Introduction to Sheet Metal Fabrication

Introduction to Sheet Metal Fabrication

Sheet Metal Fabrication is a manufacturing process transforming flat metal pieces into a specifically designed part or product. Commonly used in a wide range of industries, sheet metal manufacturing is capable of creating complex, highly reliable results.

We have created this article to help you better understand this manufacturing technology, which will give you the knowledge to become a better hardware developer.

How does Sheet Metal Fabrication work?

How does Sheet Metal Fabrication work?

It all begins with a thin plate of metal, typically between 0.5 mm and 8 mm, the base material to be turned into a wide variety of shapes. Professional suppliers achieve this by cutting, splitting and bending or joining metal pieces to transform them.

Sheet Metal Fabrication Processes

Sheet Metal Fabrication can use different processes to achieve the desired result. Here’s an overview of them:

Metal Laser Cutting

A high-density laser beam is used directly on a metal sheet, cutting material in all shapes. Engraving can be perform too by reducing the laser’s power. It generates burn marks that require deburring and cleaning processes to eliminate.

Best used for metal sheets under 8 mm in thickness, depending on the selected metal.

Metal Laser Cutting

Metal Waterjet Cutting

A high-pressure water jet is directed with a nozzle into a specific point or path in a metal plate to cut the metal sheet. We cut harder metals. We using a water-abrasive granular substance combination. It is common to make the water jet stronger.

One of its most significant advantages is that this type of cutting does not generate heat, avoiding burn marks. Deburring may be necessary to achieve the cleanest result.

Metal Waterjet Cutting

Metal Plasma Cutting

A plasma cutter applies energy and high temperature to a gas to create a cutting beam. It is direct to a metal piece to cut by melting it.

It works well to cut thick materials. The thickness is around 8mm and up to 300 mm. A secondary process recommend to ensure the best finishing.

Metal Plasma Cutting

Metal Bending

A machine like a press brake applies directed force on a metal plate, causing a deformation along one axis. This process can be performed in sequences, varying the axis and bending point to create highly complex parts.

Metal Bending

Sheet Metal Fabrication Materials

There are many materials that manufacturers can work with, steel, aluminum, and steel or aluminum alloys being the most used. The material selection will depend on diverse factors, mainly regarding the part’s desired mechanical properties, aesthetics, and cost requirements. It would be best to consider the need for formability, strength, weight, durability, and welding qualities in the selection process.

Aluminum

  • AL1000 series
  • AL5000 series
  • AL6000 series

Steel

  • Carbon Steels
  • Galvanized Steels
  • Stainless Steels

Post-processing Operations

Your sheet metal parts and products may need post-processing depending on the expected result. Some of the most common processes are:

Painting

The application of paint into a metal part by using powder coating, electro-painting, wet painting, or silk screening processes.

Bead Blasting

Tiny beads of glass, plastic, or other materials are shot into the metal parts with high pressure to remove impurities from their surface.

Anodizing

An electrochemical process used to improve the metal’s resistance, mostly for aluminum.

Polishing

A standard procedure to achieve a mirror-like finishing. Can be performed mechanically or electrically.

Industries using Sheet Metal Fabrication

Industries using Sheet Metal Fabrication

 

As this manufacturing process produces high-precision metal products, most industries relying on such metal parts will likely use sheet metal fabrication. A few industries are:

Robotics

Automotive

– Medical and Healthcare

– Machinery

Electronics

– Construction

Aeronautical

Maritime

Sculpting

Benefits and Limitations of Sheet Metal Fabrication

Benefits and Limitations of Sheet Metal Fabrication

Some of the benefits of sheet metal manufacturing are:

  • Excellent cost-benefit
  • Wide material availability
  • High-quality
  • Durability
  • Reliability
  • Engineering support when producing your parts with TDB’s Machining

Some limitations that you should keep in mind are:

  • High cost for complex parts not designed with Sheet Metal manufacturing principles.
  • Geometry and quantity limitations, in which case a different fabrication method like Injection Molding could have better results.

Sheet Metal Fabrication at the best costs

TDB offers you sheet metal fabrication manufacturing services. With our quality-assured manufacturing network and worldwide delivery service, your parts and products are in safe and efficient hands.

Request a quote today and enjoy the benefits of smart manufacturing.

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