How we fabricate our commercial, premium-quality custom metal planter boxes
If you’ve ever been to a restaurant patio or waiting area in a commercial property, or even a home with a well-appointed outdoor area, there’s a good chance you’ve come across metal planters.
Although the presence of metal planters may not have been the first thing to catch your eye, they undoubtedly helped create the ambiance of the space you were in. That’s because metal planters are used for a variety of purposes, from adding touches of greenery, which help bring life to a space to evenly distributing visual weight and tying together the design theme. These planters play a key role in the layout and aesthetics of a space.
And while they may look sleek, minimalist, and understated, the metal planter manufacturing process is anything but that. It’s a hands-on endeavor of craftsmanship which involves taking a rough sheet of metal and transforming into an immaculate finished product. At PureModern, fabricating our premium-quality Modern Elite planter line and our Connect Modular Planter System is a 12-step process.
Below, you’ll get an in-depth look at the techniques and materials we use in our metal planter manufacturing process to create premium-quality products for our customers. This process helps ensure our metal planters maintain their visual appeal and withstand the tests of time and elements.
Our Metal Planter Manufacturing Process
1. Receiving Design Specifications from the Customer
The first step in our metal planter manufacturing process is to make sure we have a full understanding of our customer’s needs and have offered support to help them decide on the most suitable solution for their project. Since we frequently create completely custom metal planter boxes for our clients, it’s important to ensure we have every detail. Then, we complete the order based on our client’s project requirements, approve Product Specification Sheet, and approve project shop drawings, as required.
The Product Specification Sheet details the key design specifications for the project, including shape, material, dimensions, and color. This Product Specifications Sheet will act as a roadmap for the rest of the fabrication process.
For more information, please see our Four-Step Project Process, which outlines the in-depth details of how we manage customer orders from start to finish.
2. Sourcing the Required Materials
Before our metal planter manufacturing process gets underway, we need to source the appropriate materials for the project. In most cases, the material needed is already in the warehouse and we can start the manufacturing process immediately. In some cases, we may need to order higher-gauge metals for specific planters.
While there is a vast array of options that can be used, PureModern opts for what we consider to be the most durable planter material on the market: heavy gauge 5052 marine-grade aluminum alloy. This corrosion-resistant premium-quality metal is often used in shipbuilding and aircraft fabrication. For our Modern Elite COR-TEN steel planters, we source ASTM A588 steel.
3. Developing Fabrication Drawings and Conducting CNC Programming
Once we’ve sourced our materials, the first step in the metal planter manufacturing process is to develop fabrication drawings — also known as FAB drawings. From there, we conduct CNC programming. This is the process of creating a program code that instructs our computer-controlled cutting table. We also program the shear and brake machine that bends materials at a particular radius.
4. Cutting Custom Shapes and Dimensions
Then, equipped with our CNC programming, we use the computer-controlled precision router to make any fine or detailed cuts to the raw materials.
5. Breaking Individual Planter Pieces
Following all necessary cuts, we move onto the process of breaking the individual pieces of the planter. This isn’t breaking in the sense that you’d imagine. In this context, the term refers to the act of bending the metal into the programmed radius as required to create the planter corners and the top lip details.
6. Welding of Metal Components
When the breaking phase is completed, we fuse-weld the edge of the planter. This edge then penetrates through to the inside of the planter, making the entire structure completely watertight. If the planter is being used in an outside application we will drill the required drainage holes in the base of the planter.
7. Sanding and Buffing of Welds
Fresh welding leaves a rough texture on the metal, known as welding beads. So, once we’ve finished welding the planters, PureModern planter fabricators begin the arduous task of grinding the welds to ensure that the welding beads are completely invisible and that all edges are smooth. This is the last step before the powder-coating phase begins.
8. Prepaint Coating and Heating
The application of powder-coating is an intricate four-step process. First, we need to apply a prepaint coating to the metal. This prepares the metal for the remaining steps. We then use heat to ensure the prepaint coating dries evenly and thoroughly. Once the prepaint coating has dried, the remaining steps are taken.
9. Applying the Powder Coating
From here, the metal planter is electrically charged. This is done because the powder-coating adheres by static electricity. We then manually apply the powder coating to the metal.
For our planters, we use a VOC-free TIGER Drylac® Series 38 architectural-grade powder coating to powder coat the planter inside and out. VOCs, also known as “volatile organic compounds,” are found in many building materials—in fact, they’re partially responsible for that well-known smell of new paint. These chemicals are government-regulated as they can sometimes be unstable, letting off gasses which can be unhealthy to people and the environment. That’s why it’s a priority at PureModern to use VOC-free coating. Furthermore, TIGER Drylac® Series 38 is AAMA 2604 compliant.
This powder-coating is often used in military equipment and communication towers and has been proven to be weather and UV-ray resistant—based on five-year Florida exposure—which means your planter will have significant longevity as a permanent part of your commercial space.
10. Curing the Planter Under Heat
Once the planter has been powder-coated, we heat it to cure the powder-coat. The curing process is also referred to as cross-linking because when heat is applied to the powder-coat, it melts and chemically reacts.
This chemical reaction forms network-like structures that are created by a higher molecular weight polymer. This is an important part of the process because a high molecular weight means that there is a higher degree of molecular entanglement. The higher the entanglement, the more difficult it is for the bonds to break. This means that once cured, the planter has a hard, durable finish that will last for years to come.
11. Cooling the Planter
After the powder-coat has cured, we allow the planter to cool before preparing it for shipment to the end customer.
12. Shipping the Final Product
The final step in the metal planter manufacturing process is to package the planter and send it on its way to become another valuable component of our customer’s project. Every planter we ship is covered by our Done-Right Guarantee. This means you’ll receive your planter exactly to specification and fulfilled on time, or we’ll make it right at no cost to you. We know that we’re one part of a multifaceted project, which is why we strive to deliver perfection so that you can focus on the holistic success of your project.
We fabricate products and solutions that add aesthetic and functional value to your space. Our intricate 12-step metal planter manufacturing process ensures that every piece in our Modern Elite metal planter collection is of the highest quality.
If you have questions about our company, our products, or our process, or if you’d like advice on selecting the right metal planter for your needs, please contact us. Our team is available to help.