Sheet Metal Steel Fabrication

The steel fabrication industry is one of the largest industries in the world, with steel being produced for anything from construction materials to jewellery, from the automotive industry to sewage systems and from the naval industry to electricity grids, to name but a few.  Many people rarely stop to think about how much steel is actually used in products they use in their day to day life, but steel is actually the most widely used alloy in the world today.

What is Sheet Metal Steel Fabrication?

Sheet metal is a very thin, flat piece of metal.  One of the benefits of sheet metal is that it can be cut and bended into many different shapes and forms.  It can also be stamped to make intricate designs, for example.  The sheet metal steel fabrication industry generally produces sheet metal as a flat piece or as a coil of sheet metal.  A world famous example of sheet metal steel fabrication at its best is the Chrysler Building in the United States.

What are the Sheet Metal Steel Fabrication Grades?

There are many different grades of sheet metal available.  The most common ones for stainless steel are 410, 316 and 304. 

  • The 410 grade is not very good at resisting corrosion, however it is heat treatable.  It always has a dull finish.  410 grade sheet metal is mainly used in the production of knives and forks, for example.
  • The 316 grade offers very strong corrosion resistance as well as strength under hot temperatures.  It is mainly used in valves and pumps, marine applications and chemical equipment.  It is available in a range of finishes.
  • The 304 grade is most commonly used.  It offers very good corrosion but also remains movable and weldable.  There are a range of different finishes available for grade 304 sheet metal steel fabrication.

What Are the Forming Processes for Sheet Metal Steel Fabrication?

There are a number of forming processes used in the sheet metal fabrication industry.  These include:

  • Bending, whereby a scientific calculation needs to be done to ensure the material doesn’t break.
  • Decambering
  • Curling
  • Incremental Sheet Forming
  • Deep drawing, which is where the sheet metal is stretched over a specific shape or form.  This is used, for example, when making kitchen sinks.
  • Laser cutting - this can be done both by hand or with robotic machines. 
  • Ironing
  • Press Brake Forming
  • Perforating
  • Roll forming
  • Punching
  • Spinning
  • Rolling
  • Stamping
  • Water jet cutting
  • Wheeling


Each of these processes in the sheet metal steel fabrication industry require highly specific tools and equipment – often including steel themselves – and properly trained engineers to be done correctly.

As you can see, sheet metal steel fabrication is wide and varied, with a tremendous number of applications in which sheet metal is used.  The processes of producing sheet metal are complex and there are many different things that can be done with regards to the forming processes.  There are also many grades of sheet metal steel fabrication available with each grade being used in different industries.  So next time you use your kitchen sink, or cut through a juicy steak with your knife, spare a thought to the sheet metal steel fabrication industry that made it possible.




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