If you have started working with a metal fabrication company as a business, contractor, or other related person, there are a few terms you should know to realize and understand the process. In order to create a final product or part, many companies rely on metal fabrication. If you are not familiar with these processes and the terms used during production, here are a few terms you will probably hear when you work with a metal fabrication shop:

What Are Metal Fabrication Services?

Metal fabrication processes and design combine manufacturing techniques using raw, stock, or semi-finished materials to produce value-added products.

Workpiece describes the material that is being worked on with a machine or tool for fabrication.

Forming is used in the fabrication process to reshape the form of a metal without causing it to lose mass or structural integrity. This is done using cold forming and does not require heating or melting the material prior to reshaping it. Forming processes that are used most often include: bending, ironing, laser cutting, punching, and stamping.

Machining is the step in the fabrication process used to remove any unwanted material from it. This can be done through a few different processes such as drilling, grinding, milling, and turning.

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machines are automated, computerized motion control machines that manufacturers use during the production of custom designed parts and products. These machines are able to be fitted with several tools in order to do the work of cutters, grinders, lathes, mills, routers, and more. Using CNC machines, welders are able to bring all sorts of designs to life with outstanding precision and repeatability– which is vital for many industries.

Cutting is another subtractive fabrication method that cuts or splits materials into smaller portions. The cutting process uses top of the line machinery with power tools controlled by CNC machines in order to get the process complete. The most common cutting methods in custom fabrication are laser cutting., plasma arc cutting, waterjet cutting, and power scissors.

Shearing is a subtractive fabrication process that is used to trim or remove any unwanted material from the workpiece. It is done by mounting two blades above and below the workpiece to create a long, straight cut. These blades can also be mounted at an angle if needed to reduce the shearing force.

Die and Press Tools: A die is a pre-shaped tool that when used alongside a press will change the shape of the metal to the desired design. During this process, dies are a female component that is positioned under the compressive force of a press causing the material between the press and die to change shape as desired.

Punching is a subtractive process in metal fabrication that uses a punch press. A punch press is a mechanical device or CNC machine that is home to turrets that have the ability to punch into a die or through a metal. The punch is used to create custom, intricate designed holes in your workpiece.

Stamping is typically non-subtractive during the fabrication process. Like with punching, turret presses and dies are used, however the holes are not punched through the metal, instead it only creates indentations. Stamping machines have the ability to be used for subtractive processes as they have the ability to cast, cut, punch, and shape workpieces in order to form several different products.

Welding is one of the most frequently used fabrication processes. Welding consists of joining two or more workpieces together using heat and pressure. Metal workpieces can come in different shapes and sizes. There are three main types of welding, these are: stick welding, MIG welding, and TIG welding. Other versatile welding methods include spot welding and stud welding. You will find that all of these forms are used in industrial fabrication shops globally.

Casting occurs when molten metals are poured into a mold or die and then left to cool and harden as it assumes the desired shape. Fortunately, these molds are reusable. This is why this process is often used when mass producing identical parts.

Folding is a cold temperature forming process that is used to bend metal workpieces at a specific angle. This process uses a brake press that was designed to secure the workpiece in place between a punch and a die in order to alter the shape of the metal.

Forging requires using dies or a hammer to create enough compressive force that your metal workpiece takes the desired form. This process can be done in various temperatures; cold and warm forging are both done at or above room temperature. Hot forging is used to heat metals to their recrystallization temperature that is right below its melting point. Forging is another commonly used process globally.

Extrusion is a non-subtractive process used to push workpieces through or around dies. This method will reduce the overall diameter of the workpiece to the cross-section of the die in order to create a cavity on the inside of the metal workpiece.

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About Palmer Tool

Palmer Tool completes critical jobs on-time and on-budget. Since 1966, Palmer has taken on jobs that other shops and contractors either didn’t want, or just couldn’t do. We can fabricate parts in our shops, visit you at your plant, or meet you at on-location (ie. logging, mining, construction, etc.). From the toughest repairs to the most complex new assembly, we’ve seen and done it all. Over the past 50+ years, Palmer has maintained our reputation as a trusted expert welder and fabricator of non-ferrous alloys in demanding applications (high pressure + high temperature chemical plants). Our hard-facing applications, and robust designs, have successfully extended the service life of countless industrial “extreme service” components, saving our clients money! Palmer Tool and Contractors provide on-call emergency services 24/7, because we understand that in manufacturing “the clock never stops”.