The need for sheet metal fabrication arises when an engineering process takes place. In accordance with the engineering requirements, sheet metal is fabricated. Shearing, Bending, Notching, Shrinking and Beading are some of the processes involved in sheet metal fabrication. Sheet metal fabrication tools are used specifically to form parts and components from sheet metal.
Understanding the Steps Involved in Sheet Metal Fabrication
The following points outline the process undertaken when fabricating sheet metal:
1.Working with Blueprints
In accordance with blueprints generated by the engineer, the sheet metal product specifications will be specified. Rough drawings will be made to understand the scope of the fabrication process.
2. Finalizing Drawings
Once all the details have been finalized on, the final shop drawing will be made. Here, in-depth calculations are made to determine the levels of stress on the different parts of sheet metal. This analysis and calculation will determine the process to be followed in terms of fabrication.
3. Metal Fabrication
This is the actual process of metal fabrication, where raw material undergoes several different processes to create the final product. This product is fabricated in accordance with the design guidelines and budget.
4. Product Finishing
Once the product has been fabricated, it undergoes some finishing processes to make it commercially viable.
The different steps in the process of sheet metal fabrication contribute to creating an exceptional product. All the different steps help in ensuring that the product meets the design specifications. The above steps should be followed in order to create a transparent working relationship between the client and the fabricators. Such a process will introduce an atmosphere that is conducive to growth.
Introduction to Metal Sheet Fabrication Process
Sheet metal fabrication comprises several processes and tools depending on the application it serves. All these processes and tools are utilized with a common goal of converting metal sheet into a workable item. Here, we will discuss the basic types of metal sheet fabrication techniques in any industry.
Rolled metal sheets are used for sheet fabrication. These sheets are rectangular and flat. Therefore, the first step of any sheet fabrication is cutting. In this process, a metal sheet is cut or removed by applying a strong force. Also, the sheet metal cutting process is performed using a variety of basic to advanced cutting tools. For instance, shearing is the common method of cutting a metal sheet. However, advanced laser machines are used to cut special alloys, hard materials, and precious metals.
1. Cutting with Shear
When shear forces are applied to cut the material, the process is referred to as shearing process. There are three basic cutting operations involved in shear cutting:
- Shearing: Cutting large parts.
- Punching: Making holes in the metal sheet.
- Blanking: Cutting part perimeters out of the sheet metal.
2. Cutting without Shear
This type of cutting is employed for industrial metal fabrication projects, which demand high precision, and fast processing times.
- Laser Beam Cutting: High powered laser beams are used to cut the metal.
- Plasma Cutting: This method involves directing accelerated plasma beams at the metal sheet. It is ideal for cutting electrically conductive metal sheets.
- Waterjet Cutting: Waterjet machines are also used to cut metal sheets. No heat is produced in this method.
Bending and Forming
The next step in metal sheet fabrication is bending and forming. Various types of tools such as press brakes are used for creating V-bends, U-bends, and custom forms as required by the project. Machining, folding, and stamping are ways to form or bend a metal sheet. However, elastomer and rotary bending is used to produce new shapes with delicate and finished metal sheets.
In many projects, a part is formed from various metal sheets. These metal sheets are fused together by welding, brazing, riveting, and adhesives.
Once the metal sheet is cut, bent, and formed into a desired shape, the surface finish is made with powder and paint coatings, silk screening, and other custom surface treatments. Various automated surface finishing treatments are designed to enhance unique properties of metal sheets such as conductivity, resistance, etc.
For more information on your sheet metal fabrication process, you can contact the Woodward-Fab team today!