Ever imagined every time you get in a car or pick up the phone or turn on an electronic appliance, you are experiencing a result of metal fabrication? Metal fabrication is done even on the smallest object which is as minute as a nail or a nut bolt. Without this we would not be able to utilize electrical systems which keeps our houses, kitchens, businesses, computers, and vehicles operational. However, it is essential to understand what metal fabrication is all about, as well as all of the areas of our lives it affects. This article will help you know more about the essentials of metal fabrication: its definition, process and benefits.
What is Metal Fabrication?
Metal fabrication is the creation of metal structures by cutting, bending and assembling processes. It is a process of manufacturing sheet metal to make it conform to specific shapes. It involves the invention and creation of machines, its parts, and structures from various raw materials. As trending in the manufacturing process, in Metal Fabrication there is a blend of both human labor and automation. A fabricated product is called a fabrication, and shops that specialize in this type of work are called fab shops.
Metal fabrication requires brainstorming on strategic planning before actual work begins. The plan must have these basic topics covered like engineering, negotiations, follow up communication with the client, scope for alterations in plan, raw material sourcing and procurement, etc.
Metal Fabrication process:
The very initial process of Metal Fabrication begins with choosing the right method. This will vary with the shape of the part, the planned usage and the material it is made of. Each metal fabrication process may follow cutting, drilling, folding and welding of the strongest material available. Here are the most commonly used examples of some choices for different metal fabrication processes:
- Cutting: The most commonly used metal fabrication process involves cutting, where sheets of metal are split into halves, thirds or smaller sections. In most of the applications, the metal being cut has yet to be shaped into another desired shape.
- Folding: A complicated process of metal fabrication is folding, where a metal surface is steered to shape at a particular angle.
- Welding: After cutting, welding is the second most popular metal fabrication processes among metal crafts enthusiasts. The process of welding involves the joining of two separate metal parts. Welding can be done through numerous methods like application of heat along the points where the two pieces are meant to be joined.
- Machining: The process is known as Machining when a machine is used to remove portions from a piece of metal. This is generally performed on a lathe, which rotates the metal against tools that will trim corners and edges to cut the piece down to a desired shape or measurement.
- Punching: it is very similar to punching a hole into a paper, holes are punched in a piece of metal, where metal is placed under a die and submitted to a punch-through by a drill. The purpose of fastening latches or other foreign parts is achieved with punching.
- Shearing: Some sheets of metal require long cuts, this process is known as shearing. There are various methods used, like the sheet is fed horizontally through a metal-cutting machine or placing the metal over the edge of an open cutter and lowering the blade, much like the paper cutters found at copy facilities. Shearing is widely utilized to trim the edges of a metal sheet.
- Stamping: Sometimes the goal is not to form a hole, but to raise a certain portion of a metal sheet, without penetrating. For applications like these, the process of stamping is used to form certain shapes, letters or images within a metal sheet or panel. The best example of metal stamping is seen on coins, where words, currency amounts and the faces of presidents are stamped on both sides of the coin.
- Casting: It is very similar to molds with shapes. One of the oldest types of metal fabrication, casting is where molten metal is poured into a mold and is left to solidify into a specific form. As one of the most flexible methods of metal fabrication, casting is ideal for a wide range of complex shape-making.
Benefits of Metal Fabrication:
A top reason why Metal fabrication is in demand today is that it’s a sustainable business. It can simplify and accelerate the process of fabrication due to its multiple cost efficient qualities. Here are some of the benefits of metal fabrication:
- Superior strength: Metal is a way superior material from the rest in terms of its strength. Particularly critical is its high tensile strength, or resistance from being pulled apart, that makes it useful for wires, cables, screws and other hardware. It also demonstrates great compressive strength due to which the metal is easily manipulated to bend, drill and shape.
- Aesthetic quality: Whether it is a consumer product or a piece of industrial equipment, metal signifies strength and smooth operation. We largely compare aesthetics and utility and that’s exactly why the latest technological revolution has mostly centered on sleek, elegant metal forms such as laptops and smartphones.
- Heat resistance: Compared to plastic, metal is capable of withstanding a dramatic increase in temperature. The manufacturer today account for the expansion that results due to increase in temperature and hence this heat is not likely to damage the metal part.
- Withstands fabrication process: Metal being so strong can withstand lots of different manufacturing and fabrication processes. These include deep drawing, forging, casting, welding, soldering, chipping, peening and more, making a wide array of metal shapes making it flexible in design.
- Cost-efficiency: Particularly in high-volume production, metal is extremely cost-efficient. Machine shops can replicate procedures and create large volume of similar pieces at relatively little cost per unit. More the merrier is an apt statement for this ultimate benefit from Metal Fabrication.
Metal fabrication processes involve complex systems of tools and machinery to achieve an end product. At IronTech, we specialize in a variety of metal fabrication processes for customers across a vast range of industries and sectors.