The process of forming metal sheets to the desired shape using various production methods is stainless sheet metal fabrication. A product’s completion generally involves several steps, from cutting and bending to surface treatment and assembly.
It is also possible to use a number of fabrication methods to produce a comparable end result. However, depending on the costs and needs, a correct option always remains.
Types of Processes for Metal fabrication
The journey from sheet metal to sheet metal begins with CAD engineering. Each part goes through the necessary sheet metal fabrication processes after making the models. The most prevalent ones are:
- Thermal Cutting: the preferred option for cutting sheets is laser cutting. A very quick and accurate method of cutting that guarantees good results.
- Plasma cutting: can be used with thicker materials because of its quickness. However this benefit is only apparent with thicknesses upward of 10 mm.
The Mechanical Cut
Shearing, or die cutting, is a procedure that cuts sheet metal without burning or melting it. Also no chips are made. Essentially, shearing is not that different from cutting with scissors.
A punch presses the workpiece against a fixed die or blade when it is sheared. The clearance between the two is such that the workpiece does not fit through, causing it to shear.
It is a perfect and cost-effective method to cut sheets in size whenever complicated cuts are not required.
Punching is another way to remove the holes in the sheet. The sheet is struck by a metal punch, perforating it. It is ideal for large-scale development but is not cost-effective for smaller work. The explanation for this is the need for a separate method for various cuts.
As far as real engineering is concerned, there are not many metal parts that elude the bending section of the fabrication shop. Press brakes are responsible for folding the metal sections of the sheet.
This is perhaps the most difficult step in the development of metal due to the difficulty of certain bends. The fabricator must be well acquainted with the limits of metal bending to things that are practically feasible.
Assembling is the ultimate or penultimate stage when you want to make a product. If assembly requires welding, the pieces must be clean – the powder coating follows.
Otherwise the pieces are already powder coated and connected using other processes, such as riveting and bolting.
Powder coating is a process in which an electrostatic powder is applied to a charged metal portion. It is the chosen surface treatment method where no particular conditions, such as heavy-duty or acidic environments, apply to the construction.
The advantages of stainless sheet metal
- The design choices for stainless sheet metal are very flexible. Customers may communicate the need for some features, and sheet metal materials leave space for several different solutions.
- Single prototypes for volume production are feasible. Contemporary manufacturing methods, such as 3D printing, have short lead times that are well matched with prototyping needs. However these techniques are limited to prototyping only. Sheet metal manufacturing methods are ideal for a gradual transition from prototyping to large-scale production. Having prototypes sets the basis and standards for larger quantities by creating the necessary infrastructure.
- A wide array of surface finishes that include powder coating, painting, galvanising, plating, etc. This makes for several different looks, but also offers security in different circumstances.
- The term sheet metal only informs us the thickness range. Yet there is little about the material itself. Sheet metal can be made of all sorts of metals – mild steel, stainless steel, aluminium, brass, etc.
Whatever the project stainless sheet metal is preferred by fabricators for the ease and advantages they offer. If you need a custom fabricator for any custom job, get in touch with Metals Cut 4U today!