Sheet Metal Manufacturing: It’s All About The Process

More than capable.

What is Sheet Metal Processing?

Sheet metal processing refers to the manufacturing process of transforming sheet metal into functional components for other applications. Sheet metal typically refers to sheets of metal materials, including copper, zinc, aluminum, and stainless steel.

These metals come in various thicknesses that determine how malleable the materials are. Thinner sheet metal materials (0.006 inches) are the most flexible and easy to shape, while thicker sheet metal (up to 0.25 inches) is difficult to form and is used to create parts for heavy-duty equipment.

This guide will explain these processes step by step to help you better understand how sheet metal gets turned into different working parts. The steps for sheet metal processing or fabrication typically remain the same no matter where you go:
Punching/CNC
Press Brake
Welding
Machining
Paint and assembly

Many industries like aerospace and robotics depend on sheet metal processing to create reliable parts they need day-to-day. Different businesses rely on materials made from sheet metal to create products we all use on a regular basis. Read on to learn more about the steps that go into turning the sheet metal into parts that keep everything moving.

Punching / CNC

The first step in the sheet metal manufacturing process is to punch out any interior holes, forms, and extrusions, as well as to cut the flat part out of the sheet. Precision at this stage is especially relevant because it ensures the quality of the finished product.

Learn more about our metal laser cutting services.

Press Brake

After a sheet metal part is punched or laser cut it often then moves to the Press Brake Department to be formed and bent. PMF is fully stocked in this department as well, currently fielding 8 machines. Our wide array of brakes range from a small 17 ton Diacro for light duty work all the way up to a 125 ton Amada for large jobs.

In 2013 we added 3 new Amada HDS press brakes to our facility. Along with Amada programming software, these machines allow us to pre-program our bending operations through our engineering department, similar to our process for CNC punching and laser cutting. Doing this cuts our overall setup time by 70% and allows us to perfect and test the bending process in a CAD environment prior to a job even hitting the floor.

More important than the equipment in the press brake department, however, is the experience behind it. Precision Machine Fabrication is fortunate to employ some of the best operators in the business. Several of our top employees have been with us for over 15 years. While other processes have become more automated over time, running a press brake remains, largely, a skill. You can rest assured that no one is more skilled at sheet metal processing than the operators at PMF.

Welding

During the process of sheet metal manufacturing, if a sheet metal part requires welding, PMF is more than capable of filling that need. We are equipped with 2 spot welding stations and we also employ traditional welders who are experienced in both MIG and TIG welding practices. In addition, in an effort to lessen the cost associated with welding large quantity orders, we utilize a robotic welder, capable of precision welding long runs.

Learn more about our MIG Welding Services.

 

CNC Machining

While Precision Machine Fabrication has built its reputation fabricating sheet metal parts , we have also expanded our focus to include CNC machining. Our machine shop has always included two manual milling machines and lathes, but years ago we added a Haas CNC mill to enhance our production capabilities.

The Haas VF-2SS high speed vertical machining center allows 3 axis automated milling of aluminum, stainless, and plastic. Sometimes customers’ assemblies require a combination of both fabricated and machined parts. Therefore, having the capability to provide both services in-house is a valuable resource to our customers.

Learn more about our CNC Machining Service.

Paint & Assembly

Since cosmetic parts often require finishing before final delivery to the customer, here at PMF we have our own in-house paint facility. We use a powder coat method of painting in which we spray statically-charged powder onto metal , then bake it in large ovens until cured. Powder paint is sold in almost any color and texture and the dry paint method is much cleaner than wet paint, eliminating problems like runs and drips.

Often our parts are shipped to the customer to be assembled into the final product. However, if a customer desires a more complete product when it arrives on their floor, we have the capability to perform electro-mechanical assembly at any level- from basic to complex. And part of the final part of the sheet metal process, we can perform product testing to ensure that the final assembly is working properly before it leaves our facility.

Learn more about our Painting & Assembly Service.

919-231-8648

Give us a call to discuss your custom sheet metal fabrication needs today!

 

We pride ourselves in being able to handle any job, deliver on time, and guarantee the highest level of quality. From prototype to production, Precision Machine Fabrication are your go-to custom metal fabrication experts. Contact us today to get started on your next project!

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