Do your company’s products consist of sheet metal or other metallic materials? The metal fabrication process shapes these materials into final products or parts that meet a manufacturer’s or end-user’s specifications. Highly skilled specialists use various tools, equipment and techniques to design and create an assortment of fabricated goods for a wide range of industries.
Overview of the Metal Fabrication Process
Metal fabrication consists of three steps: design, fabrication and finishing/assembly.
During the design phase, metal fabricators typically use computer-aided design (CAD) or computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) to generate 3D product prototypes based on the manufacturer’s specifications. A workable prototype ensures the final product will meet all functional requirements and quality standards. It also helps identify any potential issues and make corrections before embarking on a full-scale production run. Fabricators may experiment with different metals to determine the best material for the project.
Upon approval of the design, it’s time to begin building the product or part. Depending on the project’s requirements, the fabricator will choose from several techniques to cut and shape the metal. Examples of the available options include:
- Tungsten inert gas (TIG) or metal inert gas (MIG) welding.
- 2D and 3D laser cutting.
- Computer numerical control (CNC) machining.
- Tube bending.
- Sheet and plate bending.
Highly skilled workers use specialized machinery to complete these processes to ensure the final product meets the specifications developed during the design phase.
3. Finishing and Assembly
After fabrication, it’s time to perform the final assembly and finishing steps to ensure the product is stable and ready to use. In some cases, the finishing process intends to improve the product’s appearance. Commonly applied finishing techniques include deburring to remove minor surface imperfections and powder coating to increase durability and prevent damage from exposure to moisture, chemicals, etc.
What Are the Benefits of Metal Fabrication?
Fabrication can add many desirable qualities to sheet metal and other materials:
- Durability: Fabricated metal is strong — it can withstand high impacts and pressure. It’s also more rigid than other materials and offers excellent resistance to corrosion, moisture and heat.
- Malleability: Although fabricated metal is strong and hard, it’s also flexible. It’s easy to form the material into various forms and shapes to meet manufacturing specifications. This property gives designers more options for creating customized products.
- Visual appeal: Combining custom design techniques with an assortment of finishing processes enables fabricators to enhance the product’s aesthetic appeal, which is crucial when a product’s visual presentation matters.
- Cost-effective: Metal fabrication offers an affordable solution, especially for high-volume or long-term production runs. The process is easily repeatable, resulting in consistent quality from one project to the next.
Contact the Metal Fabrication Experts at PBZ
PBZ offers a full selection of resourceful manufacturing services to companies throughout Lancaster County, PA, and beyond. We have the facilities, machinery and expertise to design, fabricate, finish and assemble a custom product to your specifications. Contact us to learn more about the benefits of our metal fabrication process today.