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Sheet Metal Fabrication in Our Everyday Lives

Wednesday, December 1, 2010
The process of taking a thin flat sheet of metal and then bending it, stamping it, stretching it, curving it punching holes in it and shaping it using heat, pressure and heavy machinery is one of the most fascinating and important parts of the modern manufacturing process.

A lot of the products we use and love for the past few decades and tend to take for granted have sheet metal fabricators to thank for their existence. All of these products began their life as thin sheets of various metals of various gauges or even huge rolls of the material. Once they undergo the various processes that very few end users ever they are magically transformed into everyday objects that we all use.

The technology sheet metal fabricators use has also changed beyond recognition over the past few decades and today you are no longer likely to find open fires and tongs in a steel working unit but are more likely to find computerized machines for most processes that go into metal work like cutting, welding and stamping shapes.

These days parts are shaped not using stamping machines that essentially batter the sheet metal into shape by slamming into it with a huge multi ton weight but with a process called hydro-forming which is much less stressful to the metals and results in tougher stronger products. Cutting is also now done with lasers and high pressure water jets rather than the old diamond coated blades of yore with the advantages of better, more precise cuts, better finish and less wear and tear on the raw materials as well as the cutting machines themselves.

But even with all this high technology highly skilled human beings are still needed in all metal working units to access the most hard to reach welding points that no computerized mechanical welding machine can reach and to shape double or multiple curvature parts that cannot be done except with the skill of the human eye and the human hand. The best sheet metal fabricators are the ones that combine the best of modern technology combined with the most skillful metal workers who can still do wonders with sheet metal that no machine today can.

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