New Developments in Metal Fabrication
In ancient times metal fabrication was used for non-decorative purposes, for example making tools and weapons. Scientists refer to the techniques used in fabrication processes as metallurgy. Over the course of time the kinds of metals used has changed as has our ability to mine and extract different metals. Metals come from the earth in the form of ores. Typically iron and steel are used to make cars, trucks and aeroplanes whilst gold and silver are used in electronic circuitry.
Metal fabrication to this day remains a high in-demand trade and there are many college and apprenticeships that provide training in this area.
A number of techniques are used in the fabrication process including sawing, shearing, chiselling and hammering for bending. Welding, adhesives, fasteners and riveting are most commonly used for joining and binding metal pieces together. Welding remains the most used technique for steel fabrication, where the formed or machined parts are assembled and welded into place.
Custom Sheet Metal Fabrication
Custom sheet metal fabrication is commonly used in the ventilation, air conditioning and heating industries. With the help of computer aided plasma cutting and computerized layout techniques, shops can fabricate one part or thousands of identical parts required to build the most efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems for residential, commercial and industrial sectors.
One of the most common ways of cutting metal is by shearing using special band saws designed for the purpose with extra hard blades and a mechanism for even cutting. Types of saws used include cut-off saws, or chop saws, and miter saws Very large sections of steel can be cut using torches.
Plasma and laser cutting tables are frequently used. Water jet cutters, are also widely used. Plate steel is placed on a table where a computer programmed controls the cutting process. Fabrication of structural steel by plasma and laser cutting introduces robots to move the cutting head in three dimensions around the material to be cut.
In terms of forming hydraulic brake presses are the most frequently used. The cut plate is placed in the press and a v-shaped die is pressed a predetermined distance to bend the plate to the desired angle. Sometime wing brakes and hand powered brakes are introduced
Tube bending machines have specially shaped dies and mandrels to bend tubular sections without kinking them.
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