What is Sheet Metal Fabrication?

What is Sheet Metal Fabrication?

September 2021

What is sheet metal fabrication and how does the process work? Fabrication is done to create metal structures, using a number of processes.

Sheet Metal Fabrication

What is sheet metal fabrication and how does the process work? Fabrication is done to create metal structures, using a number of processes. Sheet metal is most commonly used to cut, form, finish and assemble metals to create a final product. Metal fabrication is used across numerous industries, from the automotive sector to the manufacturing industry. From automotive parts to ATMs, consumer goods, construction materials, and many other items, it offers a highly effective way to process products. In this guide, we share some of the most commonly used processes in sheet metal fabrication.

Understanding Sheet Metal Fabrication

There are a few different processes involved in sheet metal fabrication. Some of the most frequently used processes include the following:

Cutting

Typically done with the help of laser cutting systems, cutting removes the material from blank sheet metal and creates the initial shape of the item. Other tools can be used for cutting besides laser cutters, however, lasers remain the most effective due to their precision and efficiency. Cutting methods are determined by the strength and thickness of the metal. While physical cutters can be used for thick sheets, laser cutters are far better for intricate components that require a higher level of precision.

Forming

This process is done after components have been cut. Essentially, this process shapes the metal using compressive force. There are a few methods done to form the metal. Bending makes use of press brakes, folding and bending metal into shapes. Punching uses compressive force to make holes in specific patterns and shapes. Extrusion is similar to punching, however, materials are pushed downward rather than removed completely. Embossing shapes metal sheets using dies and compressive force, creating raised or recessed patterns or shapes without breaking through the metal. It is used for texture, writing and other decorative purposes.

Finishing

Once the cutting and forming steps have been done, finishing is required. Both of these processes can result in sharp edges and rough sections on the metal. Finishing helps to smooth, clean and polish the metal. Parts might be coated or other measures may be taken to result in a seamless, flawless component. From there, the final component is ready for assembly. This process can include bolting, connecting, welding or riveting parts together.


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