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5 Types of Metal Fabrication

Did you know the metal fabrication equipment market will reach an impressive $92.84 billion by 2025? This growth is because of a rapidly increasing need for advanced infrastructure and growing industries – an industry in which you may already be a part.

How do you keep up with the demand for high-quality products? How do you stay on top of your competitors? First, you need to work with a manufacturer who is the best at what they do.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the different types of metal fabrication and what Elemet Manufacturing can do for you.

Who Is Elemet Manufacturing?

Elemet Manufacturing exists because of the dual efforts of Precision Waterjet Concepts and Aitkin Iron Works. With the combined expertise of Aitkin’s over 87 years of farming, logging, and mining experience; and Precision Waterjet’s understanding of complex manufacturing work, there is no better company to serve your custom metal fabrication needs.

Machine shops come and go, but fabrication is eternal. Where there is a manufacturing need to fill, there is a metal manufacturing process to suit.

cad cam drawing of metal components with two of the finished components laying on drawing

Breaking Down the Different Types of Metal Fabrication

It is critical to understand the foundations of any manufacturing process before you decide to work with it. As a company with expertise in the matter, however, we are here to advise you.

At its core, the metal fabrication process is all about turning raw materials into new, ready-to-assemble shapes. Custom metal fabrication procedures, for example, are used to create the panels that make up the frame of cars and other vehicles.

While this seems simple, the processes involved are rather complex and varied. Some methods are better suited to specific tasks, while others can accommodate a variety of processes.

Waterjet Cutting

A water jet cutter is a piece of industrial equipment that can cut a wide range of materials using an extremely high-pressure jet of water.

‘Abrasive jet’ refers to the use of a water-abrasive mixture used to cut hard materials like metal, stone, and glass. We use a pure waterjet for softer materials like wood and rubber.

If you’re looking for precision, the 5-axis waterjet cutting machine can tackle even the most complex of tasks. While a waterjet can cut almost any material, the time to cut a piece is longer than other processes.

sheet metal bending in a facility performing many types of metal fabrication

Metal Stamping and Bending

Stamping is a cold-forming technique that transforms flat metal blanks into a variety of shapes. This method employs a tool and die that, when struck, changes the shape of the metal through sheer pressure.

Punching, bending, and embossing are all examples of stamping in the sheet metal production business. Metal bending or folding is a sophisticated production procedure that involves manipulating a metal surface to a specific angle.

The goal is predominantly to have the metal fold at a 90-degree angle. However, because of the complexity of the process, folding needs to be done in facilities that have specialized, high-tech equipment. Often, connecting two metal panels at specific angles may be more workable with a welding process.

With metal stamping comes a high level of automation, so it’s great for jobs that require quick and precise output. However, a disadvantage to note is that dies can be challenging to change if the design needs to change at any point in production.

Welding

Welding is one of the most common metal fabrication methods in the industry. It is basically the technique of connecting two separate metal components together. You can connect sheets, panels, bars, and any kind of shape using the welding method, as long as constructed out of metal.

You achieve this process through the application of heat along the edge where the two pieces connect. You can accomplish this with a variety of procedures and tools.

Welding is great because welded joints have a high strength load, and you can weld a variety of different materials. When done well, they provide a complete and rigid joint. However, once forged, that joint is permanent.

close-up of vertical CNC milling with coolant streams splashing and metal chips piling up

CNC Machining and Milling

The term CNC stands for computerized numerical control. CNC is a production method in which pre-programmed software controls other industrial tools and machinery to achieve the desired shape. From grinders to mills, a CNC method can successfully control a wide range of machinery.

CNC machining can perform three-dimensional cutting operations with just a few simple commands. Our 4-axis CNC machine is particularly good at producing high-quality products because it works on all four planes of a three-dimensional object.

CNC machining is not necessarily the right choice for small product quantities, as it takes some time to design and program. However, in terms of complexity, adaptability, and automation capacity, you can’t beat it.

Casting

Casting is one of the earliest forms of metal manufacturing and dates all the way back to 3,200 B.C.E. It involves pouring molten metal into a mold and leaving it to solidify again in place. Casting is the appropriate choice for a wide range of intricate shape-making needs as it is such a flexible way of fabricating metal.

Metals like steel, iron, gold, copper, silver, and magnesium are the most popular metals used for the casting process.

Casting is not suited to mass production and, compared to other methods, like forging, it has a low fatigue strength. It is, however, one of the cheapest methods of all the manufacturing types.

How Elemet Can Help You 

Understanding the different types of metal fabrication can feel overwhelming, but you don’t need to be an expert to get the job done.

Let our team of highly trained engineers help you with your next job. With your vision and our know-how, we’ll get you set up and ready to go in no time.

Contact Elemet Manufacturing today, and let’s bring your project to life together.

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