Structural Steel Fabrication: All About Its Tools and Equipment

structural steel fabrication
structural steel fabrication

by Kyla Camille Nievera, |

Steel is perhaps one of the only few metals, which is directly connected to the industrial development of nations all over the world. It is present and needed almost everywhere. From construction businesses to the cutlery on your dining table, it has found its ways into our daily lives.

Structural steel fabrication involves several pre-determined steps. They are usually cutting, bending, and ultimately assembling the material to the final product.

Some of the systematic steps involved in the process of structural steel fabrication are:

  • Trouncing: the process called trouncing usually does Bending. It can be performed based on need either by electrical power or by manual pressure.
  • Edging, sawing, and shearing: As the name suggests, it is involved with cutting the steel to the desired shape and size based on the specifications of the finished products.
  • Crafting: It is done with the help of specialized equipment that forms the various parts to be assembled in the last step. It is usually a labor-intensive process and requires skilled machinists and other specialized workers.
  • Assembling: This is also a specialized step wherein as the name suggests, the bits and pieces of the finished product are assembled usually through the process of welding.

Some of the common tools used in structural steel fabrication are:

Hand Shearers: They are specialized cutting tools. However, the electric versions are more popular due to their added speeds. Whereas, the pneumatic versions are also still used in the industry.

Snips: These are a closest thing to a common scissor you will find here. In fact, it looks and works in almost the same way as a pair of heavy-duty scissor. They are of three types: left cutting, right cutting, and straight cutting.

Files: As the name suggests they are used to smoothen out the rough edges of the metal sheets. Several them are available in any workshop differentiated by shape, size, and strength.

Drills: They are usually of two types: electric and pneumatic. They are like the common household only much bigger and heavy duty.

Plasma and laser cutters: They have a common presence in modern day structural steel fabricators. High definition plasma cutting is performed with the help of computer-aided guidance systems, which ensures that the maximum amount of the steel is utilized and waste is minimized. Large sheets or columns of steel can be cut easily with plasma cutters.

Laser and Turret punch: They are commonly found these days in the modern structural steel fabrication companies. They are used to make the basic 2D shapes-Flat shapes, which are then transferred to press brakes to make the bends.

Tucking and Shrinking: Here the metal is forced together at a small crevice or edge. Heat shrinking structural steel involves the metal to be over stretched, then heated to be red hot usually with a blow torch. The metal can shrink as it cools down. Shrinking disks are used here along with angle girders.

Press Brakes: This is the stage where several dies are used to give the metal the desired shape and contours. The formed and shaped metal parts are then transferred to the welding section to assemble them together.

Welding: One of the most common methods of welding structural steel is the oxy-acetylene flame, which uses tanks of oxygen and acetylene to produce a controlled flame. MIG welding involves the metal being constantly fed to the joint with the help of a motor. TIG welding produces a much more precision weld thanks to the electric arc and a feeder rod, which is added to the molten metal below to produce a precision weld.
Above-mentioned are some of the common tools and equipment used in structural steel fabrication.