Fabrication is the process of turning raw material into a product. This is often seen with many types of metals for different applications such as use within the commercial construction industry and auto manufacturers. Steel is well known for being resistant to corrosion and heat, as well as durable and well priced. It is unsurprising that it is a popular pick for fabrication across all industries.
How Steel Turns into a Fabricated Product
The process involved in turning steel into a fabricated product requires a lot of planning and technology. Knowing common practices in this process can help you better understand why it would be a good fit for your next project.
- Design – First before the production even starts, the client and production shop will create a blueprint together based on the client’s needs and application for the product. A professional shop will help the client pick a material and design that will complement the physical attributes of the material.
- Shot Blasting – During the shot blasting process, steel beads are shot at the steel much akin to a sandblasting process. This process helps prepare the surface to be easier to weld and easier to paint.
- Cutting Process – When the steel gets cut to the proper size, there are a few tools that can be used. Common tools include plasma cutters and circular saws.
- Manipulation – If necessary for the project, the steel will be bent and manipulated to fit the blueprint. There are many modern fabricator tools that are used to achieve this, including large rollers and press braking.
- Welding – Once all of the pieces match the blueprints, they will be welded to any necessary surface.
- Final Touches – Once all items are welded together and to any other materials, finishing touches will be made. This can include things like coatings to protect the metal or layers of paint for aesthetic.
What Type of Steel Should I Use?
Another consideration is what type of steel you need for your project. An experienced fabricated specialist will be able to guide you on the different uses on fabrication steel, but it is important to be knowledgeable yourself as well.
- Austenitic Stainless Steel – This is the most commonly used kind of stainless steel. They grade at 304, 316, and 317. This kind of stainless steel has very high corrosion resistance, and are non-magnetic. It also is made of large amounts of nitrogen additions, nickel, and molybdenum.
- Ferritic Stainless Steel – This is the next most commonly used stainless steel strain, graded at 410 and 420. Unlike austenitic stainless steel, this steel is magnetic and is often cheaper to use due to having a lower concentration of chromium and nickel.
- Martensitic Stainless Steel – While this kind of stainless steel is the hardest, it is the least common and grades at 410 and 420. They are magnetic, and again, it is a cheaper option due to a lower nickel concentration.
- Duplex Stainless Steel – This is a mixture of austenitic stainless steel and ferritic stainless steel. Due to the different mixtures, this can have many aspects in varying degrees of both types of stainless steel.
As you can see, there are a lot of options when you start to look at what type of steel you would like to use for your fabrication project. It is a very popular fabrication material for its utility and price.