In construction and manufacturing industries, metal fabrication is a very common process. During metal fabrication, raw materials are simply converted into processed products that are utilized in construction of bridges, machines as well as buildings. One of the most commonly used metals for fabrication is structural steel due to its flexibility, tensile and durable properties. There are various fabrication processes involved in the making of steel sections during steel fabrication. Some of these processes include cutting, folding, machining, punching, shearing, stamping as well as welding. The first stage of the fabrication process is cutting. Here, a saw, plasma torch, water jet and lasers are used to cut steel. Other cutting techniques used include chiseling, numerical control as well as shearing.
During folding, a process called press brake is used. Certain steel sections are made through bending or folding of steel. Air-bending a sheet of metal during folding is essential as it helps one to acquire the desired form of the metal for ease of use. During folding, the press brake has a set of dies that help to pinch the metal in order to form a crease on the metal. In order for the designer to acquire the desired metal shape they are in need of, unwanted materials are removed from the structural steel through machining. During machining, the metal designer has an option to either use a rotating cutting tool on a stationary metal piece or rotate the metal piece against a tool for cutting.
In order to create a hole in a metal sheet, it is punched using a punch press. In order for one to get the perfect hole shape, the die and punch need to be of the same shape. Shearing, also referred to as die cutting, is used in cutting straight lines onto a flat metal stock. Stamping on the other hand uses a die shaped in way in which a portion of the metal piece is raised. Welding involves two pieces of metal becoming attached in order to form a large structure or separate steel section. Metal designers use different techniques during welding which depend on the design of the metal structure and the metal itself.
Steel fabrication is very effective as it helps to strengthen the metal in terms of its quality. Better quality steel is more suitable for commercially designed buildings. Steel produced as a result of welding is also ideal for use during projects in the energy sector. Clients usually offer their specifications to metal designers in order to get their desired metal. Most clients prefer working with fabricated steel since it is more affordable unlike other alternatives. Another reason clients prefer it is because steel fabrication is cost-effective.
Besides manufacturing and construction, structural steel is also used in sectors such as oil and gas, infrastructure and transport.