Metal fabrication is the process of turning metal sheets into different types of metal products and components. Different kinds of tools and techniques come in handy while carrying out this process. It is important to have a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of metal fabrication before indulging in its manufacturing process. This piece of writing shall serve as a hands-on guide for all those of you trying to learn metal fabrication fundamentals. By the time you finish reading it, you will know how it works, its application as well as its benefits. So, let’s get started!
Sheet Metal Forming Techniques
Let us begin by understanding the various sheet metal forming techniques. Here is a quick look at each of the techniques:
This is where the fabrication process begins. It is the first step. Large sheets of metals are first cut into small pieces. The size of the pieces depends on the component or product that needs to be made. Different methods are used to cut the metal. Shearing, punching, and blanking are usually used for this purpose. Top manufacturing industries in Faridabad use laser-cutting techniques to ensure high levels of precision.
This method involves punching, bending, and embossing. The process changes flat metal sheets into different shapes. A tool and die are used in the process and the shape of the metal is changed by using shear force.
Metal sheet bending is done with the use of equipment such as rolling machines and press brakes. The equipment mostly gives way to standard shapes such as V-bends and U-bends. The process requires thorough training and high-quality equipment else the metal is likely to go back to its original structure.
Holes are created in the metal sheet using this technique. This is done by using a punch and die technique.
This is an essential fabrication technique used to join metal pieces and form a single component. There are various types of welding techniques such as MIG, TIG, and stick welding. The edges of the part are melted and filler is added to join metals together during the process.
Finishing is the last step in the process. It helps give a prim and proper look to the end product. There are different types of materials and techniques that help further the finishing of the metal. These include sandblasting, powder coating, buff polishing, anodizing and chemical films. In sandblasting, sand or other abrasives are rubbed against the metal rigorously to give a matte finish and prepare the metal for coating. Anodizing renders strength and durability to the metal by making it resistant to rust. Buff polishing makes the surface appear shiny. It is done with the use of a cloth wheel. In powder coating, the powdered paint is directly sprayed on the metal. After this, the metal is baked in the oven. This helps form a wear-resistant layer that adds strength to the metal and makes it durable. Chemical films help in making the metal corrosion resistant. It forms an excellent base for paint.
Top Metal Fabrication Materials
Some of the top metal fabrication materials used by reputed sheet metal manufacturing companies, in Noida include aluminum, stainless steel, hot rolled steel, cold rolled steel, pre-plated steel, brass, and copper. Each of these metals is known for its unique properties.
Stainless steel is of different types including ferritic stainless steel and martensitic stainless steel. This is a popular sheet metal fabrication material because it is sturdy and corrosion-resistant. Pre-plated steel is rust-resistant as it has a protective coating. It is also comparatively easier to process. Copper also has protective oxide layers that help prevent corrosion. It also renders an appealing look.
Hot rolled steel is quite flexible and thus easy to work with. The same is true for brass. Besides, it also has an aesthetic appeal. Cold-rolled steel is known for its smooth finish and better tolerance. Aluminum is known for its superb strength-to-weight ratio which makes it a popular material.
The sheet metal forming techniques differ on the basis of the material as well as the end product.
Stepwise Sheet Metal Design Process
There are a number of steps that form a part of the sheet metal design process. From planning to organizing to implementing – there is a lot that goes into it. Let us take a look at the various steps one by one:
It starts by planning the whole process. It is important to plan and jot down all the essential points to move forward systematically.
Creating a 3D model of the sheet metal component should be the next step in the process. After this, you must create a blueprint in the form of engineering drawings. The drawings must be precise and should include all the necessary information including the selection of material, fabrication techniques, and surface finishing.
· Prototype Development
Next, the assessment of the blueprint is done by experts and thereafter the process of prototype development begins. Different fabrication methods including cutting, stamping, bending, punching, welding, and finishing come in handy during the process.
After development, the next step is testing the prototype. This is important to ensure it meets the quality standards and is as per the client’s needs.
In case, the prototype does not meet the requirement then it needs to be improvised. This is a crucial step in the process. After the changes are made as per the feedback, the prototype undergoes testing once again.
· Full Scale Manufacturing
When the prototype gets approved, it is time to start full-scale production. Reputed sheet metal industries near you have skilled workers that handle the manufacturing process. New-age tools and equipment are put in place to ensure precision. These are also necessary to ensure smooth and quick production.
Metal fabrication is a vast process involving several steps and various techniques. It is important to learn the techniques thoroughly in order to carry out the process smoothly. One must also have proper knowledge about sheet metal materials and their properties in order to select the best one as per their requirement.