If you simply mention Sheet Metal Fabrication to someone outside the trade, this person might as well picture a tin basher in their mind.

More information on Sheet Metal Fabrication

While tin bashers still exist and still use a hammer and an anvil, plus a welder and a grinder, fabrication has come a long way in the 21st century, thanks to technology. Today's technology uses the same basic tools. However, their operation is automated. This way, fabrication can achieve repeatable results in a fraction of the time.

It is like comparing a painter and a scanner with a printer. While the painter creates art, a scanner and a printer can effectively create multiple copies of the same element, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Tin bashing, today, mostly occurs during the prototype development phase. Before mass production can occur, it is important to refine the dimensions, the parts required, perform tests, and so on. Even 3D printing still has not managed to completely take over prototyping, because 3D printing continues to be limited by size and budget constraints.

Technology and fabrication have created a demand for a different type of skilled workers - people capable of understanding the materials, as well as computers. Engineering today has become so advanced that fully automated shops use a combination of robots and CNC machinery, which command and control lasers, plasma cutters, and water jet machines.

These companies are able to focus on their customers needs and stay competitive. In-house engineering and design capacities are two desirable characteristics. Customers like them because it allows them to save on their own overhead and reducing costs.

In fact, sheet metal is easily transformed into windows, doors, and fences for the construction industry. Support structures such as platforms, bridging platforms, scaffolds, ladders, and walkways are also made.

The manufacturing industry is also another big customer, ordering boilers and beer systems, machinery parts, and even machinery panel fascias.

Many types of metal can be used today - the most common are aluminum, mild steel, stainless steel, copper, brass, and several alloys that may or may not contain iron.

The food industry also orders cabinets, tables, sinks, canopies, kitchen countertops, and so on.

Since sheet metal fabrication can be so flexible, it is important to keep in mind that successful projects follow certain guidelines. These factors determine the usefulness, safety, and quality of the final fabricated item.

The choice of material is important. Some metals are more adequate for industrial applications, others are used in decorative functions. Different alloys will serve different purposes. Consider the strength required and the environmental conditions as well.

Industrial standards might have to be followed as well. Steel is required in larger and stronger applications, while stainless steel is used in the food and beverage sector. Aluminum can withstand light outdoor applications because it is rust and corrosion resistant - think of roofing, transportation containers, and outdoor storage structures.

Finally, keep in mind the legal requirements that need to be considered as well. A custom made truck has a maximum width, length, and loading capacity.