Millennium Forms: Stainless Steel Interlocking Wall Panel Systems
Millennium Forms provides stainless steel interlocking wall panel systems and tiles that produce stunning visuals when applied to the exterior of commercial buildings. 

When Millennium Forms was ready to expand from their original, uniformly-sized stamped tiles to a more custom product—stainless steel panel systems—they knew they needed a new partner who could handle the precise, custom manufacturing. Their accountant recommended Mathison Manufacturing, and from the very first meeting, the staff from the two companies hit it off. 

Following a few initial phone calls, Mathison Manufacturing invited the Millennium Forms team in for a plant tour, and they were impressed. They could see the care and precision with which we handled other customers’ work and could easily envision us producing their architectural panels with that same attention to detail.

The new wall panel systems would be an entirely new product. While Millennium Forms had extensive experience with uniformly stamped stainless steel tiles, they wanted this new product to be offered in various unique profiles and in a wide range of sizes and gauges, which would require a different manufacturing approach. 

For Mathison Manufacturing, this project meant stepping “outside the box” as well: we generally manufacture products in quantities of one hundred or fewer, but this project could require up to 10,000 parts per run. However, we knew that collaboratively we could grow together and accomplish a flow that would satisfy Millennium Forms’ demand while maintaining exacting quality standards. 


Millennium Forms knew the styles of panels they wanted but needed a manufacturer’s perspective to determine the best approach and to maximize their yield from the materials. We built small, partial wall systems in our plant and together, our engineer and their engineer would spend an afternoon on the break press, creating a mockup of what they wanted. These mockups proved invaluable in their sales process, as they were then able to show their prospects—architects—an example of the product. 

As a result of all the hard work, Mathison now supplies all fabrication drawings to Millennium Forms for approval. 

Custom Fabrication for a Unique Product
Much of what makes the wall panel systems unique is their color. Millennium Forms uses an electromechanical process to color stainless steel—without using dyes or pigments—resulting in a stunning aesthetic that appears to change color depending on the environment, light, weather, and angle. Millennium Forms supplies these stainless-steel sheets to Mathison Manufacturing to manufacture and ship the finished panel systems. 

Each project is different, as the sizes of the panels vary, each building is unique, and each requires different quantities. Some projects are especially complex: for example, the plans for one building, a massive community center in Chicago, called for a random pattern using different colors ranging from gold to burgundy. This meant that as we ran the stainless-steel sheets through our laser cutter, we had to then lay the cut panels out like playing cards to achieve the random color pattern. 

Many panels have multiple angles that require “freehanding” or “air bending,” where the operator cannot use the back gauges but must instead scribe, then hand-bend the panel per the engineering drawing. For one project, we had to hand-bend each specific panel to fit the corners of the building, at 15 or 30 degree angles. Mathison Manufacturing staff had to calculate each panel separately, then scribe and form them for one specific position on the building—each panel was intended for one position only and couldn’t be installed anywhere else. To stay organized and to ensure the construction staff would be able to locate the correct panels and install them in the appropriate position on the building, we named them—for example, “upper corner second panel.” They were carefully placed in crates which were labeled on both the outside and the inside, so that once they were on the construction site, construction staff could easily locate the panels they needed. 

Packaging & Shipping
When the panel systems leave our shop, they are often being sent by semi directly to the jobsite at locations throughout the U.S., where they may sit out in the rain or snow until they’re ready to be installed. Because the product is highly aesthetic, it is important the panel systems are not damaged or scratched enroute, so we make thoughtful decisions around packaging design. Our forming operators take great pride in making sure the crates are packed to minimize shifting and to protect the panels. 

Collaboration & Communication
Close collaboration with Millennium Forms staff helps make these projects successful. As part of our “voice of the customer” approach, our team interacts with Millennium Forms staff at various levels—including quality, sales, engineering, project management, and more. We regularly conduct post-manufacturing reviews to discuss what went right, and what we need help with, which has allowed Millennium Forms staff to make decisions internally to help streamline the fabrication process (saving time and money for all involved). Millennium Forms staff have even visited the plant during production so they can have a better understanding of the process flow. 

Mathison Manufacturing remains the exclusive provider of these panels and we love celebrating the results just as much as Millennium Forms does; we’ve even traveled to see an installation. Over the years, Millennium Forms has developed a high degree of trust in us and our work—and not only trust that we’ll deliver a high-quality product, on-time, but that their trade secrets will remain confidential. Because we operate from a foundation of honesty and integrity, Millennium Forms knows their intellectual property is safe with us. As our partnership continues to grow and evolve, we look forward to continuing to work together on more innovative pro.

Learn more about our Sheet Metal Fabrication service.
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