Metal sheet fabrication is used widely in various industries. Skilled fabricators practise sheet fabrication in several ways, such as cutting, bending, shearing and welding. These methods are used to reshape the metal and assemble parts. Thanks to developments in technology and the progression in industry 4.0, many fabrication processes have been modernised and elevated with automated machinery. This greatly improves the manufacturing workflow and boosts the productivity of the entire industry.
AMP Metal is an experienced, top-tier entity in the field of automated metal fabrication. Our team of experts provide superior-quality metal fabrication services, mastering elements like laser cutting, metal bending, robotic welding and computer numerical control (CNC). Our goal is to use our expertise in metal fabrication and assist our clients in creating the ideal products for their projects while guiding them to experience the working process of quality custom metal fabrication.
The process of metal sheet fabrication takes different forms based on the project. In many projects, common practices like cutting, bending and welding are included. Starting from mapping designs into blueprints, the fabricator uses these techniques to reshape and assemble sheet metal into ideal products.
In this article, we will guide you through the general process of metal sheet fabrication step by step. Our goal is to help you understand more about the metal industry so that you have a full overview when searching for quality custom metal solutions.
Sheet metals are thin and flat metal plates that are suitable for multiple types of metal fabrication procedures. Sheet metal fabrication is a processing technique that transforms these metal plates into different shapes and structures using diverse tactics.
The applications created are distributed in various industries, such as aerospace and automotive, forming components for exterior frames of machines. Also in construction, the practice is applied to create infrastructural and exterior metal pieces. Compared with traditional metal, sheet metal is easier to store, manufacture and assemble. Its compatible price makes it a great choice for metal fabrication.
Among the many practices included, metal sheet fabrication projects often feature one or more of the following tasks:
Each practice applies different tools and techniques to execute a design into a finished product. These methods change the size, angle and structure of metal components.
The very first step in a successful metal sheet fabrication process is to understand your client's needs. At AMP, we offer free consultations that help our potential clients to understand their options and our quality services. With quality outputs as our most crucial key performance indicator, we offer our clients continuous sit-downs to ensure we bring their vision to life. Our skilled experts examine the project and give solid recommendations about which types of metal processing techniques can help them achieve the best effect and productivity.
As a result of the conversation, the experts at AMP start mapping the design. The goal of design mapping is to transform the client’s vision into a 2D blueprint that is capable of being clearly navigated by the fabricators and equipment operators later. After analysing and designing each step of the client’s custom metal processing plan, experts insert the digit data in code or 3D CAD form in our CNC system and initiate the fabrication process.
Throughout the following process, it's worth considering the automated option to ensure that your eventual product meets and exceeds your expectations and needs. In our sheet metal processing practices, we bring in CNC. During the automated metal fabrication process, CNC plays a key role in elevating the quality of manufacturing and the durability of your final product.
CNC is a computer system that helps run machinery independently to execute the fabrication process smoothly. The system is highly accessible and integrates with multiple types of software. Fabricators can input the design in 3D CAD or code to operate the system and save the trouble of additional mapping work. The system can also adjust and modify blueprints within a shorter time frame.
The CNC system is applied in our laser cutting, metal bending and robotic welding services. It helps the experts at AMP deliver quality products within custom metal fabrication projects. The CNC system operates precisely and efficiently. It reduces the amount of waste in material or energy consumption significantly. The ability to apply CNC technology in our metal processing is what makes AMP a mogul in the industry.
The first step after mapping out the project design is cutting and reshaping the raw sheet metal into different sizes based on the needs of the specific project.
Laser cutting uses thermal technology to generate heat with amplified light. It melts materials without direct contact and vaporises debris in the process. Its superior workability makes it a perfect option for metal fabrication. Of all the methods available for cutting metal, laser cutting is by far the most efficient. Unlike other options, it achieves ultraprecise cutting with clean edges to separate parts. Only a small but sharp burr is left after cutting, which is easy to remove with a sanding machine to leave a smooth finish.
Another advantage of laser cutting is its versatility. Some techniques are only efficient under specific circumstances or with specific materials, such as plasma cutting. Powerful as it is, plasma cutting only works on conductive objects. Contrarily, the quality of laser cutting allows it to work with high flexibility. Unlike plasma cutting, laser cutting uses thermal technology that allows it to cut various materials without direct touch. The flexibility in cutting depth of laser cutting expands its possibilities in metal fabrication.
At AMP, we use laser cutting to shape sheet metal. It helps us deliver high-quality results with minimum operating time. Unlike other options, laser cutting is an advanced technique with light equipment requested in operation. It doesn’t require additional gas tanks to remove debris like plasma cutting. This is another cost-saving that can be used to elevate productivity. If you’ve previously considered plasma cutting, we would advise you to read our comparison guide between these two techniques before moving forward.
After adjusting sheet metal to the size and shape required, fabricators will decide whether semi-products need bending. The function of metal bending is to change the angle of sheet metal. This process uses press brakes to create pressure in order to bend the metal. Traditionally, the angle and frame of bending were controlled by a component of the bending machine called the “teeth”. These are adjustable sets of metal bricks that operators add or remove to create different shapes for bending.
With automated metal bending machinery, the bending process is controlled and monitored by a CNC system. Fabricators start the process by feeding the computer data about the position, the thickness of metal and the suitable bending set. The bending set is a structure composed of “punches” and “dies” in various sizes that bend metal. After the settings are fed, fabricators insert the metal according to instructions from the system and press the button.
Metal bending is not the only way to change the shape of sheet metal, but it is a method with multiple benefits. At AMP, we use press brakes integrated with the CNC system to bend the metal. This provides better accuracy and cost-effectiveness in metalwork, with a wide range of applications but less setup time for machines. Compared to other methods like folding, a CNC press brake can work with various sizes of material without restrictions from the working environment and create more possibilities.
One of the greatest advantages of an automated system is the consistency of every operation. After only inputting data once, the machine manufactures products with perfect consistency and repeatability, which manual operation is unable to compete with. In modern metal fabrication, the consistency and efficiency of production are essential factors for quality custom metal solutions. At AMP, we conduct all our bending and welding operations with automated systems to deliver optimal products.
Next in line is welding. After shaping and bending metals, this step assembles metal components by connecting pieces of metal to create a new structure while also adding more strength to it. Generally, all welding methods work by melting the metal to fuse the metal components. What heat source is applied varies from project to project, and can be anything from a gas flame, electric current, electronic beam and friction to ultrasound.
For some welding techniques, second processing (furnishing) is required. For instance, with
arc welding, finished projects always leave behind a slack coating that needs to be removed manually. As such, while arc welding offers cheap and easy access, it is not suitable for automated processing. On the other hand, methods like laser welding create a smooth connection and keep the welding seam at a minimum size. The application of laser welding is fast, steady and efficient. Combined with robotic arms, laser welding ensures high quality.
At AMP, we focus primarily and exclusively on robotic welding procedures. The automated technique lets us produce efficiently with high precision. Robotic welding functions superiorly in small objects and details. The flexibility granted by the computer-aided system also helps adjust and modify the procedure according to clients’ needs. If robotic welding sounds like the solution to your metal processing problem, make that purchase decision based on this rundown of the many advantages of robotic welding.
Choosing to custom fabricate your metalwork gives you advantages that off-the-shelf products cannot. This is mostly because custom metal products ensure a perfect fit. Besides the perfect size and shape according to your request, you can pick processing techniques and materials; this is an advantage for industries with particular regulations.
You can find products of custom metal projects in many different industries. These industries rely on custom metal fabrication technology to help them realise their newest design and find better solutions. It is the stepping stone for the development of optimal infrastructure, durable metal solutions and reliable production machinery.
There are many different ways to cut sheet metal, such as tin snips or aviation shears. The choice of methods is based on the type of material, the thickness of objects and your budget. The cheapest and simplest option is cutting with a metal shearing tool. Other more recommended options with the wider application are plasma and laser cutting.
The cost of custom metal fabrication varies depending on the size, material and complexity of the project. The cost of industrial sheet metal fabrication also depends on the variety of applications and differences in project scale. The best way to determine your budget is to request a quote and have a consultation with experts in the industry. Our experts are dedicated to helping our clients get the best custom metal solutions, no matter the project.
Do you have more questions about the sheet metal fabrication process? Are you eager to see your custom metal needs turn into durable solutions? At AMP, we offer a free consultation to help you figure out the best solution for your project. All you need to do is head to our quote page and book a quote today.
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