Chris Ferrie, Managing Director of i-sPi, explains the production process to readers of Sign Update.
Sign fixings, whether brass, aluminium or stainless steel, are used in increasing quantities in the sign and shop-fitting markets today. Recently, whilst on a trip to our production facilities I followed the manufacturing process from beginning to end, and saw the work, effort and manpower involved and the use of traditional skills and craftmanship in their manufacture.
Each step is done by hand using traditional tools and relatively basic machinery. The manufacture of our fixings uses a total of seven different factories.
A visit to the local metal trader buys us brass, aluminium or stainless steel rods, each around three metres in length and ranging in diameter from 13mm up to 120mm. Here we also buy 8mm rod which we use for the male threaded part of the fixings.
The rods are taken to the factory where they are cut to the required length (13mm to 75mm for i-sPi fixings) and 5mm thick "discs" are cut to make the head of the fixing, all the time working to a tolerance of less than 1/10th of a millimetre.
The barrels and heads are then drilled and threaded internally.
The 8mm rod is cut to length before going on to the next factory where it is threaded.
Next step in the process is to clean every element and then finely polish each part in preparation for plating.
The raw, but polished metal is now taken to the plating factories. At i-sPi we use three different plating companies, each specialising in certain finishes. One factory does chrome and polished gold, another specialises in our satin chrome finish and another anodises our aluminium range.
The finished and plated heads, threaded bar and barrels are all taken back to our main factory where under 500 kilos of pressure the threaded bars are joined to the heads. This new top or male section is then assembled with the corresponding barrel and the complete unit is bagged, boxed, labelled and prepared for export.
One week later it is on a ship, four weeks later it is in the UK and pretty soon after that, it’s is on your customer’s wall.
So, next time you install a sign using one of our sign fixings you will know exactly what went into their production, just in case anyone asks.
i-sPi can be contacted on telephone 0141 764 1600 or via www.ispitrade.com