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Steel Fabrication Explained

Updated on November 30, 2009

Steel Fabrication

Steel Fabrication

Since its invention decades ago, steel has been a crucial material in nearly every industry. Because it is such a valuable commodity, it is important that the material is fabricated expertly. Achieving this goal is not always easy. As with any manufacturing process there are a lot of factors to consider. First, there is the type of material you start with, which is otherwise known as the raw material. However, there is more than one kind of steel. Examples include types such as aluminum, galvanize, carbon, and stainless. Knowing how to work with each of them to take them from the raw material stage to a finished product is key. Achieving this goal requires both the right equipment and technology as well as the right people.

With steel fabrication there are a number of processes required to turn the raw material into finished products such as components, structures, machines, and other equipment. Some of these processes include cutting, burning, welding, machining, forming, and sometimes additional procedures which occur in the finishing process. Having the right equipment for all of these aspects of fabrication is of course necessary, but most machine shops can make this claim. However, taking advantage of the latest technology is advantageous to both the steel fabricating company as well as its customers. Robotic welding, laser cutting, and press brake/forming are a few examples of advanced technology which makes manufacturing more efficient and precise. Welding achieves this by making both spot and arc welding quicker Laser cutting is desirable because its precision reduces the need for finishing work. While robotic welding and laser cutting are both important, press brake/forming is crucial because it takes the steel from flat sheets and forms it into more usable parts used by nearly all industries. Some examples include decorative fixtures, framing, prototypes, and brackets, but this list is by no means comprehensive; press brake/forming can shape steel into so many functional and structural shapes.

With this process it is important to consider all of the properties of the steel you are using. This means taking into account hardness, yield strength, and ductility. These properties are what makes a process that is simple in its idea, complex in its execution. The bottom line is that having the right machinery will not always result in a job well done. Only those companies which have an experienced staff can anticipate and react to any problems which may come up.

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