If you need to have some metal cut as part of the building process for a product you are creating, then you will need to find a company that undertakes sheet metal cutting. There are lots of companies that would be happy to undertake this task, but how can you tell if they can really do the work to a high enough standard?
What machinery will they use?
One of the best ways to judge a company is to find out what machinery they will use for your sheet metal cutting. There are a variety of sheet metal cutting technologies available, and they should be able to explain why their equipment is the most suitable for your project. If you aren't sure, then you can always ask to see the cutting results their machinery can produce when faced with tasks similar to your own.
What sheet metal cutting options are available?
There are various options for sheet metal cutting.
Stamping press - A stamping press could be the lowest cost per part option for your project. A stamping press also offers the possibility of performing other tasks such as tapping and forming as a part of the same production step. The disadvantage of using a stamping press is that you will need to invest in tooling
Turret punch - If you want to cut out shapes in your sheet metal, then a turret punch may be the best choice. It can't compete with the speed of a laser cutter, but it does allow forming as well as cutting to take place. The disadvantage, just like a stamping press, is that you must purchase tooling before you can work with a turret punch.
Waterjet systems / Plasma cutting systems - For thick sheets of metal or sheets of metal where a heat-affected zone is not possible, a waterjet cutting system or a plasma cutting could be a good option. They are slower than a laser cutting machine but can be speeded up by the adoption of multiple operating heads.
Laser cutting machine - For most types of sheet metal cutting, a laser cutting machine will be the most practical solution. Laser cutting can be used for most metals and a variety of other materials. It is faster to cut with a laser machine than most other techniques, and the larger the batch that is run, the more this advantage will become apparent. The machine only needs to be programmed once and can then produce many multiple copies without further set-up. Crucially, sheet metal cutting with a laser does not require any tooling, since the laser can be programmed to complete any cut that may be needed.