Many people think of the Northeast United States as the center for the metal and steel industry.
However, if you are a Southerner, you know that Birmingham, AL can give any Northern industrial city a run for its money when it comes to the metal industry and metal fabrication.
Given that Birmingham is such a hub for the steel and metal industry, the phrase, “metal fabrication” is a word that often gets thrown around, but what does it actually mean?
Let’s break it down.
A synonym for fabrication is manufacturing, so metal fabrication can be thought of as metal manufacturing–taking a workpiece of metal from one state (sheet metal, a steel rod, etc.) and converting it to a more usable form (car body panels, rebar, etc.).
So, metal fabrication is a general term used to describe the various means by which simpler forms of metal are converted to more complex, more useful metal pieces.
Different Aspects of Metal Fabrication
Welding is one of the most well known facets of metal fabrication.
Because welding is such an effective method of joining two durable metals together, it is a preferred method of metal fabrication. There are several different ways that fabricators can weld metals.
For a more in depth description of welding and the different types of welding we practice at Steel City Metal, check out our blog post, The Basics of Welding.
Machining refers to the practice of shaving off parts of a metal workpiece by rotating the metal workpiece on an axis as it comes in contact with a blade.
To do this, metal fabricators typically use a tool called a “lathe.”
Lathes are machines that rotate a metal piece on an axis so that the fabricator can perform various tasks such as cutting, sanding, drilling, deformation, and more.
Casting describes the metal fabrication process of pouring a molten metal into a certain cast.
The molten metal then cools and forms a new, usable metal piece.
Casting is one of the oldest methods of metal fabrication, going all the way back to 4,000 BC.
This type of metal fabrication is only used for sheet metal. The sheet is fed through a metal-cutting machine operated by the fabricator and cuts the sheet metal along long planes.
Though this method may be applied anywhere on a metal workpiece, it is usually used to trim edges of metal sheets to give the sheet a cleaner cut.
Stamping is a metal cutting process that uses dies to “stamp” a smaller metal piece out of a larger sheet.
These pieces are often smaller in size compared to the pieces that can be produced in casting or shearing and are often used to supply parts for machines serving industries like defense, medical, electronics, hardware, and more.
This metal fabrication method is similar to stamping in that it uses a die to “punch” a whole in a metal workpiece.
Punching, though, differs from stamping because a fabricator is creating holes in the metal workpiece and keeping the piece with the holes for a variety of mechanical parts instead of using the punched-out pieces.
Steel City Metal, Inc. is a Birmingham, AL steel fabricator with the knowledge and experience to get your project done with excellence.