Fabrication is essentially the manipulation of raw materials i.e. metals like steel to make structures, machines, etc. It is basically the process by which metal structures are made by cutting, welding, machining, bending and assembling. In fact, fabrication is an integral part of the manufacturing process.
Anything you see around you, from a safety pin to heavy machinery or buildings, are all products of fabrication. Metal fabrication has applications across several industries and products.
Types of Fabrication Processes
There are several kinds of fabrication processes, of which the most common are: cutting, folding, machining, punching, shearing, stamping and welding.
Today, many different processes of cutting are employed. While the oldest method of cutting is by using the saw, today, modern methods of cutting include laser, plasma and waterjet cutting. These methods of cutting vary in terms of the complexity and cost.
Many times, parts need to be bent and the most commonly employed method for bending is the use of the brake press. The brake press has dies that form creases in the metal by pinching it. However, this method can be used only for very specific cases and depends on the shape of the dies and the movement of the part.
This process involves the removal of metal from a material. The machining process may be done using a lathe or some other cutting machine like a drill. In the case of a lathe, the material moves against it, while in the case of a drill the tool rotates in various ways against the fixed piece. The cutting head’s range of motion is specified by the number of axes.
The punching process makes use of the punch and the die, where the die cuts out the piece of metal and makes a hole in it. The punch and the die must be the same size and shape as the desired hole. Sometimes the main piece is kept and the holes are made for the purpose of fastening, while in other cases, the portion that is removed is the required product, which is called the blanking.
This is a process in which a long cut is made on a metal piece and this process is usually done on sheet metal.
The process of stamping is similar to the process of punching, except that in stamping the material is not cut. The die is made in such a way that causes the material to be raised instead of penetrating the metal.
This is essentially the process of joining two metal pieces. There are many kinds of welding methods that are used for different applications and metals used for the manufacturing process.
The process of fabrication has undergone several changes over the years. With advancements in technology, there are newer processes and methods of fabrication that are developing each day. Each new day sees newer innovations such as 3D printing and fabrication is an area where the sky’s the limit.