Fabrication, when used as an industrial
term, applies to
the building of machines , structures, process equipment for
chemical, fertilizer sector by cutting, shaping and assembling components
made from raw materials. Small businesses that specialize in metal are
called fab shops.
Steel fabrication shops and machine shops have overlapping
capabilities, but fabrication shops generally concentrate on the metal
preparation, welding and assembly aspect while the machine shop is more
concerned with the machining of parts.
Metal fabrication is a value added process that involves the
construction of machines and structures from various raw materials. A fab
shop will bid on a job, usually based on the engineering drawings, and if
awarded the contract will build the product.
Fabrication shops are employed by contractors, OEM's and VAR's. Typical
projects include; loose parts, structural frames for buildings and heavy
equipment, and hand railings and stairs for buildings.
Once awarded the bid, the shop will begin planning the job. Purchasing
agents will order materials and sub-contract out work to other shops if
specialized fabrication equipment is needed.
The fabricator may employ or contract out steel detailers to prepare shop
drawings, if not provided by the customer, which the fabricating shop will
use for manufacturing. Manufacturing engineers will program CNC machines
Standard raw materials used by metal fabricators are;
formed and expanded metal
tube stock, CDSM
sectional metals (I beams, W beams, C-channel...)
Cutting and burning
The raw material has to be cut to size. This is done with a variety of
Special band saws designed for cutting metal have hardened blades and a
feed mechanism for even cutting. Abrasive cut-off saws, also known as chop
saws, are similar to miter saws but with a steel cutting abrasive disk.
Cutting torches can cut very large sections of steel with little effort.
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|Aalba Dent Inc
400 Watt Dr, Fairfield, CA 707 864-3335
A C Fence
615 Florida St, Vallejo, CA 707 738-4769
B & R Metal Specialties
50 StoneCreek Dr, American Canyon, CA 707 252-6323
Copper Iron Designs
849 Jackson St, Napa, CA 94559 707 252-1949
C C & M
1388 Copperhill Pkwy # B, Santa Rosa, CA 707 577-8283
427 Corona Rd, Petaluma, CA 707 763-3104
1175 El Centro Ave, Napa, CA 707 944-9393
Fun With Fusion
849 Jackson St, Napa, CA 707 252-6637
44 Commerce Pl, Vacaville, CA 707 446-0898
John Ostrat Co Inc
2361 Morrison Ln, Suisun City, CA 707 864-5600
JR Schneider Co Inc
849 Jackson St, Benicia, CA 707 745-0404
Lux Metals Inc
90 Ridgeway Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 707 546-1821
849 Jackson St, Napa, CA 94559 707 252-6637
16200 Watson Rd, Guerneville, CA 707 869-3745
Napa Valley Metal Designs
870 Sanitarium Rd, Deer Park, CA 707 963-8806
Rolf By Design
29211 Arnold Dr, Sonoma, CA 707 939-8168
133 Copeland St # A, Petaluma, CA 707 789-9130
347 Cascade Dr, Fairfax, CA 415-454-5734
Steel Geisha Designs
19480 8th St E, Sonoma, CA 707 935-6210
Steinke Machinery Works
9100 Green Valley Rd, Sebastopol, CA 707 829-5741
Turner & Turner Metal Works
21 Pamaron Way # H, Novato, CA 415-883-8059
110 Kristina Ct, Vallejo, CA 707 649-2653
146 Almonte Blvd, Mill Valley, CA 415-381-2246
1412 Sheridan Dr, Napa, CA 707 259-1822
tables are CNC cutting torches, usually natural gas powered. Plasma
and Laser burn tables are also common. Plate steel is loaded on a
table and the parts are cut out as programmed. The support table is
made of a grid of bars that can be replaced. Some very expensive burn
tables also include CNC punch capability, with a carousel of different
punches and taps.
Hydraulic brakes with v-dies are the most common method of forming
metal. The cut plate is placed in the press and a v-shaped die is
pressed a predetermined distance to bend the plate to the desired
angle. Wing brakes and hand powered brakes are sometimes used.
Tube bending machines have specially shaped dies and mandrels to bend
tubular sections without kinking them.
Rolling machines are used to form plate steel into a round section.
Main article: machining
Fab shops will generally have a limited machining capability
including; metal lathes, mills, magnetic based drills along with other
portable metal working tools.
Welding is the main focus of steel fabrication. The formed and
machined parts will be assembled and tack welded into place then
re-checked for accuracy. A fixture may be used to locate parts for
welding if multiple weldments have been ordered.
The welder then completes welding per the engineering drawings, if
welding is detailed, or per his own judgment if no welding details are
Special precautions may be needed to prevent warping of the weldment
due to heat. These may include; welding in a staggered fashion, using
a stout fixture, covering the weldment in sand during cooling, and
Straightening of warped steel weldments is done with an Oxy-acetylene
torch and is somewhat of an art. Heat is selectively applied to the
steel in a slow, linear sweep. The steel will have a net contraction,
upon cooling, in the direction of the sweep. A highly skilled welder
can remove significant warpage using this technique.
Steel weldments are occasionally annealed in a low temperature oven to
relieve residual stresses.
After the weldment has cooled it is gener
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