Back to Basics: All About Sheet Metal Fabrication

In the world of manufacturing, name any industry—automotives to appliances, electronics to energy—and that industry relies on sheet metal fabrication. It’s where it all begins and ends, and is responsible for an infinite amount of everyday products

Within the topic of sheet metal fabrication, there are plenty of subjects to delve into; in the past, we’ve discussed such things as the advantages of metal finishing and looked at specific metals of choice.

But sometimes it’s important to get back to basics. Here, we’d like to look at sheet metal fabrication, and what it’s all about.

The Process
Simply put, sheet metal fabrication begins with a piece of raw sheet metal, which is shaped into a desired part through forming/deforming or material removal. The thickness of the metal sheet varies based on the specific metal being used and can range greatly—for example, up to 3/16 in. for aluminum, or 14 gauge for stainless steel.

By cutting, burning, and stretching, using special metal fabrication tools (such as band saws), the sheet metal is formed into any desired shape. Various processes can be used to achieve the exact shapes and specifications of the part. Rolling machines, for instance, form steel into round sections, while cutting torches are used to cut large pieces of metal easily.

To simplify it even more, sheet metal fabrication can be broken down into two categories: cutting and forming. To use the examples above, rolling machines fall under the forming category and cutting torches fall under the cutting category. Further processes used in metal fabrication include shearing, punching, hot and cold sawing, tapping, bending, and more.

Welding, one of the most common of the processes, forms fabricated pieces into place while protecting them from defects, such as warping. Once the fabrication is complete, various finishing processes can be applied, including painting, powder coating, and plating.

The Materials and Specifications
A wide variety of metals can be used in sheet metal fabrication. At Red River Precision, we work with alloys, aluminum, stainless steel, copper, titanium, molybdenum, and more. Using our press brakes can accommodate parts up to 10 feet long, weighing up to 125 tons. Extremely tight tolerances can be achieved—up to ±.005 in.

The Advantages
There’s a reason sheet metal fabrication is so common and preferred; it is a cost-effective way to achieve any number of desired shapes and sizes, creating the exact part needed in a short amount of time. Whether it’s a small part of the semiconductor industry or a larger automotive part, sheet metal fabrication meets precise needs and creates parts that are strong and long lasting that meet exacting standards.

To learn more about our extensive fabrication services, visit our website and feel free to contact us anytime with questions.

Why Stainless Steel Is Right For You

Stainless steel is corrosion resistant steel that resists rust and remains intact against aggressive chemicals, liquids and gases that generally cause other materials to fray, disintegrate and fall apart completely. Most of these classified steels display a powerful strength against extreme environments and are able to manage escalated and extremely low temperature levels making it suitable for a wide array of uses. All stainless steels materials carry iron as the main element and include a chromium range percentage, which varies from 10% to 29%. The chromium used ensures the weathering resilient traits for the stainless steel. This composition differs from chromium-nickel stainless steel.

Stainless steel has a multitude of uses from cookware to US naval ships making it a very versatile metal found in virtually every industry. It is exceedingly durable and easy to work with rendering it a great solution for commercial and residential solutions. One of the most sought-after traits of stainless steel is the corrosion resistant property.

Stainless steel is also used to make heat exchanger tubes, which are used in different industries including chemical, nuclear and natural gas processing. They are designed for heat transfer processes and mostly applied in heating, cooling, condensation and evaporation of liquids, gases and steam. Heat exchanger tubes are always a cold finished product and they are known to be extremely resistant to aggressive mediums such as acid.

Another important industry where stainless steel is used is the Oil and Gas Industry, which understands the benefits to using duplex stainless steel pipes. These duplex stainless steel pipes are resistant to an extensive variety of corrosive mediums found in both offshore and onshore locations. Another advantage of using stainless steel is the elevated strength it has that holds up under high pressures confronted at great depths. They are also the first choice for the constructions of oil rigs (mainly due to its strength and corrosion resistant properties), which are always under relentless weather conditions.

After considering all the applications stainless steel is used in and the qualities it possessed it may be the right fit for your manufacturing needs. Keep these facts stored away for you next project.