Metal fabrication is the process of manufacturing products from raw material using individual processes such as cutting, bending, welding, grinding and assembling. Metal fabrications include everything from metal fences and hand railings to the panels that comprise the frames of articulated lorries.
Fabrication begins at the design stage. Once the need for a product is identified, work begins on designing a product to best satisfy the users’ requirements. A drawing is prepared highlighting the appearance of the item, the raw material requirements, the necessary production processes and the intended use of the product.
Cutting is perhaps the most common process used in metal fabrication. Standard sized sheets/bars of metal are split into halves, thirds or cut to length to facilitate the needs of the product. Cutting can be performed on a range of machinery including laser cutting, saw cutting and integrated into high-tech, multi-process machinery.
Bending, or folding is a more complicated procedure to produce a V-shape, U-shape, channel shape or other angle
to meet the product’s requirements. The most common form of bending involves a punch/press pushing the raw
material into the shape of a die (the convex shape of the die), forcing the raw material to take the shape of the die. Due to the natural strength in the composition of steel, these bending devices are required to possess considering pressure for their pressing power.
Welding is the most commonly associated process with fabrication, whereby two separate pieces of metal are joined together. This is typically done by using a high heat to melt the materials together and as the materials cool, they are fused together. A filler material is often added to the join which forms a molten material edge which can sometimes be stronger than the base material itself.