Steel is commonly used in many areas of manufacturing or construction, which means that anyone who oversees these processes will probably need to have pieces of steel fabricated in one way or another. If you own a manufacturing facility or construction company, you may wonder if it's worth the expense to invest in the machinery that fabricates steel to your specifications, or if you should send out these pieces to a machine shop as needed. Understanding the best methods for steel fabrication can help you to make the right choice, so note the following.
To bend steel very inexpensively, ram bending is usually the method used. This involves a piece that is literally pressed or rammed into the axis of the metal, while two other pieces push against the outside of the axis. While this type of machinery is very inexpensive, it also doesn't offer the most accurate bend.
Ring roll bending is a much more accurate way of bending steel pieces. A steel piece is fed through the machine and three rollers bend it into place. Two rollers are on the outside and a third roller runs along the axis, creating the curve or bend. This protects the outside of the piece more readily and creates a smoother curve that is more accurate than one you create with ram bending.
Induction bending involves heating the steel so that it can be bent. This is often done for larger pieces that won't fit in machinery or for thicker pieces that don't bend easily. Induction bending equipment can be expensive it requires some skill to bend steel as it's being heated, so that the piece is not ruined in the process.
2. Joining and fastening
Welding is one of the most common processes of joining any types of metal and may be used when steel needs to be joined to another material with a very different melting point. Each material is attached to a metal plate and this acts as the connector. Welding steel requires skill and specialized equipment since the material is so strong; if you decide to invest in welding equipment for your facility, you will also need to keep a skilled welder on staff to ensure fastening is done according to specifications.
A simpler solution for joining and fastening is the use of rivets. These are like large metal nails; the back end is pounded flat once inserted into steel pieces, so they don't simply slide out. Riveting equipment is easy to use on a jobsite and doesn't require the skill of welding, so it may be a good solution for fastening and joining for your construction crew.
For more information, check out companies such as Bronson Sheetmetal Fabrications Pty Ltd.