Understanding Metal Fabrication Processes
Metal fabrication is the fabrication of metal structures either by cutting, welding, broaching, and assembling techniques. It’s a value-added procedure involving the fabrication of mechanical parts, machines, and other structures from various raw elements. A lot of metal fabrication uses traditional machines such as cutters, punches, presses, grinders, and grinders. Some modern fabrication methods use computer controlled machinery such as CNC machines (Computer Numerated Control) that manipulate the metal being cut into specified shapes. However, it doesn’t make sense to put such a large emphasis on fabrication without considering design.
The majority of structural metal fabrication is used to build industrial structures. Structural metal fabrication is a vital element of the commercial aircraft market. Airlines have to find metal fabricators capable of building both the horizontal and vertical sectional wings which are necessary for airplane safety. Contractors also require reliable fabricators for the installation of roof panels, stabilizers, landing gears, struts, etc. Furthermore, structural metal fabrication is also required for the manufacturing of generators, ships’ hulls, automobiles, trucks, and other heavy goods.
While metal fabrication techniques include direct gas or pressurized machining methods, it also includes indirect gas or electric machining techniques. Metal fabricators employ either direct or indirect gas/electric techniques for the purpose of cutting, bent, twisting, and building components. The techniques employ CNC (Computer Numerated Control) technology to enable them to manipulate and control parts on the fly during the fabrication process. This gives them a distinct advantage over traditional machining techniques. They are capable of forming intricate features and designs in a relatively fast and accurate manner.
Another important metal fabrication technique involves the use of sheet metal bending and deformation processes. It’s widely used in aerospace and defense industry. The fabrication includes creating hollow components from solid materials and can be done for both domestic and commercial applications. The bending process is used to manufacture components for tanks, aircraft, space shuttles, cars, etc. Deformation process is used to create components that are stable in any type of environment and it can also be used to create component parts that are lightweight and very durable.
In addition to these basic processes, metal fabrication also involves a host of other technological processes like welding, punching, drilling, turning, cutting, annealing, engraving, etc. These processes are used in the manufacturing process to transform raw metal into a final product. A metal fabrication shop usually has a wide array of tools and machineries for performing each process mentioned above. Depending upon the requirements of the client, the shop can either perform the entire metal fabrication process or handle a part of the process like sheet metal bending or sheet metal deformation.
To perform the entire metal fabrication process or to perform one or more specific operations such as bending, punching, cutting or deforming, a shop has to have the requisite equipment. For example, for punching, the machine needs to have a TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) torch along with a drill press; for cutting, a shop has to have a table saw; for cutting metal, a shop must have a band saw along with a drill press; for engraving, a CNC (Computer Numerated Control) machine is used along with a EDM (Electronic Data Model) file. Similarly, depending upon the type of material to be manufactured, various other machineries and tools are required along with skilled personnel to perform the operation successfully. Moreover, metal fabrication does not just stop at the cutting of metal. It also requires expertise in welding, soldering, assembling and even painting.