If you’ve served in or done work for any branch of the military, you’re probably familiar with metal furniture. But you might not have thought about the “why” of it. Why choose metal over other materials, such as wood?
You’ll find a few good reasons here.
Metal Furniture Manufacturers Should Always Start With Smart Design
But first, let’s quickly talk about the “how” of it. How is metal military furniture -- or metal furniture for any other application -- fabricated? The answer can vary among metal furniture manufacturers, and the differences can be important to quality and budget.
Metal furniture is constructed from sheet metal, and you must design it with the material and the manufacturing process in mind. This doesn’t always happen. And that’s part of the reason 40% of a manufacturer’s time can be spent fixing problems.
Here’s an example: To make furniture, sheet metal has to be bent. This action can affect things like holes for bolts that hold the furniture together. If the design doesn’t accommodate bending, the result can be a misalignment and problems putting the furniture together. The real end result is a lot of wasted time and money.
The key to avoiding costly design-to-manufacturing oversights is to follow design-for-manufacturing (DFM) principles. You can save yourself a lot of headaches by finding a manufacturer who uses the DFM approach.
If you partner with the right metal fabricator, you’ll get all the good stuff that comes along with using metal for your military furniture:
We Love These 3 Things About Metal Military Furniture
Benefit #1: Affordability
Taxpayers like things that are inexpensive, but of solid quality. Metal furniture can fit the bill -- but not because it’s cheaper from the get-go. The secret to its affordability is its long life span. Metal furniture can serve its purpose for 15 years or more.
Just as important, because metal furniture is built to last, it can carry a better warranty than furniture built with other materials, such as wood. In fact, it can be protected by warranty for 10 years or longer.
Bottom line: Metal furniture might cost more when you buy it, but you won’t have to replace it as often. The worst that can happen is that you’ll break even versus other materials.
Benefit #2: Durability
This is, of course, the main reason metal furniture is affordable. It’s durable, so it lasts longer.
Soldiers and sailors are not known for their gentle treatment of furniture, but that isn’t necessarily the main concern. The real issue is the environment.
There is no shortage of corrosion in marine environments. That’s the most obvious problem when it comes to military applications, and advances in marine metal fabrication techniques have met the challenge. However, troops deployed to, say, the Middle East, face different difficulties, such as exposure to heat, dust, and other potentially damaging elements that come with working under harsh conditions.
With the right coating, metal can resist corrosion and punctures. If the coating is damaged, it can be fixed quickly and easily using a repair kit that can even be part of the furniture order.
Wood rots, chips, and so on. Why waste time with it when you can order sturdy metal components?
Benefit #3: Cleanability
Bed bugs show no signs of going away anytime soon. Preventive measures can be helpful, but when a lot of human beings are in close quarters, the chances of bed bugs joining the party are higher.
Of course, bed bugs aren’t the only potential pest problem. There are mites and lice and other unwanted critters that can make a showing.
It’s easy to see why efforts to manage pests aren’t called “pest elimination” but rather “pest control.” The have a tendency to come back. So the best way to control them is to clean them out. Metal furniture makes this chore easier.
These are the pest control advantages of metal furniture:
It doesn’t absorb chemical pest control treatments the way wood does, so potentially harmful substances aren’t left behind.
It’s easier to clean than wood furniture, so maintaining an environment free of pests, dirt, etc. is less time-consuming and more likely to be thorough.
No one in the military wants to spend extra time cleaning furniture.
But What About the Look?
Aesthetically, people seem to prefer wood furniture to metal. While there are treatments that can make metal look somewhat like wood, you may not want to bother with this step in a world where function outweighs form.
Metal has its own charm anyway. Like wood, it can be designed to offer visual appeal. For example, powder coating comes in a huge variety of colors and works perfectly with metal.
If you do take issue with the traditional look of metal furniture, you should see what metal fabricators are doing these days to combine a DFM approach with an aesthetically sound product. You might be surprised how eye-catching metal military furniture can be!