Fabrication is the process used to manufacture steelwork components that will, when assembled and joined, form a complete frame or structure.
The frame generally uses readily available standard sections that are purchased from the steel manufacturer or steel distributor, together with such items as protective coatings and bolts from other specialist suppliers.
Although a wide range of section shapes and sizes are produced, the designer may find that the required section size is not available. In this case, built-up plate girders may be fabricated from steel fabrication Melbourne plate. Sections and plate girders may also be strengthened by stiffening the web or flanges depending upon the load to be carried.
Most modern steelwork fabrication shops have computer-aided design and detailing (CAD), which is linked directly to factory floor computer numerically controlled (CNC) machinery, creating a genuine seamless CAD/CAM environment. The accuracy of the computer-generated details being transmitted directly to the CNC machinery increases the quality standards of production.
Steel fabrication technology is continually advancing with developments occurring across various fabrication processes. Technologies such as plasma cutting and robotic machinery maximise productivity in the fabrication industry producing parts with accuracy and quality. This is reflected in the speed and accuracy of steel erection on site and results in significant benefits both to the client and main contractor.
Fabrication is an important component of the evolving innovative digital construction process that is currently underway, improving speed, accuracy and safety for the complete supply chain.
Advantages of structural steel fabrication
- Steel is highly durable, it is corrosion resistant and tensile. The strength of steel is higher than its density which makes it an excellent choice for construction.
- Structural steel usually arrives in the pre-fabrication phase and is fabricated on-site. Pre-fabrications reduce how much work needs to be done on-site, fast-tracking projects.
- Structural steel is cost-effective when compared to other metals such as copper, silver, gold, aluminum and magnesium.
- The components of structural steel are easy to install after fabrication, so with increased efficiency in the installation process, a considerable amount of money and time is saved.
- Steel metallurgical properties enable it to be fabricated into any shape and size with ease. Steel structures are fabricated by welding or bolting them together.
- Structural steel is coated with a fire resistant material which makes it highly resistant to fire. It is water resistant. It can withstand storms, and earthquakes if built properly.
- Structural steel components are built off-site, thereby reducing the chances of any accidents on site. It is resistant to molds and termites which makes it a good choice.
- Structural steel is easily recyclable and is, therefore, an environment-friendly option for metal fabricators.
- Structural steel is a practical choice for a wide range of designs from simple to complex.
- Steel provides significant cost savings, ROI for structural steel is closely associated with its strength and reliability.
Supporting fabrication processes
The core fabrication processes described above are supported by a number of additional processes used to turn the fabricated component into the final steelwork assembly supplied to the client. These processes include:
- surface preparation
- corrosion protection, typically either painting or galvanizing
- steelwork erection.
Process of Structural Steel Fabrication
It is an ingenious process that requires skills and resources to complete it. Specific procedure by the fabricator is followed to convert steel sheet to various shaped components:-
Ideation: – This stage can be creative or standardize as per the requirement of using steel components. Here the fabricator can make any structural steel products that you are looking for.
Blueprint: – Drawing is created through different software which undertakes requirements, code compliances and specifications.
Conversion of Blueprint into Shop Drawings: – To complete the processing of steel it will be converted into shop drawings that will adhere to logistics of the project including deadlines and budget. A manufacturer uses the Structural Steel Shop Drawings to complete blueprint creation.
Drill Steel Beams: – In this method, the metal is burned into the shape we look for. Here the fabricators cut the steel by shearing, sawing or chiseling with tools like laser cutters and water jets to cut and drill steel beams as per drawings. All the tools are of an advanced level that produces higher quality results and faster.
Piece Engraving: – All the steel items will be etched with part number and plate location that convert it into a final assembled part on site that is fast, easy and accurate. Steel is ductile in nature that can be bent or hammered to make it curved steel elements that are used by the architects into their design. This can be done manually or with the help of a machine.
Component Assembly: – Integral part of the steel fabrication process. It is required to attach fixtures and fittings to prepare connections for installation on site. Steel sections are assembled here to make complete structures. After cutting and forming of steel components are done, then the welding process begins to assemble it a complete structure. Once assembling of components is finished, it will be checked if it meets the specification or not.
Part Machining: – Fabricators create custom parts that are ideal when you need components to fit a structure or product used in your project. It is needed when the standards or the sizes of the components are not correct. Here the additional steel is shaved away to make it into the desired shape. Tools such as Lathes, mills, and drills are used to process it.
Complete Assembly: – In this stage, all the parts or components that were required by the client are looked at for functions or not. If there was any mistake in any of the above steps than the corrections could occur.
Shipping Preparation: – All the assembled components are efficiently packed to make the project erection at site easy.
Component Finishing: – Once the steel is completely assembled into a shape that we were looking for it is then processed for applying the coating to protect it against corrosion and fire. All the components are compiled as per federal regulation and compliances code.
Site Delivery: – Final shipment of the components is done here to the client. The project is then erected on the site for construction purposes.