Metals like aluminum, copper, iron, and others are malleable, i.e. they can be turned into sheets for product fabrication. Several methods are applied for turning the metal sheets into the desired product, be it a normal aluminum box or an iron nail.
Since the process of sheet metal fabrication Dallas is quite complex, many aren’t aware of the method, its utility, and other such relevant matters. That’s why in the following article, the discussion will revolve around the entire method of converting the metal sheets into any product.
What is sheet metal fabrication?
First of all, one needs to understand how metal sheets are formed as pure metals are either in molten or solid forms. Following is a brief description of how sheets are manufactured in industrial units.
- Metals are converted into thick slabs either by freeing molten metal in a mold or by cementing multiple layers.
- Once the slabs are formed, they are heated to a red hot temperature.
- After the metal slabs attain the temperature, those are passed through roller machines.
- It is these rollers that apply a huge amount of pressure. The slab coming out from the other end is thinner than the one before the rolling process.
- After this, the third and fourth steps are repeated until the concerned metal’s desired thickness is obtained.
Once the metals are converted into sheets, they are kept aside for cooling and hardening. This allows the molecular lattice to become hard and retain the shape. These metal sheets are then subjected to various manufacturing processes where they are cut, bent, rolled, and passed through several other techniques till one gets the desired product. This is what sheet metal fabrication Dallas is all about.
How are the metal sheets converted into desired products?
Even though different techniques are used to convert the metal sheets into the desired product, one can classify them into five categories. Therefore, for understanding the entire process of metal sheet fabrication, the below description will help a lot.
The first step for fabricating the metal sheets into any product is cutting. As these sheets are produced with large dimensions, they need to be cut into smaller pieces as per the measurements. Now, for cutting, an industry can implement different methods using various tools. For example:
- Mechanical cutting is done with shears and dies. Cuts created are clean without the presence of any chip. But the main downside of this method is the huge amount of physical effort one needs to employ.
- Laser cutting is a method in which a narrow laser beam is made incident on the metal surface. The heat generated by the lasers cuts through the metal as the laser generator is moved further. One of the major benefits of laser cutting is that one can have any shape.
- Sometimes, plasma cutting is also used if the metal sheets are quite thick, with a measurement beyond 10mm in thickness. Plasma cutting is quick, efficient, and leaves behind no residue.
Punching is a method using which perforations can be made in a metal sheet, regardless of its thickness. It acts as a paper punching machine, but the work is done with more accuracy and precision. In an industrial punching machine, there is a punch and a die. The metal sheet will be placed between these two components. Once the machine is switched on, it is the punch that moves in a downward direction towards the die. It causes a shearing activity where the sheet area under the punch gets cut off.
Since the punch and dies, combinations are not available in custom options. The process is repeated multiple times till the desired hollow shape is obtained.
Being is the toughest part of the entire process of sheet metal fabrication Dallas. Here, press brakes are used to bend and turn the cut sheets into the desired shape. According to the physical principle, bending is done by applying a huge amount of force on the sheet surface so that the applied force is greater than the yield strength of the metal. It’s a kind of deformation where the sheets are twisted or turned around to get the perfect shape as per the design.
Once bending is done, and one has got all the parts required to produce the finished product, assembling starts. Assembling can be done by fitting various fabricated parts through groves and ridges. Sometimes, though, welding is used for assembling all the parts. Screws, nuts, bolts, and nails are also used to fix everything together so that the final product has a high level of stability.
This is an optional step as one needs to apply the powder coating only when welding is done for assembling the metal parts. The metal component is first charged with a particular type, and then the powders are applied under the electrostatic force of attraction. It’s a process of surface treatment where the resistivity and durability of the metal surface are enhanced.
How is the sheet metal fabrication method beneficial for different industries?
Sheet metal fabrication has a lot of benefits for different industries. For example, in aircraft or ship manufacturing companies, aluminum and other alloy sheets are fabricated to design different components. Similarly, in the hardware industry, stainless steel sheets are used to manufacture nails, nuts, and bolts, utensils, racks, etc.
Cold-rolled sheets, which have a thickness of 3mm maximum, are used to manufacture cabinets, home furniture units, boxes, and so on. Similarly, the hot-rolled sheets are first cooled down and then turned into desired products.
Challenges faced in the process of sheet metal fabrication in Dallas
One of the major challenges faced during the fabrication of the metal sheets is bending. Some metals like aluminum and copper are highly ductile and malleable. Therefore, their yield strength is quite low, so bending them is not difficult. But, if we consider iron or heavy metal sheets, one has to face many hindrances in getting the desired shape during the bending process.
Similarly, during the assembling of various parts, establishing a stable and proper joint is quite cumbersome. Even though welding is quite a fast process, it leaves the surfaces uneven and rough. This further increases the fabrication costs for the industries.
Sheet metal fabrication is one of the major industrial processes which has several applications. However, the entire method is not as easy as it sounds. The techniques that will be applied must bring precision and accuracy in the fabrication works such that the resultant product matches the planned one in all sense.