Articles

Innovative Sheet Metal and Stainless Steel Fabrication Techniques Currently in Use

by Patrick Duncan Marketing Manager

Stainless steel is used in a variety of structural and construction projects due to its various useful features such as being lightweight, corrosion resistant and its ductility. A range of custom stainless steel fabrication techniques are used to create various objects, tools and shapes, including the below:

Work hardening

The process involves strengthening material through deformation. The process is well suited for austenitic and martensitic stainless steels due to their lower work hardening rates. Austenitic stainless steel is well suited for work hardening through cold working. Work hardening is suited for projects that require high strength and corrosion resistance, such as machine parts, hospital equipment and nuts and bolts. Martensitic steel is work-hardened to produce popular alloys for making tools, bearings, valves and cutlery items.

Stainless steel grades with higher work hardening rates exhibit higher levels of magnetic capacity after treatment. Some high-speed forming processes may need to be slowed down to prevent deformation of the steel.

Cutting mediums for custom stainless steel fabrication

Cutting mediums employed in the modern-day custom stainless steel fabrication include laser, plasma, flame, tube laser, and water-jet. These contemporary metal cutting technologies pave the way for cutting complex shapes with a high degree of automaton. Many modern-day steel metal fabrication facilities use collaborative robots or cobots that work with humans. However, the use of cobots is still in its early stages in the fabrication industry, including sheet metal fabrication. Alumina abrasive discs can be used for cut-off operations on small metal sections, and also in straight line cutting of sheets and thin plates. Cut-off operations are normally done wet while random straight line cutting of sheets is normally done dry. However, stainless steel with a high-level of chromium cannot be cut by conventional oxy-cutting methods. As such, modified thermal cutting methods need to be employed.

Machinability techniques for sheet metal fabrication

Some sheet metal fabrication facilities use specialized steel metal fabrication techniques to improve the machinability of austenitic steel grades. These specialized processes can improve machining efficiency and also contribute to increasing their tool life. For this, a machine tool should be used that reduces vibration. Coolant should be applied to the equipment. Large tools should be used to dissipate heat while the cutting edges should be kept sharp at all times.

Tips on welding of stainless steel

The degree of efficiency achieved in stainless steel welding depends upon the grade used. Some tips on welding different steel grades are discussed below briefly:

Austenitic: This grade of steel is susceptible to inter-granular corrosion on thicker products. Low carbon content grades of austenitic steel should be used for projects that involve welding of thick materials.

Martensitic: To reduce the possibility of cracks and fractures in this grade of steel, it should be pre-heated and post-heated during a welding process.

Duplex: This stainless steel grade works well for low thermal expansion. Some grades such as 2205 have higher nickel content and are better suited for welding and also offer improved corrosion resistance, ductility and strength.

Ferritic stainless steel: Stabilized ferritic stainless steel grade, such as 409, is better suited for certain projects. The welded material should be post-heated and fillers or austenitic stainless steel should be used while welding ferritic steel to overcome the issues of low ductility and sensitization. Sensitization makes the steel or alloy prone to intergranular corrosion and stress corrosion cracking.

Here are some of the processes used in stainless steel welding:

TIG welding

Tungsten Inert Gas or TIG welding is the most common process used in steel welding. The technique makes use of argon gas to produce high quality and strong welds. The welding method creates heat by running an electric current through the tungsten electrodes. A single-sided welding process can be used to prevent oxidation and increase the sheet metal's resistance to corrosion.

MIG welding

Metal Inert Gas or MIG welding is used to combine two metal pieces by using a wire connected to the electrode current. It requires less precision but provides a decent weld. The weld provides a very strong joining between pieces of stainless steel. Helium, oxygen and carbon dioxide mixtures can be used to stabilize the arc and also improve the quality of the weld.

Resistance welding

Also known as spot welding, it offers an economical way of welding stainless steel. The method makes use of the electrical current to heat frayed metal edges and seal them together. Resistance welding is very useful in sheet metal fabrication processes with low melting points as it can be tailored to prevent distortion of the sheet metal.

If you are looking for custom stainless steel fabrication or sheet metal fabrication projects in Brisbane, approach a fabrication shop with a state-of-the-art facility that uses top-grade materials, using the latest computer-aided fabrication techniques.


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About Patrick Duncan Innovator   Marketing Manager

8 connections, 0 recommendations, 58 honor points.
Joined APSense since, May 11th, 2020, From Brisbane, Australia.

Created on Feb 4th 2021 01:06. Viewed 225 times.

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