The onset of 20th century brought about an increase in the demand for metal fabrication which includes the cutting, bending and assembling of pieces of metals to form metal structures. It also includes the creation of parts, structures, and machines from different raw materials. Fabrication shops vary in sizes from a simple, medium-sized room to a huge metal fabrication plant or facility. A fully furnished fabrication plant usually offers various value-added services that include cutting, welding, forming, and machining. With the availability of fabrication plant, customers are no longer hard-pressed to locate or source out various vendors for each individual fabrication service that they need.
Customers, with their designs or drawings, usually approach various fabrication shops to figure out which among them offers the best quotation and services. If a customer agrees with what a fabrication shop has to offer, then the fabrication stage begins which eventually culminates in the installation of the project. Contractors, VARs, and OEMs likewise employ the services of fabrication shops in their various projects. Some of these usual projects include structural frames for heavy machines and buildings, loose parts, hand railings, and stairs.
Metal fabrication also includes sheet metal fabrication. Sheet metal fabrication involves the process of fabricating flat sheets of aluminum or steel and turning them into metal products or structures. This involves the processes of punching, cutting, folding, and assembling the metal sheets to form metal products or structures. By burning or cutting the sheets of metal into specific sizes, the sheets can be formed into metal products or structures.
Aside from the specific tools used in metal fabrication, fabrication shops generally make use of other specialized tools such as chops saws and band saws when engaging in sheet metal fabrication. Moreover, cutting torches are also utilized to achieve large section cuts on sheet metal with less effort. It also utilizes press brakes—that come in different varieties and functionalities—to facilitate the process of cutting sharp angles and bends within the metal sheet.
Different Procedures and Processes Involved in Sheet Metal Fabrications
Sheet Metal fabrication involves various processes and procedures. These procedures and processes include forming, cutting, welding, stamping, punching, fastening, and finishing.
Cutting is the processes wherein the material fails and separates using applied force. These processes allow the material to be cut or removed. These processes may also include sawing, chiseling, and shearing using power or manual tools. Likewise, it may include torching the material using hand-held plasma torches via the help of computer numerical cutters in the form of lasers.
Forming processes are those processes that make use of applied force to plastically deform a material. With these processes, you can bend or stretch the metal sheet into shapes which you desire.
Welding—is a valuable and necessary process in sheet metal fabrication. Without this process, it is impossible to assemble and join the different components together. The welding process employs various techniques to prevent warping and the onset of abnormalities. These various techniques include sand cooling of the metal, the staggered technique of welding, employing stout fixture, and utilizing specific straightening process. The straightening of defective metal is usually wrought about via the use of the oxy-acetylene torch. In this process, heat is employed to correct the abnormalities or defects of the metals.
Punching—is the process of producing holes on the metal sheet via the use of a punching or scissor-like movement. These holes are created for further fastening of the different components.
Stamping—is the process wherein a single punch or multiple punches, embossing, and bends are progressively and simultaneously created.
Fastening—is the process of providing torque resistance when the metal sheets are very thin. This process involves the use of self-clinching tools such as studs, nuts, spacers, cable tie hooks and mounts, and access hardware.
Finishing—is the process in which the metal is sandblasted, primed, and then painted. This process provides the finished structure with an excellent appearance. Afterward, the finished products are sent to the customers for use. This process likewise involves the altering of the completed metal surface to provide it with improved properties like better appearance, improved adhesion, better wettability, better resistance to corrosion, better resistance to tarnishing, extra hardness, wear resistance, surface friction control, less or better electrical conductivity, and removal of defects.