Sourcing piping system components—from flanges to other standard and non-standard pipe fittings—is easier when you have a dedicated distributor on your side. A distributor should ensure you’re getting the right parts, and you should look for a supplier who offers attentive service and helps you get the best price. When looking for a flange distributor or supplier, do your research to find the best option for your business. This often comes down to the supplier’s professionalism, knowledge, service, and flexibility.
Customer Service and Communication
The ideal flange distributor or supplier provides excellent customer service and is available through all phases of the flange-buying process, including but not limited to development, manufacturing, and fulfillment.
Production cost can be reduced when the manufacturer has a clear understanding of flange requirements—and API International’s skilled employees ensure your parts are produced as defined by the relevant standards or to your custom requirements. Your flange supplier should be able to answer your questions regarding materials, flange features, temperature and pressure ratings, and connection types, as well as provide recommendations to help you stay within your project budget and schedule.
Wide Range of Stock Items
Beyond flanges, explore the distributor’s other product options. Can you source your fittings and other products from the flange supplier, as well? Using multiple distributors can be a hassle and may cost more. Building a relationship with a distributor who can supply all of the items you’ll need creates a more convenient, streamlined ordering process that is often easier on the budget as well.
Your distributor should be capable of sourcing or producing flanges and other products in a wide range of sizes, materials, and specifications. It is also a huge advantage for your distributor to have a direct relationship with their factories. Because your piping system components all come from one place, the distributor is better able to help you find what you need based on previous orders—and can bring attention to discrepancies or potential problems with new orders.
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Custom Machining Capabilities
If in-stock items don’t meet your application requirements, look for a flange supplier that can manufacture custom products or machine stock items to your exact specifications. Often times your customer may need a flange with an overbore, counterbore, chamfer, taper, surface finish or custom bolt hole drilling or threading, so it is important to be able to do quick turn modifications to standard parts. Whether for a large order or to fulfill your own customer’s requirements, a flange supplier should be able to produce and distribute flanges and other parts at a volume that meets your needs.
API carries stock items, but we can also fulfill custom orders to provide our customers with more options. Our custom machining capabilities include manufacturing large parts, reverse-engineering, prototyping, and making modifications to stock items as needed. Because we stock and supply both AIS and imported materials, we can customize or manufacture the products you need to match your exact specifications while providing you with a quick turnaround time and a custom product within a high degree of accuracy.
A Focus on Quality Control
While some distributors may offer flanges and other pipe fittings at a lower price point, the difference in cost may be because the flanges are manufactured using lower-quality, lower-priced materials or because the distributor is less focused on the quality assurance process. However, high quality doesn’t always mean high costs. The knowledgeable machinists and quality control technicians at API International, Inc. are quick and accurate and may even be able to produce your required products at a reduced cost—especially for high-volume orders.
We always begin the manufacturing process with materials that have been tested for quality, and we examine the Mill Certification Report to verify that the material meets applicable manufacturing standards.
Short Lead Time and Delivery
Whether ordering stock items or fully custom components, delivery time matters. You must be able to meet your deadlines, so choose a supplier that can fulfill your orders quickly and accurately. Our short lead time means you get your parts fast, whether for a specific project or OEM parts. Our warehouses are conveniently located throughout the United States which allows for speedy distribution.
When selecting a distributor of flanges and other pipe fittings, product quality is a key consideration—but looking at employee skill, custom product capabilities, affordability, and turnaround will also help you make the right choice. API International, Inc. strives to provide incredible customer service, top-quality flanges, and support through every step of the process—whether you’re purchasing in-stock or custom items. Contact us with questions or order information.