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Metal fabrication is a group of processes that manufacturers combine to deliver the product required.

Many of these processes used in steel fabrication engineering are long established, and others newer in origin.

Generically, each of the processes are being developed to offer improved, quality, throughput and yield — each in a way appropriate to the individual process.

At the high complexity end of the operating spectrum, CNC (computer numerically controlled) machines are widely used for metal cutting, and improvements here revolve around minimising operator intervention during machine set up and programming, speeding up operations — often by use of improved cutting tool technology, and carrying out multiple machining operations on a single machine — with increased numbers of cutting tools and axes of movement being adopted.

Metal folding and sheet fabrication engineering operations are also experiencing development of computer control in the metal forming and joining sectors — metal folding machines are becoming ever more flexible, again through the expansion of computer control, and clever tooling systems permit rapid changeover. This applies to all forms of sheet fabrication, including aluminium sheet fabrication and stainless steel sheet fabrication.

In the joining sector, welding continues to see developments — both in the range of materials that can be joined, and in the delivery of the welding process. Robotic welding is becoming more prevalent. On the other hand there has been little development of the range of welding processes available for many years — the staples remain as: gas, arc, MIG, TIG, spot welding and variants thereof (stud welding, seam welding etc.) — though the stability of these processes should give great confidence to users. Chinese manufacturers deploy all these processes, and have done so for many years.

Other joining processes continue to be developed — notably riveting and similar processes. Here the goals of development are ease of use and reliability. In some cases fastenings have been developed to offer dual functionality — such as providing threaded anchor points — thereby minimising the requirement for further processes and components — reducing complexity, time and cost.

As an amalgam of many specialities the metal fabrication industry in China takes advantage of the developments in each of the many specialisms they deploy. Knowledgeable selection of the correct partner(s) will ensure that any manufacturing project benefits from the appropriate developments.

Post time: 09-03-2017