Benefits of metal fabrication - what is metal fabrication?

If you have ever held a handrail, opened a car door, climbed a ladder, or walked up a spiral staircase you will have some understanding of metal fabrication, or at least of what can be achieved with metal fabrication.

Custom metal fabrication has inarguably expanded the landscape of capabilities for what can be made and, consequently, what can be done.

Metal fabrication is the process of manipulating raw materials such as sheet metal into a desired shape - products which require metal in their structure are not limited by the dimensions of flat metal or the inflexibility of solid metal.  Be it through cutting, folding, welding or stamping, flat metals are made to assume dynamic and intricate shapes which respond to the needs of the medical and biotech, construction, energy, mining and aerospace industries, and a great many more.

The possibilities introduced by metal fabrication appear endless, and custom metal fabrication expands that horizon further by promising bespoke solutions to your individual needs.

The Process of Metal Fabrication 

At PCML Cambridge, the process of custom metal fabrication begins with the design for manufacture stage, after which our rapid prototyping comes into play as we are able to produce physical parts based upon 3D CAD designs within 5 working days - the tests performed here can determine which, if any, adjustments need to be made.

Once confirmed, the design is translated for machines which are controlled by computers to allow for automated cutting, stamping and so on. Fabrication is a process of its own, often including forging, welding, punching and much more, and varying complexities per project result in varying production lengths, but once accomplished, assembly and any finishing touches can be performed and the process is completed.

Historical Uses and Modern Technology

While the practice of manufacturing metal to allow us to produce intricate medical devices and our precision engineering and manufacturing is a modern luxury, there is a rich history to the metal fabrication industry dating back to Leonardo da Vinci’s depictions of a, then theoretical, rolling mill.

Nearly 300 years after da Vinci’s time, in 1795, the hydraulic press was invented by Joseph Bramah; this machine was a marvel of the Industrial Revolution and its introduction in the process of stamping and cutting metal revolutionised the metal fabrication industry.

We now have the good fortune of a great expanse of technology and machinery specialised to allow for the complex designs which are demanded by projects such as creating ventilators in response to the Covid outbreak, or manufacturing precision parts for sophisicated 3D imaging cameras which can accurately map complex mines and innaccessable cave environments.

While the basic processes involved in metal fabrication predate us by centuries, as our wants and needs have evolved, technology has adapted to produce new, innovative solutions; CAD software is an important element of the industry as it is used to formulate designs and 3D models, which allows for preemptive changes to be made where necessary. Additionally, the machinery favoured by the industry tends to have some automation/programming capabilities since this allows for unattended and uninterrupted performance without compromising on precision.

Benefits of Metal Fabrication

Metal fabrication has shaped the way we experience the world; its application in medical equipment has granted us the tools necessary to save lives, its role in the transportation business has allowed us to travel the globe and it has allowed us to do so with ease and assured safety.

But aside from this big-picture view, there are individual benefits of the practice that affirm its continued use such as its cost effectiveness, the impressive heat resistance as a result of the high melting point of metals, and the increased strength and durability that metal offers compared to plastic.

There is also the versatility of metal, which is demonstrated by the sheer number of processes through which it can be fabricated, a number of which have been mentioned such as cutting, which includes laser cutting, waterjet cutting and flame cutting, punching and forging.

Metal fabrication has invariably paved the way for the industry within which we, at PCML, exist and so our dedication to expert performance of the practice is paramount, though this is just one of a number of capabilities that we bring to our projects.

If you have any questions, or to discuss your metal fabrication requirements - get in touch with our team by filling out our enquiry form or emailing [email protected] and we will get back to you shortly, or talk to us directly on 01223 293904.

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