Metal fabrication, simply put, is manipulating one thing into another. Using basic materials in their raw form and transforming them into (countless) projects is achieved using different techniques and processes. Projects can range from large scale industrial HVAC systems to one-off custom client projects.
Steel has been a top choice and it isn’t hard to see why. It is sturdy, long-lasting, cost-effective, contains safety features, is recyclable, and if that isn’t enough, can be made into any shape or size.
Aaron Continelli from thefabricator.com describes metal fabrication as “… the process of building machines and structures from raw metal materials. The process includes cutting, burning, welding, machining, forming, and assembly to create the final product.
The different projects can range from industrial to smaller one-off projects such as stairway safety cages. The most common types of material used in fabrication are structural steel and sheet metal.
This is when pieces of material are joined/attached to each other. The actual process of joining the materials can be through welding, binding adhesives, or additional bending in the form of crimped seams.
A process that involves hammering (by hand or powered) or press brakes as well as tube benders to shape metal. Press brakes are a more modern technique to air-bend sheet metal into form.
Sawing, shearing, chiselling are all methods used to cut metals. Cutting is also achieved through handheld torches and numerical control (CNC) cutters like lasers or waterjets. The most common method used in today’s practice is shearing.
Steel lasts for a significant period of time and is more cost-effective than other materials such as copper. It provides a protective coating and is incredibly strong, not to mention, it’s environment-friendly. When it comes to building large multi-story buildings, structural steel is often the first choice.
In addition to the strength of structural steel, it is also corrosion-resistant and flexible. It has a minimum lifespan of 20 to 30 years if well maintained and is known to be a sustainable metal. Structural steel is also lighter than other building materials like wood or concrete.
Metals such as copper, silver, and gold come with a hefty price tag. In comparison to some of these metals, structural steel is quite cost-effective and often chosen over reinforced concrete. Structural steel increases efficiency in the installation process by making it easy to install other components after the fabrication process is complete.
Structural steel possesses the ability to be fabricated into any shape and size with little effort. It is highly ductile, which means it can be drawn out into a thin wire and has the ability to be hammered or pressed into a new shape without breaking. Frames built of this material allow for changes to be incorporated last minute without issue.
Widely used for its safety features, structural steel can also be a great choice for residential buildings. It is coated with a fire-resistant material, is water-resistant, and can withstand earthquakes and storms.
In a step towards reducing our footprint on the earth, many companies are making changes to help preserve the environment. Using structural steel is one of those things – it’s easily recyclable. Rather than using a material like wood where a significant number of trees would be cut down, steel can be made and continuously be recycled without altering its properties.