What is Metal Fabrication?
Metal fabrication is a manufacturing process created through various techniques of metal cutting, punching, bending/forming, welding, assembly and finishing. Metal fabrication can often be described as a value-added process involving converting engineering drawings through raw materials using various machines and engineering skills to create a final product.
Fabrication companies usually submit quotes for their clients who require metal fabrication services and tailor to their specific requirements.
What are the Processes involved in Metal Fabrication?
Within Metal Fabrication there can be a variety of services that can be utilised bespoke to each requirement. This is usually identified when an Engineering drawing/ sketch or concept is submitted to establish the best route to manufacture.
Cutting – Metal cutting can involve manual and powered forms from sawing, shearing, guillotine, plasma cutting to CNC laser cutting.
Punching – Punching can be defined as another cutting process that uses a punch press to force a tool, called a punch, through sheet metal to create a hole by shearing. Punching can be a cost effective options when creating holes or shapes in sheet forms for medium to high production volumes.
Blanking is another term used when a bespoke shaped punch is used to create a “blank” from sheet metal material
Bending/Forming – In Sheet metal fabrication bending or metal forming as it can be known as involves the use of press brakes to form sheet metal in the desired shape. These can range from small brackets to large 4m channel sections.
Welding – This is another valued added process in metal fabrication and involves joining two metal joints together using either MIG or TIG welding techniques
Assembly – In addition to welding, assembly can involve riveting, threaded fasteners or screws to complete a fabricated assembly piece.
Finishing – The exact finish required is dependent on the nature of the component part and which environment it will be in for example stainless steel parts for the food industry need to be burr free to minimise any contamination, fabrications that are external require galvanising or zinc plating. Other parts may require powder coating or heat treatment depending on their specific application.
what types of metal fabrication techniques is there?
The most common metal fabrication techniques involve:
Metal cutting is a process done through a manual technique such as sawing or guillotine for basic cutting operations. Complex cutting involves powered forms such as a CNC laser cutting machine which can cut complex shapes from sheet metal. Other operations involving tube or box section require the use of a 3d laser cutting machine that can cut to size or create various shapes.
Traditional cutting methods using a plasma cutting machine are useful for thicker materials and for simple shapes. The benefits of a CNC laser cutting machine is not only the speed but the precision and finish of each metal profile.
A process in which a turret punch machine punches holes or louvres out of sheet metal. Another term is often used called “blanking” to create blanks from a sheet of metal. The benefits of this metal fabrication technique is the cost saving when producing medium to high volumes.
Metal Forming is the general term used to describe bending or rolling sheet metal. Bending sheet metal is a technique used to form sheet metal by clamping the work piece between a punch and die using a press brake. The type of die used determines the form required which can include:
- V die – the most common die available where the bottom is made to different opening sizes to form various angles required
- Advanced press brakes now have a back gauge which can position a piece of metal accurately so the bends are formed in the right place. This can also be programmed to move between bends for parts that require complex bends.
Welding is an important fabrication technique as it requires precision and the right type of weld to ensure a fabrication is robust and complies with standards.
MIG welding (Metal Inert Gas ) is a process where an electric arc forms between a wire electrode and fuses metal work together. The equipment required to achieve this metal fabrication technique is a welding gun, a wire feed unit, a welding electrode wire, power supply and a shielding gas supply.
what industries would need a metal fabrication service?
Metal fabrication services are widely used in the Automotive sector often in larger volumes to cater for increased demand
The yellow goods sector involves a large proportion of fabricated parts from small brackets to large boom fabrications. Fabrications often involve mild steel material that is laser cut, formed, welded and finished with powder coating or zinc plating.
Structural steel is commonly used within the construction industry with steel fabrications manufactured to CE standards
Fabrications including base plates, columns, trusses, handrails and industrial stairs are just a small example of the variety of parts fabricated within this sector.
Clients within the materials handling sector require metal fabrications for bespoke machines or equipment within distribution centres
With continuous improvements on our National rail infrastructure, the need to have metal component is very important.
Steel packers for rail repairs or brackets for internals within carriages are manufactured by fabrication companies.
Robust fabrications are required within the security sector with products such as cash in transit services, security fencing and securing of high value retail items
The petrochemical sector is highly specialised and requires a fabrication company that can weld to a high standard. Manufacturing fabrications for the petrochemical sector can include filtration systems, filter housings and distributors.
On site we have 2 Trumpf laser machines and recently a Bystronic Fiber laser which provides precision cutting technology ensuring that parts are cut to customer specification.