Metal fabrication is a broad term that captures all processes involved in manufacturing products made from materials such as steel and aluminium.
Depending on the requirements of your products, and how it needs to perform in their daily use, the types of metal fabrication required may vary.
In this blog, we’ve highlighted some of the more common metal fabrication processes, describing what they involve and what they would be used for, so when it comes to selecting your metal fabricators, you’ll know exactly what to look out for.
It’s important to note that the below list is far from comprehensive and is an indication of some of the more common metal fabrication processes.
Metal Fabrication Welding
Available manually or through robotic automation, welding is a process that joins two or more metal components together.
Depending on the types of metal you are welding, and the levels of finishing required the type of welding required may vary.
From arc welding, to spot, laser or plasma, all varieties use extreme heat, combining gas and electricity to fuse the materials together and create an almost unbreakable bond.
Laser Cutting & Fabricating
Computer-controlled, laser cutting uses an extremely high-powered laser to cut parts quickly and efficiently from large metal sheets. Easily burning through material up 12mm (and more in some instances), the laser burns through the metal sheet without leaving rough edges like some other cutting processes do.
While more expensive than plasma cutters or manual methods, laser cutting is much quicker and is ideal for large volume production and when the highest levels of precision are required.
One of the broadest terms under metal fabrication, machining itself refers to a range of different processes. Best described as the process of cutting or removing material from a workpiece to form a desired shape or size, machining is what is known as ‘subtractive’ manufacturing because it involves removing material.
Using what is called a press brake tool, metal bending is a fabrication process that deforms metal components, causing them to bend at desired angles.
With tools available to bend both sheet metal and extruded metal parts, bending typically results in what is known in the industry as ‘V’ or ‘U’ shaped bends. These parts are commonly used when manufacturing box parts as a way of keeping material waste and cost down.
Metal punching is similar to cutting in the sense it removes material, however, metal punching uses great amounts of force to punch shapes from large pieces of sheet metal.
Typically, the punched holes should be simple geometric shapes such as circles, squares or rectangles and will be uniform in size across the entire sheet making them ideal for things such as security fencing and guarding.
Metal forming is a type of fabrication that fall under the ‘presswork category. This is because, like metal bending, metal parts are shaped through deformation to the point that the workpiece is permanently reshaped.
Through roll forming, extrusion or die forming, this process is particularly common in the automotive sector where large pieces of bodywork are formed from a single piece of metal.
To Sum It Up
Whenever you require a manufacturing process using metal, fabrication is an essential part that converts the raw materials into the finished product.
As we’ve discussed there’s countless types of metal fabrication and techniques that give dozens of different results, whatever the requirements.
From welding and being capable of joining multiple pieces of metal together, to cutting, punching, and machining it into a variety of shapes, fabrication gives you complete control over your metal components.
For more or if you want to discuss extensive metal fabrication for your next project, speak to our expert team who can provide a unique fabrication and powder coating service.