Metal fabrication is an extremely sought after trade in many industries.
Likewise with specific trades, metal fabrication takes time; and learning the methods of working with metal, training through college and apprenticeships are necessary.
If you are looking for a career in metal fabrication, it is important for you to learn the correct techniques to ensure you are prepared and have the appropriate knowledge for a job in the metal fabrication field.
As steel is such a versatile material, there are a wide range of stainless steel fabricating techniques.
In order to understand the benefits of the different types of stainless steel fabrication, we should take a look at the processes behind steel fabrication.
Stainless steel, although having a relatively high strength and work hardening rate, is malleable enough to be manipulated; bent, deep drawn, folded, machined, spun or welded.
The process of work hardening is strengthening the material through deformation. Relative to other varieties of steel, any stainless steel work will harden quickly, however, the rate will depend on the specific grade of the alloy.
It will be useful to match the steel grade with a work hardening treatment that is suitable. As austenitic stainless steel is often only hardened only through cold working a treatment process with thermal properties would best be applied to other grades such as those in the martensitic family.
The magnetism of stainless steel can be increased through work hardening. Steel’s magnetism does tend to be relatively slight, however, the higher work hardening rates exhibit higher levels of magnetic capacity following the treatment.
Steel fabrication is the name given to the process of bending, cutting and shaping steel alloy to create a product.
Cutting would be done by sawing, shearing, or chiselling (all with manual and powered variants); torching with hand held torches (including oxy-fuel torches or plasma torches) and through numerical control cutters, using either a laser, torch or water jet.
Bending is the process of hammering (either powered or by hand) or through press brakes and other similar tools. More recent techniques will use press brakes to either coin or air-bend a metal sheet into a desired form. CNC-controlled back-gauges will use any hard stops in order to position cut parts to then place bend lines in the appropriate position. CNC-controlled press brakes can now be programmed to be seamless and efficient through off-line programming software.
The assembly will be done by binding with adhesives, threaded fasteners, riveting, welding or more bending in the form of a crimped seam. Structural steel and sheet metal are the typical beginning materials for fabrication, along with the welding wire, flux, and fasteners that will join the cut pieces together. The end product from fabrication could be called a fabrication.
Frequent raw metals that are utilised by metal fabricators are:
– Plate metal
– Formed and expanded metal
– Tube stock
– Welding wire/welding rod
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Welding is the key focus of steel fabrication.
The parts that have been formed and machine will then be assembled and tack welded into place and then checked again for accuracy. It is possible a fixture may need to be used to locate the parts for welding if multiple weldments have been ordered.
The welder will then continue to finish the welding against the engineering drawing if the welding is has a detailed plan, or against their own judgment on the chance no details have been given.
Precautions may need to be taken to prevent any warping of the weldment due to the heat. It may call for a re-design of the weldment to use less weld, welding in a staggered fashion, using a stout fixture, covering the weldment in sand during cooling, and the straightening operations once done welding.
The straightening of steel weldments that have warped would be done with an Oxy-acetylene torch; heat would be applied to the steel in a linear sweep in a slow motion. The steel should have a net contraction, once cooled, following the direction of the sweep.
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Performing maintenance on a hydraulic system, the correct way, is by utilising the maintenance best practices.
Many businesses opt to spend a large sum of money to train their maintenance staff to troubleshoot a hydraulic system.
However, by focusing on the prevention of system failure, it would lessen the amount of time and money spent on troubleshooting a hydraulic system.
It is often that companies will accept hydraulic system failure as a thing that happens, instead of the opposite – it would be more beneficial to invest time and money in the elimination of a failure rather than the preparation for failure.
The forefront runner of component and system failure is the lack of maintenance of the hydraulic system, although a majority of maintenance staff won’t know or understand, the proper maintenance techniques of a hydraulic system.
To perform the correct maintenance on a hydraulic system, two areas require concern: the first is preventive maintenance – the key to the success of any maintenance program, in hydraulics or any equipment where reliability is needed. The second is corrective maintenance – if not performed to standard, this can cause additional hydraulic component failure.
The basic foundation to perform proper maintenance on a hydraulic system has two areas of concern. The first area is Preventive Maintenance which is key to the success of any maintenance program whether in hydraulics or any equipment which we need reliability. The second area is corrective maintenance, which in many cases can cause additional hydraulic component failure when it is not performed to standard.
This is a simple and basic form of maintenance that has the ability to eradicate a majority of hydraulic component failure, if followed in the correct way.
– Identify system operating system’s condition: does the system operate 24 hours a day? 7 days a week? Does the system operate at maximum flow and pressure 70% or better during operation? Is the system located in an unclean or humid environment?
– What requirements does the Equipment Manufacturer state for Preventive Maintenance on the hydraulic system?
– What requirements and operating parameters does the component manufacturer state concerning the hydraulic fluid ISO particulate?
– What requirements and operating parameters does the filter company state concerning their filters ability to meet this requirement?
– What equipment history is available to verify the above procedures for the hydraulic system?
Divide the necessary hydraulic skill into two groups: the hydraulic troubleshooter and the general hydraulic maintenance staff – those that provide the preventive maintenance expertise.
Hydraulic troubleshooter knowledge:
– Mechanical Principles / force, work, rate, simple machines
– Math / basic math, complex math equations
– Hydraulic Components / application and function of all hydraulic system components
– Hydraulic Schematic Symbols / understanding all symbols and their relationship to a hydraulic system
– Calculate flow, pressure, and speed
– Calculate the system filtration necessary to achieve the system’s proper ISO particulate code
Hydraulic troubleshooter skills:
– Trace a hydraulic circuit to 100% proficiency
– Set the pressure on a pressure compensated pump
– Tune the voltage on an amplifier card
– Null a servo valve
– Troubleshoot a hydraulic system and utilize “Root Cause Failure Analysis”
– Replace any system component to manufacturer’s specification
– Develop a PM Program for a hydraulic system
– Flush a hydraulic system after a major component failure
General hydraulic knowledge:
• Filters / function, application, installation techniques
• Reservoirs / function, application
• Basic hydraulic system operation
• Cleaning of hydraulic systems
• Hydraulic lubrication principles
• Proper PM techniques for hydraulics
General hydraulic skills:
– Change a hydraulic filter and other system components
– Clean a hydraulic reservoir
– Perform PM on a hydraulic system
– Change a strainer on a hydraulic pump
– Add filtered fluid to a hydraulic system
– Identify potential problems on a hydraulic system
– Change a hydraulic hose, fitting or tubing
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