Sheet metal has become one of the most important materials in the manufacturing industry.
Metals like steel, brass, tin, aluminum, copper, nickel, titanium, etc., are used to make sheet metal. You can also find plastic-coated sheet metal. These thin sheets of metal then go through a fabrication process, where they are transformed into products or components.
The steel fabrication method is one of the major reasons behind the evolution of the construction and manufacturing industry. Everything from skyscrapers, shopping malls to warehouses, almost every aspect of construction has structural steel.
With the rising use of sheet metal in every aspect of construction, the demand for the same has increased. To meet these demands, many manufacturers are stepping into the business of sheet metal fabrication. However, the techniques and tools used by each manufacturer may differ.
You can easily find several sheet metal parts manufacturers in Faridabad using different techniques and tools.
If you are new to the sheet metal fabrication industry and are not familiar with the popular techniques and tools of the fabrication process, then continue reading.
In this article, we will discuss all the popular techniques and tools of the mentioned process. But before that, let’s put some light on the brief definition of sheet metal fabrication.
What Is Sheet Metal Fabrication?
Sheet metal fabrication is all about turning flat sheets of metals, like steel or aluminum, into structures or products. The transformation is performed by cutting, punching, folding, and assembling the sheet metal into nearly any shape.
Cutting is one of the most basic fabrication processes. As the name says, it involves cutting the metal sheets into half, thirds, or smaller sections. Manual and power tools, like handheld plasma torches, are used to carry out the process. In most applications, the metal being cut is freshly made and has not given a particular shape. However, the process can also be carried on pre-shaped metals like measured panels and bars.
Sheet metal fabricators consider folding as the most complicated part of the process. It involves folding the metal surface at specific angles to form a shape. Shaping the metal at the right angles is crucial for the overall working of the component. However, the process has been simplified by incorporating specific, high-tech equipment that neutralizes all the complexities of the entire process. Now, the joining of two metals at required angles can be done accurately and with efficacy.
The making of certain metal components requires welding. It is a part of the fabrication process where two or more metal pieces are fused together using heat, pressure, or both. Different metal structures like panels, sheets, and bars can be joined together using the process. There are four main types of welding:
- MIG – Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)
- TIG – Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)
- Stick – Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
- Flux-cored – Flux-cored Arc Welding (FCAW)
Machining is a process where a machine is used to remove unnecessary pieces from the metal. Usually, the process is carried on a lathe that rotates the metal against tools and trims it at specific angles to give it the desired shape or measurement. The machining application helps fabricators acquire the required shape of the metal piece. Furthermore, holes are also formed into the metal using a metal drill.
In this process, the metal piece is placed under a die. Then, it is moved through a drill that punches holes into it. The fabricator must correctly set the drill slot to ensure that the circumference of the holes being punched is accurate. In most applications, the purpose of drilling holes into metal pieces is for fastening latches or other products. In other applications, the holes are extracted from a larger panel to form a minor part.
There are metal sheets that are required to be cut into longer parts. To do so, the process of shearing is used. In some scenarios, a cutting tool is applied vertically against the length of the flat metal sheet, while in others, the flat sheet is passed horizontally through the cutting machine. Additionally, there is a third method where the sheet metal is placed over the edge of an open cutter, and trimming is done from any side of the metal.
Sometimes to form a metal structure, a certain portion of the sheet metal is to be raised. It needs to be done without any penetration. This is when the process of stamping comes into the frame. The process involves forming certain shapes, images, or letters with a metal sheet. The process is mainly carried out to form coins, caps of cans, and other similar things.
Casting is when molten metal is poured into a mold and is allowed to cool so that it solidifies into a specific form. The most flexible method of fabrication is perfect for a broad spectrum of complex shape-making. Casting is used when other fabrication methods fail to provide the specific requirements of a metal component. The metals typically employed in this application are steel, iron, silver, copper, and magnesium.
Fastening provides torque resistance in applications where the sheet metal is too thin to be secured by other methods. The sheet metal is secured using self-clinching tools like nuts, studs, spacers, cable tie mounts, and hooks.
After achieving the entire metal structure, it is altered to add a certain property, like better appearance, resistance to chemicals, corrosion and wear, electrical conductivity, hardness, blemish removal, and surface friction control.
Apart from the ones mentioned above, there are other fabrication techniques like honing, broaching, galvanizing, grinding, milling, and roll forming. The use of all these techniques varies from application to application. There are some sheet metal parts manufacturers in Faridabad that perform specially customized types of fabrication.
Tools Used In Sheet Metal Fabrication
Metal Cutting Saws
The category of metal cutting saws includes circular saws, cold saws, chop saws, and band saws. You can use the different saws to carry out the fabrication process with ease and safety.
Deburring and Bevelling Tools
The deburring and bevelling tools are strong yet lightweight. They consist of grinders, bevel mills, sanders, etc. These tools offer vibration-free performance and help fabricators to achieve high-quality results every time.
Sheet Metal Rolling Equipment
The sheet metal rolling equipment comes in both manual and powered operation. They simplify the process of bending and rolling metal sheets.
Angle Grinders help in carrying out more than one process in sheet metal fabrication. They can be used for cutting, grinding, and polishing sheet metal. The hand-held power tools can work on different metals, no matter the size.
The tool is used to cut metal sheets into straight, curved, or irregular lines. It allows easy cutting through a variety of metals.
Wire cutters are simple tools used for tasks ranging from finishing fabrication projects to trim frayed ends.
The drill bits are the most important tools used in the fabrication process. They are used to drill holes in the sheet metal so that they can be used together into a component that can deliver the required work.
The definition of sheet metal fabrication is easy to understand. It starts from a metal sheet and ends with the final products that can either be used by end customers or manufacturing firms to create further products. The process has become the spine of all industries, including construction, manufacturing, aviation, electronics, and others.
To carry out the fabrication process, above mentioned techniques and tools play a major role. We hope that the article has provided you a vivid picture of the sheet metal fabrication process.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask in the comments section.