Steel Fabrication: Basics and Process

Steel Fabrication: Basics and Process

Steel fabrication is a process that involves the creation of machines, parts, and structures from steel along with various other raw materials. A fabrication shop can bid on a job that is usually based on engineering drawings and,if given the contract, will construct the product.

Large steel fabrication plants in Melbourne employ value-added processes under one plant including cutting, forming welding and machining. These large fabrication shops offer extra value to their clients by limiting the requirement for acquiring personnel to locate several merchants for different services. Steel fabrication jobs in Melbourne generally start with shop sketches, which include precise measurements, fabrication and installation of the final project. Fabrication shops are employed by OEMs, VARs and contractors. Few typical projects steel fabrication plants in Melbourne run include building heavy equipment, and building stairs and hand railings for buildings, loose parts and structural frames.

Steel Fabrication: Basics and Process

In Melbourne, steel fabrication is done using raw materials, such as:

  • Steel plate
  • Welding wire/welding rod
  • Casting
  • Formed and expanded steel
  • Tube stock

Steel Fabrication Process

Cutting: Steel is cut by shearing, sawing or chiselling (all done using manual and powered variants); torching (using hand-held torches like plasma torches or oxy-fuel torches); and using numerical control (CNC) cutters (such as mill bits, torch, a laser or water jet).

Bending: This process involves hammering or using press brakes or similar tools. Modern day steel fabricators prefer using press brakes to either air-bend steel sheet into form or coin. CNC controlled back gauges use hard halts to locate cut parts to place bend lines atthe correct place. Off-line programming software have now made programming CNC controlled press brakes efficient and seamless.

Assembling: This is the process of joining the pieces. It is done by welding, riveting, threaded fasteners, binding with adhesives or bending in the form of a crimped seam. Sheet steel and structural steel are the common starting materials used for fabrication.A variety of other raw materials, such as the flux, welding wire and fasteners joining the cut pieces, are also used.

In this process,both, automation and human labor, are commonly used.  Shops specializing in this type of steel work are called fab shops or fabrication shops. The end product of other common types of steel working like steel stamping, machining, casting and forging can be similar in function and shape; however, thesemethods are not categorized as the fabrication.

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