Fabrication is the process used to manufacture steelwork components that will, when assembled and joined, form a complete frame. The frame generally uses readily available standard sections that are purchased from the steelmaker or steel stockholder, together with such items as protective coatings and bolts from other specialist suppliers.

Steel structures are often taken for granted. After all, they are made of reliably strong steel and are a common industrial building block. But if you stop and think about it, that reliability has more do with the integrity of the fabricator than that of the steel. It truly is more about the integrity of the engineered design loads, and the integrity of the welded joints, and the integrity of the weld inspection, and even more so the integrity of the company that backs them all up. All these have more to do with the integrity of the structural weldment than does the integral strength of the steel.


Cold-formed sections

Lightweight cold formed steel products are vital components for the majority of steel construction projects. Whether it is purlins, side rails, walling, channels systems or floor decking systems, these products are ideally suited for most commercial and industrial applications, while a number of them have been specifically designed for refurbishment applications.

Fabrication processes

Advances in quality and productivity in the steel construction sector are largely due to developments in fabricating machinery. The manufacturers of steelwork fabrication equipment have invested heavily in research and development to produce the technological advances required by today's steel construction sector. Thanks to this continuous improvement, sate-of-the-art CNC machinery has been made available from international manufacturers that have helped the UK's steel construction sector improve productivity to become the envy of the world.

Drilling and punching

To allow sections to be rapidly bolted together on site, all holes are pre drilled or punched in the fabrication factory. For drilling, high speed steel twist bits are used. The rotating bit cuts through the steel and the metal being removed during the process forms swarf (the curls of metal that spiral off during machining). The swarf travels up the flutes (the helical grooves), which run up the side of the bit.

Punching can be used where the thickness of the metal is less than the diameter of the hole or in the case of a non-circular hole its minimum dimension (Note that the 15mm thickness limit for punching mentioned in the video clip below no longer applies). In the punching process a cutting punch is forced under pressure through the steel into a die below, so producing a clean, accurately sized, hole. Where fatigue is an issue the holes are punched 2mm undersized and reamed to the correct diameter.

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