management teams, purchasing managers, buyers, or anyone who desires insight to sheet and structural fabrications. We believe that sharing our knowledge and strengths in the fabrication processes will provide a valuable tool in their decision making efforts of developing strategic partners in their metal fabrication purchasing requirements.

Realizing the importance of staying on topic we realized that we had to develop a Topic List that would be beneficial and provide insight to our targeted audience. We asked ourselves what we found to be important when looking for new vendors and developing partnering relationships. The Team was in agreement that Cost, Quality, Delivery, and Customer Service were the driving factors of all decision made and believe that the same principal is consistent throughout the manufacturing industry. All written blogs will be supportive of the agreed upon topics as they relate to the metal fabrication industry.

Your feedback is crucial in evaluating the relevance and value of the content being provided. Please take a minute to share your comments and any feedback. We are open to suggestions on the content of future blogs pertaining to any specific process or service that may be of specific interest to you. Please submit your request and we will do what we can to address that topic in the near future. All feedback is welcome and encouraged we only ask that your comments comply with our Comment Policy. Be nice, be considerate, be friendly. Any comment that we feel doesn’t meet these simple rules can and probably will be deleted.

Feedback can be submitted by clicking the Comment button located on the top right corner of the blog page or by contacting Deborah Throenle, see contact information below.

We do not pretend to be experts in every field and would like to extend an invitation to encourage anyone with value added information to participate in our blogging post. Please contact Deborah Throenle with your request to be added to our Editorial Calendar, see contact information below.

Don’t see what you are looking for, no worries, our dedicated team is available to assist you. Our knowledgeable staff of experienced professionals will be more than happy to discuss any questions or concerns in regards to your metal fabrication process and service needs.

Expansion Update


Progress in the expansion is well under way. Structural support beams have all been constructed and the building is beginning to take shape. Contractors have been busy laying in the plumbing lines this week. Anticipation of the added capacity to our assembly and painting process is becoming reality. The excitement of prospective opportunities and advancements to our capabilities is being realized.

Peer Recognition

June’s Peer Recognition Recipient

       “Jeff Eubanks” 


Jeff, an employee in our weld department, was nominated for recognition this month by Randy Patton, a fellow welder. He was nominated for his willingness to always assist others. Jeff has been nominated nearly every month if not every month. Jeff’s name was drawn from June’s nominations and received, as a token of our appreciation, $50.00 in cash and 2 tickets to a Cincinnati Reds game.


Contact Us

4220 Curliss Lane
Batavia, OH 45103

P: 513.724.0383
F: 513.724.0387

Quotes or Questions:
Dennis Doane – President
Joseph Strack – Senior Engineer