At Cadet Steel in Denver, we recognize that not everyone understands what metal fabrication involves. A quick overview of metal fabrication can help clarify the basics of our day-to-day work. Sheet metal fabrication covers a process that manipulates materials to create components that can be used as part of a finished product or to create items that are standalone finished pieces. Almost every manufacturing field uses some form of metal fabrication—from the automotive industry to engineering to the culinary industry—and has probably used components that have gone through the following parts of the metal fabrication process.
One of the first things done in metal fabrication is cutting. Large sheets of metal or pieces of metal are cut or sheared into smaller pieces. Cutting can be achieved using an electrical discharge machine (EDM) which involves materials being melted using a spark from a charged electrode.
Cutting can also be accomplished using a plasma cutting process, like the process we use at Cadet Steel in Denver. Plasma, which is an ionized gas, sprays in a high-velocity jet from the cutter torch to the production piece. The plasma heats and melts the material while blowing the melted material away. It is a very precise production process.
Cutting can be accomplished with sawing or shearing (sometimes referred to as die-cutting). It can also be accomplished manually as well. Cutting can involve laser mill bits, torches, or water jets. This first step in the process can be quite complicated.
Once the metal has been cut, it will be shaped into the component needed. Metal pieces can be rolled or formed using a variety of techniques. Sometimes the metal is shaped over a roll stand, sometimes the metal is formed and bent by hand. During this portion of the process, pieces may be welded together, or holes may be punched into the metal.
If a design is needed in the metal, tools can be used to stamp the metal. There are several techniques used during the forming process in metal fabrication. Once forming is completed, the piece or pieces are close to being manufactured.
After the metal is formed, it is put through the finishing process to make sure that the piece or pieces are fully ready for use. During the finishing process, the metal is sharpened where needed and polished using an abrasive. The abrasive wears away all the rough spots and eliminates any rough edges. During the finishing process, the metal may also be cleaned or rinsed so that it is ready for use upon delivery.
Now that you’ve read a quick overview of metal fabrication, you may see why it’s used for so many things in our lives, everything from paper clips to planes and more. Metal fabrication was likely involved in many of the items surrounding you as you read this (cell phones, laptops, tablets, and computers included). If you or your company need metal fabrication, contact us here at Cadet Steel in Denver. We can help you with all your metal fabrication needs.