Utilizing a comprehensive cold working process, manufacturers are able to form thin sheets of metal into a variety of components. This process, known as sheet metal fabrication, is highly versatile and includes steps, such as splicing, shearing, and riveting. Sheet metal is generally no more than 6 mm thick, and is available in many types. Choosing the appropriate sheet metal material for the desired application makes it possible to enhance certain component properties, such as:
- Corrosion resistance
Types of Sheet Metal
There are six major types of sheet metal material, each with its own unique advantages:
- Alloy steel
- Stainless steel
- Carbon steel
- Tool steel
- Galvanized steel
As the name suggests, alloy steel combines multiple elements to enable a customizable set of properties. The main component of this material is carbon steel. Common additions include tungsten, chromium, and manganese, for rigidity, or vanadium and nickel, for strength. In addition to its versatility, alloy steel is also highly affordable.
This type of sheet metal is ideal for products that will be exposed to frequent moisture. It contains chromium, an element that significantly reduces corrosion caused by harsh or damp environments. Components made from stainless steel sheet metal fabrication can increase the lifespan of a product or structure, from kitchen sinks to office buildings.
Iron is alloyed with carbon in this sheet metal material, providing an option with high amounts of strength. Depending on the desired application, a manufacturer can choose from steel with low, medium, or high levels of carbon content.
Low amounts of carbon result in a highly versatile material, most commonly found in everyday objects like fences and gates. Medium carbon steel is a popular choice for automotive vehicles and appliances. Higher levels of carbon result in a slightly more fragile product, ideal for delicate items, such as wires.
Carbon steel is available in six different grades:
- A36 sheet metal
- A572-50 sheet metal
- A516-70 sheet metal
- AR400 sheet metal
- A588 sheet metal
- A1011 sheet metal
Immensely versatile, tool steel is a rigid alloy containing about one percent carbon. As with alloy steel, the elements contained within tool steel vary in type and ratio depending on the desired application. Tool steel is resistant to abrasion, and functions well in extreme temperatures. Its properties make this type of sheet metal ideal for the construction of tools, such as punches, dies, blades, and hammers.
Galvanized steel is available in two varieties: electro-galvanized sheets and hot-dipped metallic-coated sheets. The former is composed of cold rolled annealed steel. It has a pure zinc coating with no zinc spangle. The latter is composed of cold rolled hard steel plates coated with a mixture of pure zinc and an iron-zinc alloy. This type of galvanized steel offers more corrosion resistance, and is slightly more affordable than electro-galvanized sheets.
For applications that require a more lightweight material, aluminum is an excellent option. This type of sheet metal offers significant corrosion resistance even without a finish. Aluminum is also strong, and can undergo laser cutting, welding, and machining.
Precision Sheet Metal Fabrication From T/J Fabricators
Since our establishment in 1967, we at T/J Fabricators have been a leading supplier of fabrication services across a wide range of industries. We offer the following precision sheet metal fabrication capabilities:
Regardless of project complexity, our knowledgeable team of experts will work closely with you to create high-quality components fabricated to your unique specifications. Contact us or request your quote today to work with us on your next project.