Sheet Metal Fabrication Process: Why Precision Matters?

Blog | January 29th, 2019

Not to sound like a broken record, fabrication precision really does matter, especially in sheet metal forming. Sure, the dimensions of a pair of steel fabricated sheets must match a design blueprint so that a product of some kind assembles properly. However, what about bends and curves? If those dimension-altering profiles aren’t added correctly, a structure might still assemble, connectors and fasteners match, but now there are stressors affecting the product.

Striving For Structure Balance

So, what’s happening when a bend isn’t applied correctly? Worker errors or machine damage has put too much bend on the curving component, and the small diameter turn is about to cause problems for the assembly team. Openings don’t line up, weld points are staggered, and the sheet metal parts aren’t coming together as the blueprint indicates. Applying force, the panels fall into place, but now there’s stress on the framework. Over time, that stress will make its presence known, perhaps as a spreading crack. The greater the stress, the faster the cracks propagate. If the fabrication process is creating misaligning sheet parts, the problem must be addressed. There’s no way the assembly team will worsen matters by forcing the steel panels into a configuration that’ll generate mechanical stress.

Assessing the Cumulative Effects

It’s a mathematical certainty, the fact that errors multiply. If a tiny dimensional error is added to one steel sheet, the fabrication process will add that error to every sheet. Machines, after all, are dumb. If an error has entered the fabrication line, it’ll stay until it’s discovered. As sophisticated as a shop machine is, it can be tripped up by a simple misalignment error. Now, imagine a hundred identical steel panels, with each one containing that same dimensional error. If the assembling frame multiplies a fraction of a millimetre flaw by a hundred, all of a sudden the end error is adding centimetres of cumulative material to the project. What’s the message here, the meat of this article? Simply this, steel sheet fabricators always look at the big picture. They know the smallest, most seemingly insignificant dimensional error can cause big problems.

Accuracy-based fabrication is a term that’s thrown around often in the sheet metal forming industry. But there’s a good reason for the constant service underlining. Put simply, accurate fabrication services construct reliable sheet-metal constructs. To do so, they use CNC (Computer Numerical Machines), incredibly stringent engineering tolerances, and micrometre-precise measurement scales. Equipped with the tools and standards, sheet metal fabrication processes output stress-free, virtually identical end-line products and frameworks, all of which will perfectly suit their applications and last for many years.

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