If you’ve ever dined at a rooftop restaurant, waited in the lobby of a commercial property, or appreciated a well-appointed residential landscape, there’s a good chance you’ve come across metal planters.
Although the planters may not have been the first detail to catch your eye, metal planters certainly create an elevated ambiance in any space.
Used for a variety of purposes, metal planters add touches of greenery that bring life to any project. At the same time, metal planters distribute visual weight of a space and accentuate the aesthetics and layout in the overall design theme.
While metal planters appear sleek, minimalist, and understated, the manufacturing process is anything but basic.
For PureModern planters, the manufacturing process is a hands-on endeavor of craftsmanship that takes a sheet of metal and transforms it into an immaculate finished product. All our premium-quality metal planters and edging systems undergo a 12-step manufacturing process.
Our Metal Planter Manufacturing Process
Below is a description of that 12-step process, including the techniques and materials we use to create premium-quality products for our customers.
This process helps ensure our metal edging, modular planter systems, and metal planter boxes maintain their visual appeal and withstand the tests of time and elements.
1. Prepare Design Submittals Package
The first piece of our metal planter manufacturing process includes:
- Ensuring we fully understand the customer’s needs
- Properly interpret the project plans
- Offering support to help the customer arrive at the most suitable solution for their project
Since we frequently create completely custom metal planter solutions for our clients, we understand the importance of meticulously gathering every detail to ensure the job is done right. These details are used to create shop drawings.
The shop drawings include all of the key design specifications for the project, including:
- Drawing details
These shop drawings create a roadmap for the rest of the manufacturing process.
Once the client approves the shop drawings and we receive a deposit payment, we then move forward with manufacturing.
For more information, please see our Four-Step Project Process, which outlines how we manage customer orders from start to finish.
2. Source the Required Materials
Before our metal planter manufacturing process gets underway, we’ll source the appropriate materials for the project:
In most cases, the necessary material is already in the warehouse, which means we can begin the manufacturing process immediately.
Sometimes, we may need to order higher-gauge metals for specific planters or custom powder coat colors.
While a vast array of material options exist for aluminum planters, PureModern uses what we consider to be the most durable and workable 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. Remember that COR-TEN is not powder coated but instead has a natural lifetime protective patina. (So, steps 9-11 do not apply to weathering steel.)
3. Conduct CNC Programming
Once we’ve sourced our materials, we follow the pre-approved shop drawings to carefully program the machines that will cut and shape the pieces for the project. The programming is critical to ensure our clients receive planters in the correct sizes.
Our process ensures the planters are manufactured in the most efficient way as far as time allotted, materials, and labor costs. These state-of-the-art machines efficiently execute large-scoped, detailed jobs as well as smaller, simpler jobs.
For our customers, this means receiving planters that have been manufactured according to exact specifications in the most cost-efficient manner possible.
The CNC fiber laser will be programmed specifically for each individual project. A
computer-controlled cutting table feeds the appropriate material and the CNC fiber laser makes the specified cuts to produce the custom-sized planter. To ensure minimal waste, the machines utilize as much of the metal sheet as possible.
The brake machine is also programmed. This machine bends the material in the desired radius, decreasing the need for welding.
4. Cut Shapes
Once the CNC programming is complete, the computer-controlled precision fiber laser and the cutting table can begin cutting the sheet metal. During this process, all the required shapes are cut. Any necessary fine or detailed cuts are also made.
5. Breaking Individual Planter Pieces
Following all necessary cuts, we move on to the process of breaking individual pieces of the planter where required.
This isn’t “breaking” in the sense that you might imagine. In this context, breaking is the act of bending the metal into the programmed radius as required to create the planter corners and the top lip details.
For example, for a rectangular planter that has a knife edge, the following might occur:
- Two pieces of cut sheet metal are each bent once. The free ends of each sheet are then welded together to make a rectangle.
- The bottom of the planter will be attached to the frame above by 4 welded sides. In the end, instead of 8 sides being welded to make a rectangle, just 6 sides are created, including the bottom.
- Ultimately, a plan is developed to minimize welded edges.
6. Weld Metal Components
After the breaking phase, we fuse-weld the edge of the planter sides.
This weld penetrates through to the inside of the planter, making the entire structure completely watertight.
If a customer plans to use the planter in an outside application, we will laser cut the required drainage holes or drain fittings in the base of the planter. Or, if the customer has an irrigation plan, we are happy to make cuts for irrigation lines.
We can make any type of custom cuts that the project requires. For example, custom cuts can enable lights to be installed in the side of the planter.
7. Sand and Buff Welding Beads
Fresh welding leaves a rough texture on the metal, known as welding beads.
So, after welding the planters, PureModern planter fabricators begin the arduous task of grinding the welded areas 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. Pre-paint Coating and Heating
A special coating is used in pre-painting to prepare the metal so it effectively receives the powder coat. This coating enables a permanent bond to form between the powder and the metal. Then, the metal is heated so the coating dries evenly and thoroughly.
Note: This step only occurs for aluminum planters.
9. Apply the Powder Coating
Once the pre-paint coating has dried, the metal planter is electrically charged. This step is necessary because powder coating adheres to the metal via static electricity.
Next, we spray the powder coating onto the metal.
PureModern planters are powder coated inside and out with a VOC-free TIGER Drylac® Series 38* architectural-grade powder coating.
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 are sometimes unstable and can release gasses that are unhealthy for people and the environment. That’s why it’s a priority at PureModern to use VOC-free coating.
*Below are details about VOC-free TIGER Drylac® Series 38 architectural-grade powder coating:
- AAMA 2604 compliant
- Often used for military equipment and communication towers
- Based on five-year Florida exposure, it’s proven to be weather and UV-ray resistant. This helps to ensure the planter’s longevity as a permanent part of your commercial space.
10. Cure the Planter Under Heat
Once the planter has been powder coated, we heat the planter to cure the powder coat.
The curing process is sometimes called “cross-linking” because when heat is applied to the powder coat, it melts and creates a chemical reaction that forms network-like structures. These structures are created by a polymer with a higher molecular weight.
A high molecular weight creates a greater degree of molecular entanglement, which results in stronger bonds that ultimately deliver a more durable product.
In simple terms, this curing process results in the planter’s finish becoming much stronger and durable, so it lasts for years to come.
11. Cool the Planter
After the powder coat has cured, we allow the planter to cool before preparing it for shipment to the end customer.
12. Ship the Final Product
The final step in the metal planter manufacturing process is packaging and sending the planter on its way to become another valuable component of our customer’s project.
This is where we do our very best to package our planters, so they arrive without any damage.
Although we outsource the shipping of our planters, in our opinion, the planters are still our responsibility until you receive them on time and as expected.
Every planter we ship is covered by our Done-Right Guarantee.
Our guarantee ensures you receive your planter on time and designed exactly to your unique specifications, or we’ll make it right at no cost to you.
Keep in mind that due to weather or unexpected breakdowns, there may be delays in shipping. We have done our very best to select shipping companies that treat the planters like we treat the planters — with care.
Knowing the ship date, the location, and whether you are using a crane will help us get the planters to you when you need them. Knowing when the planters must arrive enables us to work with our manufacturing schedule to get your project in the queue.
We know that your planters are one part of a multifaceted project. That’s why we strive to deliver perfection — so that you can focus on the holistic success of your project.
At PureModern, 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 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.