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Precision Sheet Metal Fabrication

Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Metal fabrication is a process of producing a metal component by modifying a raw piece of material in a machine shop. These materials are processed on different temperatures and depending on the range of temperatures; the process is classified as cold, warm and hot. Precision sheet metal fabrication describes various different processes that form sheet metal into finished products. Objects that are fabricated and used for machinery and other instruments are among the daily used objects like paper clips, computers, bolts, nails, automotive parts and many more.

There are various factors like rate of production, desired geometry, and other physical requirements that influence the fabrication process. The benefits of the metal fabrication process are far and wide because it is used by all industries. Every precision sheet metal fabrication process undergoes three primary processes that include forming, cutting and finishing. Forming is a process that alters the form of the flat metal sheet. Forming can be done using various different processes like annealing, bending, cold rolling, drawing, forging, mechanical working, press forming, roll forming and welding. After forming, a metal sheet is cut to alter the shape by removing some unwanted material. The cutting process includes stamping, shearing, sawing, drilling, blanking and punching.

Finally, the last stage is the finishing process. In this process, the shaped metal sheet is given a finished and soft surface using sanding and vibration techniques. Aesthetic considerations like painting and visual design applications are also few of the method applied to give the finishing touch. Some of the latest techniques in metal fabrication involve laser cutting, electro discharge machining, water jet cutting and wire cut EDM. In some cases CNC machining is also used.

There are various products that are created during precision sheet metal fabrication. The most common objects produced are metal cabinets, enclosures, ventilation shafts, hoods, exhaust systems, tanks and prototypes. Metal fabrication is also used by various other industries for food dispensing, food storage, communications, automotive, computer, medical, electronics, aerospace, telecommunication, pharmaceutical, residential and construction.

Some of the types of Precision Sheet Metal Fabrication include processes like Annealing (heating), Bending (straining), Cold forming, Cold rolling (shaping sheet metal using rollers), Drawing (material is forced into a die with a punch to form a cup-like shape), Forging hammering or pressing), Rolling (reducing thickness of the material), Extrusion (producing cylindrical bars or hollow tubes by forcing round billets through one or more dies) and Spinning (forms axially symmetrical shapes).

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