How to Increase Access to Industrial Metal Fabrication Processes
Metal structures are an integral part of our everyday lives, and many sectors rely heavily on industrial metal fabrications to remain competitive. Metal fabrication is a broad category of manufacturing that refers to processes that are applied to metal materials to create an end product or a component ready for assembly into a larger product. There is a wide array of industrial metal fabrication processes with varying levels of complexity. Machine shops often perform multiple fabrication processes to create a final product. Examples of industrial metal fabrication processes include cutting, forming, machining, drilling, punching, and welding.
The Value of an Integrated Machine Shop
When it comes to outsourcing the various supply chain steps for a fabrication project, OEMs must decide whether to partner with several suppliers, or a single-source provider. Partnering with a large, integrated machining company enables OEMs to access a wide array of industrial metal fabrication processes as not all machine shops can offer project integration.
ABS, for example, is an integrated CNC machining company which means we perform multiple steps along the supply chain including machining, heavy fabrication, welding, finishing, and assembly – among others. Integrated machine shops offer significant value for OEMs such as streamlining the manufacturing timeline, improving the consistency and reliability of the final part, and minimizing the number of suppliers involved in the supply chain. All of these steps improve efficiency and reduce risk - saving OEMs time, resources, and money. Click here to learn why the capabilities of CNC machining service companies matters.
Common Industrial Metal Fabrication Processes
There are often many industrial metal fabrication processes required to transform raw materials into a heavy fabrication structure. Below are some of the most common processes. Each of these involves specific tools, equipment, and processes as well as personnel with the right skills and expertise to handle such large structures. For this reason, OEMs must choose their partner wisely – looking for a manufacturer that has the proven experience, facilities, and know-how to safely and successfully perform integrated fabrication projects.
- Cutting: most heavy fabrication projects start with a large piece of metal that needs to be cut into the desired shape. This process is one of the most flexible and versatile, enabling manufacturers to cut intricate sizes and shapes. Cutting big chunks of metal requires special tools and advanced technologies to deliver precise cuts. This step can be performed via several different methods such as laser, saw, gas, waterjet, or plasma cutting.
- Forming: most heavy fabrication projects start with a large piece of metal that needs to be cut into the desired shape. This process is one of the most flexible and versatile, enabling manufacturers to cut intricate sizes and shapes. Cutting big chunks of metal requires special tools and advanced technologies to deliver precise cuts. This step can be performed via several different methods such as laser, saw, gas, waterjet, or plasma cutting.
- Drilling and Punching: these steps create holes in the structure and are necessary to prepare the heavy fabrication for being fastened or bolted together during assembly. During punching, a tool called a punch is forced through the metal by the punch press to create a hole in the structure. Drilling utilizes a rapidly rotating drill bit to twist through the metal to create a circular hole in the structure. Stamping is a similar metal fabrication process to drilling and punching, but instead of holes the press creates an indentation on the metal surface, such as words or images for branding purposes.
- Machining: this step is often performed with a CNC machine. CNC machining is a form of subtractive manufacturing that begins with a block of raw metal, and the material is cut and carved as necessary to achieve the desired geometry. CNC machines are highly versatile and are known for their precision. Advanced equipment such as 5-axis CNC machines are able to achieve intricate and complex designs. There are several operations performed by a CNC machine including milling, lathes, and drilling. In some cases, a CNC machine may also be used to perform finishing steps to achieve the desired surface finish.
Looking for a manufacturing partner that offers a wide range of fabrication solutions?
Contact the team at ABS to learn about our advanced technologies and integrated processes.
- Welding: welding is an integral aspect of nearly every industrial metal fabrication project and enables large structures to be manufactured regardless of size or shape. Welding is performed via various methods with the some of the most common being MIG, TIG, and arc welding. This step uses a mixture of heat and pressure to adjoin two or more pieces of metal together; when the metal cools, the parts are joined together at the welded joint. To avoid failure and to ensure longevity of the heavy fabrication, it is critical that welding is performed correctly; thus, inspections are a key aspect of any robust welding program. Heavy welds require full penetration/UT welding and, in many cases, operations are performed by robotic cells. Welding tasks are an excellent option for automation due to their repetitive nature. At ABS, our advanced robotic welding cells are able to rapidly produce high-quality welds, increasing fabrication productivity and consistency as well as safety on the shop floor.
- Finishing Steps: once the structure is fabricated and welding is completed, many projects often undergo finishing steps. It should be noted that finishing steps are distinct from metal fabrication processes as they are secondary operations to treat the exterior of the structure and do not shape or create a new fabrication. Examples of finishing steps include sand blasting, painting, polishing, and coating. These steps can be customized as necessary to provide the desired aesthetic for the final product. Similar to welding and other fabrication steps, finishing services such as blasting or painting can be performed via a robotic cell.
Since every step in the metal fabrication process builds upon the next, it is cost-effective to partner with an integrated supplier, like ABS, that can increase access your access to industrial metal fabrication processes, and start and end the project with you – from the concept and design phase through fabrication, machining, finishing, and final assembly steps.
ABS’ Heavy Fabrication Capabilities
Established in 1971, ABS Machining has grown to become the recognized global leader in large machining, fabrication, and assembly for OEMs, and is one of the largest and most advanced manufacturing companies in North America. Our fleet of CNC Boring Mills, Vertical Turning Lathes, and Table Type Boring Mills are supported across six state-of-the-art facilities located across North America. Our facilities house over 50 cranes ranging in lift capacity from 5,000 pounds to 160 tons and we are proud to have 80 of the largest machine tools ever manufactured.
ABS Heavy Fabrication is a full-service facility certified to CSA47.1 (AWSD1.1) and ASME Boiler Vessel B31.1 and 31.3 standards. Our welders are certified by CWB/AWS and ASME, and are fully trained on flux-core, gas metal, submerge arc, tig and stick electrode welding techniques. Individual customer requirements are followed and enforced in conjunction with our in-house certified weld inspectors. (CWI Level 2's). Below are some of our fabrication services:
- Robotic Welding
- Flux Core Welding
- Metal Fabrication
- Mig Welding
- Full Penetration Welding
- Sub Arc Welding
- Metal Core Welding
- Laser Cutting
We offer a unique combination of medium to high volume production machining and welding services. Our team is committed to producing an un-paralleled level of quality and throughput, while also focusing on cost. We also offer secondary services such as mechanical assembly, making ABS a true single source solution for the most challenging programs of today and for the future.
Contact us today to see how we can help with your next heavy fabrication project, or give us a call at 1-844-227-6224.
CNC MACHINING · FABRICATION · ASSEMBLY
Precision Machining ↓
ABS offers a unique combination of medium to high volume production machining and welding services.
80 Large Advanced CNC Machine Tools
ABS is one of the largest and most advanced manufacturing companies in North America.
6 Plants with lifting capacity up to 160 Tons
The ABS 5-Axis machining department has been built from the ground up with our customers’ needs in mind.
Centrifugal and Turbo Machined Impellers
Fabrication & Quality Assurance ↓
Heavy Fabrication Mig, Tig, Flux Core, Sub Arc
Mig, Tig, Flux Core, Sub Arc
Inconel 625 Hotwire Tig
Inconel 625 Hotwire Tig
Quality Assurance & Control
Quality Assurance & Control