An Introduction to Metal Fabrication

Worker welding a metal workpiece

Metals have unique properties that aren’t found in other types of raw materials. Most metals, for instance, are hard and strong. They can also be either malleable or ductile, depending on the specific type. For a manufacturing company to build something out of metal, however, it must perform fabrication. This post offers an introduction to metal fabrication and its respective processes.

What Is Metal Fabrication?

Metal fabrication consists of processes used to produce products, components and structures from raw metals. Item or items created by these processes are often known as fabrications. Manufacturing companies perform metal fabrication using a combination of manual and automated processes. With these processes, they convert raw metals into metal items, which are known as fabrications.

Cutting Processes

There are cutting processes used in metal fabrication. Cutting processes involve separating a metal workpiece — either partly or completely — into two or more sections. Shearing is a common cutting process used in metal fabrication. Using an alligator shear or bench shear, a worker can perform a clean and straight cut through a metal workpiece.

Torching is also considered a cutting process because, like shearing, it can separate a metal workpiece. Torching in metal fabrication can be performed using an oxy or plasma torch as well as laser cutters.

Bending Processes

In addition to cutting, there are bending processes used in metal fabrication. Bending doesn’t involve the physical separation of a metal workpiece. Rather, it’s used to manipulate the shape of a metal workpiece.

Bending is often performed using a hammer. Hammers have a wide and flat head that allows for the deformation of a metal workpiece. Some hammers are handheld, whereas others are connected to a machine. The latter type, known as a powered hammer, is able to apply more force than the former type. Bending can also be achieved through the use of a press brake. A press brake is a type of machine that’s used specifically to bend metal workpieces, such as sheet metal.

Assembling Processes

Metal fabrication also consists of assembling processes. Assembling processes are designed to join two or more metal workpieces. Welding is one of the most common types of assembling processes. It involves exposing the metal workpieces to heat so that they melt and fuse together.

Some metal workpieces are assembled using rivets. A rivet is a type of fastener that’s shaped like a bolt. While bolts have a threaded shaft, though, rivets have a smooth shaft.

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