A guide to Sheet Metal Fabrication Manufacturers, Cutting & Bending
Sheet metal fabrication is a useful production method for producing strong functional parts such as brackets, panels, and enclosures. Sheet metal fabrication comprises different processes in which manufacturers work on the sheet metal in different ways. It is a manufacturing process for converting sheet metal into functional parts. These various processes usually involve cutting the sheet metal, sculpting it, or merging different pieces together. Sheet metals mainly include stainless steel, zinc, steel, aluminum, and copper, and they usually have the thickness of 0.015 and 0.635 centimeters. Thinner gauges are more flexible whereas thicker ones are more suitable for heavy-duty parts. Sheet metal fabrication is commonly used for industrial energy, automotive, aerospace, and robotics. It is helpful to consider the sheet metal fabrication process not as a single manufacturing process, but as a set of farming techniques, which are frequently used in combination to make a part. There are many ways of cutting and forming sheet metal, and cost can be drive up as several specific tooling types are needed. Therefore, evolving a good understanding of the several sheet metal fabrication processes offered is important to produce the most economical design for a specific application is necessary. The basic process of sheet metal fabrication starts with a flat sheet of metal and a design (generally a CAD or DXF file). This design will act as the directions to the machine on how to cut, form, and finish the material. The sheet metal fabrication process is suitable for a range of metal materials. The manufacturing procedure is so common, that you are doubtful to go around your day without facing a sheet metal fabricated product, irrespective of whether it is a home appliance or smaller parts like enclosures. The techniques working in sheet metal fabrication, mainly include cutting, bending, and assembling.
Cutting: One of the main ways to handle sheet metal is to cut it. Sheet metal fabrication can be thought of as a subtractive manufacturing procedure as working parts can be made by simply eliminating sections of material. Producers can cut sheet metal with the help of a variety of different parts of machinery. One of the crucial methods for cutting sheet metal cutting is laser cutting. A laser cutter takes helps from a powerful laser increased with a lens or mirror. It is a detailed and energy-efficient machine appropriate for thin sheet metal but may usually struggle to pierce the hardest materials. Jet cutting is another sheet metal cutting process. Water jet cutting is a sheet metal fabrication technique that uses a high-pressure jet of water (mixed with some substance) to cut the metal. Water jet cutters are especially helpful for cutting sheet metals having low melting points since they do not produce heat which could improperly deform the metal. Plasma cutting is a third sheet metal cutting option. A plasma cutter builds an electrical channel of ionized gas which structures a jet of hot plasma which can easily penetrate through the thick sheet metal. This cutting option is fast and powerful, but they are less accurate than laser or water jet cutters. Apart from these ways, there are some techniques used merely for sheet metal fabrication which is punching or piercing with the help of which we can create precise holes in sheet metal using a punch. In the punching process, the punched pieces of eliminated material are converted into scrap but can also be used as new workpieces.
Bending: The next major category of the sheet metal fabrication process is sheet metal bending. This process contains countless ways to change and manipulate sheet metal without even cutting into it. With the help of a brake (a machine), sheet metal companies usually bend sheet metal into different shapes and can change the angle up to 12 degrees. Stamping is another bending process that makes use of a hydraulic or mechanical stamping press machined with a die and tool and works in a similar way as punching. Stamping can mainly be used for specific tasks such as drawing, flanging, curling, embossing, and hemming. Unlike other bending techniques spinning is a sheet metal fabrication process that uses a lathe to move sheet metal as it is pushed against a tool. This process is somehow similar to that of a CNC turning or pottery spinning and is used for making rounded sheet metal parts like cylinders, cones, etc. Some less common sheet metal bending processes include wheeling, which is generally used to make complex curves in sheet metal. Another process is rolling, in which sheet metal is adjusted between a pair of rollers to decrease its thickness.
Assembly: Sheet metal cutting and bending are two ways of establishing sheet metal and the third way is an assembly which is usually done either by using shared fasteners or by other methods. Although it is usually not always considered as a fabrication process, the assembly of dissimilar components of sheet metal parts using ties bolts, screws, and rivets is a vital part of the complete manufacturing process. Sheet metal parts may also be organized together using the process of welding, in which external heat is applied to melt a segment of the metal where it joins with another segment. The melted metal of the two parts attached to form a solid connection. Some common sheet metals like stainless steel and aluminum usually have good weldability, although some metals may weld better with some different types of welding such as arc, electron beam, resistance, etc. Welding can be attained using a range of methods such as stick welding, TIG, and MIG. Though they have a different approach all three have the purpose of joining metal together with the help of melting the edge of the part and adding some filler.
To select the best process for the fabrication process, it is always good practice if you have a good idea of the fabrication processes which can be used to realize the final design. Here at Accugroup, our customers usually come up with some brilliant ideas and our experts help them to finalize the best-suited fabrication for their product as per their needs.