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March 1, 2020

Importance and Types of Metal Fabrication Processes

What are the different types of metal fabrication processes?

  1. Welding
  2. Machining
  3. Casting
  4. Forging
  5. Extrusion
  6. Folding

When it comes to manufactured metal products that are utilized in various industries, you may not always be aware of the complexity of the processes involved. Depending on the kind of metal product which has been produced, there exists a variety of complex operations in order to perform the desired alterations in the material. Specifically, these operations involve the different types of metal fabrication processes that maximize the raw metal material.

Simply put, metal fabrication involves the production of metal-based machines or structures from raw materials. Some examples of these final products include various steel products such as steel pipes, steel tubes, steel sheets, reinforced steel bars, and the like.

If you want to learn more about the different types of metal fabrication processes, then continue reading.

Welding

 

This process is perhaps one of the most-commonly heard metal fabrication processes. If you have any idea about welding, then it occurs when two or more metal pieces are combined together with the use of heat, pressure, and other physical processes. 

There are many different ways of welding such as Gas Metal Arc Welding, Stick or Shielded Metal Arc Welding, and Gas Tungsten Arc Welding.

In the Gas Metal Arc welding process, a shielded gas is applied along a wire electrode. Throughout this entire process, a constant and direct power source is applied, to facilitate the welding process.

On the other hand, Stick or Shielded Metal Arc Welding involves the use of an electrical current with a high temperature to form an arc between the metals and the electrode stick.

Finally, Gas Tungsten Arc Welding is typically employed to join heavier metal products such as stainless steel. This process involves the utilization of a tubular wire containing a flux. Unlike the Gas Metal Arc Welding process, GTAW does not make use of shielding gas.

Machining

Machining is generally described as a process which involves the shaping and physical alteration of a product by way of removing the undesirable materials from it. Having said this, machining does not simply describe a single way of removing the unwanted material. This material could be extracted by milling, turning, or drilling in order to achieve the desired outcome.

The best example to explain drilling would be that of perforated sheet metals. In simple terms, drilling makes use of a high-speed turning drill which cuts a circular hole in the metal material.

Turning, on the other hand, involves a metal lathe, or a lathe which is a tool utilized in order to create metal products with more precise measurements. This process is typically used on harder and heavier metals.

Finally, milling can be used for both large and small metal raw materials. In this process, a cutter is used in order to remove the unwanted material and shape the resulting metal work surface into the desired form.

Casting

 

This process is one of the oldest-known types of metal fabrication in the world. It has been practiced for around 6,000 years. Casting can also be said to be one of the most straightforward metal fabrication processes, as it involves the pouring of a molten metal into a cast or a mold. 

After, the molten raw material is left to harden over time in order to produce the desired product. Without thinking too deeply, one could tell that there are many everyday items that have been produced through the casting method. Some examples of these would be bolts, cast-iron nails, car rims, and several pieces found inside a small watch.

Forging

Forging involves the use of a constant pounding force to shape the metal. While many products can result from this type of process, the most common forging agent used is typically a large hammer or die which strikes the workpiece until a shape is formed.

Shaping metals in this way can be done either at room temperature or with the application of high heat. Similar to casting, forging has also been employed by blacksmiths in order to produce manufactured iron products used in daily life. Along with the hammer, an anvil is used to hold the metal workpiece in place.

Extrusion

 

The extrusion process is primarily used in the manufacture of straight and long metal parts. Using a high-powered hydraulic press, a metal is squeezed into a die.

There are many components inherent in an extrusion die, namely container, profile, pressing tool, aluminum bar, punch, pressing piston, and the hydraulic oil. All of these parts have to function properly in order for the entire process to result in a precisely-made metal product.

The purpose of extrusion is to produce a metal product having that of a particular cross-section – whether it be round, rectangular, or T-shaped. Aluminum, copper, magnesium, steel, and lead are the types of metal that usually undergo the extrusion process.

Folding

Similar to the casting process, folding is a straightforward metal fabrication process. It simply involves the bending or folding of a metal workpiece with a brake press. 

Sheet metals are typically the products that result from this process. These materials are utilized in many various industries, including aviation, automotive, and the construction industry.

Key Takeaway

The different types of metal fabrication processes are applied onto a metal raw material in order to produce metal products for a variety of uses. While some of these processes employ the use of a constant application of electrical, or heat energy, some processes simply require physical manipulation in different levels, or degrees.

The guide above has hopefully equipped you with adequate information on just some of the ways by which industries manufacture metal products.

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