Wednesday, October 27, 2010

OR-Fab Jeep JK and TJ Steel Plate Bumpers: How They're Made

A behind the scenes look at how OR-Fab manufactures it's most popular bumpers for the Jeep JK and TJ.  

Every time your Jeep JK or TJ makes contact with a rock, you rely on the strength and quality of the bumper you’re using to protect your vehicle. While there are many aftermarket bumpers for these Jeeps, some will flex and bend due to short-cuts taken during the manufacturing process. Items like thin lower-grade steel, robotic welders and foregoing quality spot checks help keep the cost of making a bumper low. But manufacturers such as OR-Fab have, over the years, realized that attention to details, higher quality materials, and hand-craftsmanship goes a long way to making a product stronger, reliable and most importantly, fit correctly when you go to install it on your Jeep.

A CNC laser cutter is used to cut out
the bumper shape from a 3/16-inch
sheet of high-quality steel plate
 Located in Chino Valley, Arizona OR-Fab’s manufacturing facility is immense. It’s here where OR-Fab, Performance Accessories and Trail Master Suspension products are manufactured from conception to the final product. For example, OR-Fab’s steel plate bumpers for Jeep JK and TJ models begin from a single sheet of 3/16-inch thick steel plate, that is quality checked and sent through a precision CNC laser cutter. It’s here that all the bolt-holes, winch fairlead, driving lights, D-ring mount holes and more, are all cut so that they are exactly the same on each subsequent sheet of steel fed into this machine.

Once the flat form of the bumper is cut out from the steel plate, it’s sent to a CNC press brake, where it’s carefully bent into the proper angles and the bumper begins to take shape. Some models will feature a grille guard or Stinger hoop. In these applications .120 wall steel tubing is pre-cut to the proper length before it’s inserted into a mandrel CNC tube bender. This also ensures that the bends remain smooth and consistent, especially if there are multiple bends on a single piece of tubing. Once bent, the tubing ends are given a radius cut end so that it can be attached to the bumper.

After the steel plate is cut out, it is
taken to a press brake where it is bent
to the exact angles so that the bumper
begins to take shape
 At this point in the manufacturing process, there are several pieces that make up the bumper; a main body, two sides and, in some cases, a hoop. In some models, OR-Fab has been able to create a complete bumper from a single piece of 3/16-inch steel plate. Those using several pieces are taken to an area where they are hand welded using a fixture. This ensures that each bumper component is attached in the proper position and maintains consistency from one bumper to the next. OR-Fab also pre-welds the ½-inch thick steel bumper mounting brackets onto the bumper to ensure that it easily bolts onto the factory bumper location without any fittment problems.

Although the hand welds along the outside of the bumper are clean and smooth, OR-Fab prefers to grind them all by hand. Once’ it’s done, there’s no trace of a seam, weld, or anything other than a perfect radius edge. The raw steel bumper is then taken over to the powder coater where a durable wrinkled black finish is applied to it.

Along each step of the manufacturing
process, the bumper angles and
clearances are constantly checked to
ensure consistency of fittment onto
the vehicle it's intended for
  While this manufacturing method may seem like a long and arduous process, it is. But OR-Fab believes their meticulous methods ensure a stronger, more reliable product with consistent fitment, making it easy to install for the end user. Over the last few years, it has paid off for OR-Fab, who has a growing number of Jeep owners who won’t use any other product to protect their vehicles, and enhance the appearance.

OR-Fab Jeep JK and Jeep TJ bumpers are available in a wide variety of designs starting with a bare bumper without a winch mount or driving lights, to models with top or integrated winch mounts, grille hoops and Stinger bars. Each feature reinforced D-ring mounts and comes with two D-rings. For more information, visit
DS Media

Some OR-Fab bumpers utillize a Stinger hoop or grille
guard. These are manufactured using a CNC mandrel
tube bender to ensure a smooth and consistent bend
from .120 wall steel tubing

Bumpers calling for a Stinger hoop or grille guard
will be hand welded to the bumper on a weld fixture

Each weld is ground smooth by hand to leave behind a
perfect radius edge

Once the bumper is complete, it is finished with a durable
black powdercoat finish.

OR-Fab manufactures a wide variey of front and rear
bumpers for Jeep JK and TJ models

Related Articles and videos: 
How to install an OR-Fab Jeep JK Sport Cage
How to install an OR-Fab Sheet Metal Rear Bumper
Video: Performance Automotive Group Manufacturing Facility

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