You see many fabricated metal products around you, however, not many people understand how the metal fabrication process works. Most of the time people think of welding when they hear metal fabrication, however welding is only one process that metal fabricators use. In this post, we will examine the various type of fabrication processes and give you a better understanding of metal fabrication.
What is Metal Fabrication?
Metal fabrication refers to the process of creating structures from raw metal materials through different manufacturing processes to produce a final product. Instead of assembling ready-made components or parts to create an end product, fabrication creates an end product from raw or semi-finished materials. There are various different fabrication manufacturing processes and typically the process chosen depends on both the initial metal material and the desired end product.
Types of Metal Fabrication Processes
The most fundamental process in metal fabrication involves cutting a metal workpiece into smaller sections. Cutting can be used as a first step in a much broader fabrication process or the only single step necessary in the process. With the use of power tools and computer numerical computer (CNC) cutters, current modern methods include laser cutting, power scissors, waterjet cutting and plasma arc cutting.
Casting is the process of pouring the molten metal into a mold or die and allow it cools and harden into the desired shape. This steel fabrication process is ideal for mass production of parts with the reuse of the same mold to create identical products. There are different types of casting such as die casting, vacuum casting, sand casting and many more.
Drawing uses tensile force to stretch metal into a thinner shape through a tapered die. The process is generally used with sheet metal fabrication to turn metal sheets into hollow cylindrical or box-shaped vessels.
Forging uses compressive force from a hammer or die when striking the workpiece to form the desired shape. The different types of forging methods such as cold forging, warm forging or hot forging are determined by temperature.
Extrusion is the process of forcing the workpiece through a die of the desired cross-section. This process produces very complex cross-sections and excellent surface finish. Cylindrical parts, such as pipes or electrical wires are formed through extrusion.
Drilling is the process of cutting a hole in the metal using a circular bit.
Turning is a machining process which the rotary metal fixed on the chuck is cut with a tool on lathes or spinning platform, thereby creating a cylindrical shape.
Milling is a finishing process that uses multi-point cutting tools to progressively remove material from the metal to achieve the desired shape.
Punch presses are mechanical devices or machines used to punch or create uniquely designed holes in metals. Most punch presses are mechanical but smaller, while simpler punches can be hand-powered.
Stamping is similar to punching, except the press does not create a hole in the metal but an indentation. The process forms shapes, letters or images in a metal sheet or panel. Accomplished through mechanical or hydraulic stamping, metal sheets can be formed into specific shapes and sizes.
Welding, one of the common fabrication processes, is the joining of two or more metal pieces together utilizing a combination of heat and pressure. The four main types of welding procedures are Stick or Arc Welding, Metal Inert Gas Welding (MIG) Welding, Tungsten Inert Gas Welding (TIG) Welding and Flux Cored Arc Welding.
Materials used in Metal Fabrication
Pure aluminium is a highly malleable metal that is not suitable for mechanical applications. Aluminium can be made stronger by adding other elements to form an alloy. Aluminium alloy products are widely used in aerospace, automotive and manufacturing industries. Common aluminium alloy grades include aluminium 6061, 6063, 7075 and 2024.
Stainless steel is an iron-based alloy with a minimum of 10.5% chromium. Stainless steel has high corrosion resistance and is rust-proof. Due to its versatility and corrosion resistance properties, stainless steel is widely used in chemical, construction, food processing and shipbuilding industries. Stainless steel 304 and stainless steel 316 are two of the most common stainless steel grades that have great strength and hardness.
Carbon steel, also known as mild steel, is a combination of iron and carbon, often used in structural buildings, bridges, rails, pipelines and automobiles. High carbon steel have higher tensile strength, which makes it the material of choice for steel fabrication.
Brass is an alloy made of copper and zinc. Brass has high corrosion resistance, low melting point and good malleability. Brass is widely used in decorative and mechanical applications, such as fittings, tools, appliances and decoration components.
Kian Huat Metal
Kian Huat Metal is the leading service provider of metal fabrication in Singapore. At Kian Huat Metal, we serve as your one stop solution for all your metal and stainless steel fabrication needs. For more information or enquiries, contact us or visit our website today.