Each fabrication shop has a unique inventory of metal products. And each one uses a different cutting method to make those products. For example, stainless steel manufacturing requires specific tooling techniques to adhere to safety guidelines. Meanwhile, aluminum machining may require something different.
Serious manufacturers depend on high-quality pieces of metals and raw materials for precision tooling. But they also require innovation and flexibility. A little thought leadership can go a long way when it comes to precision CNC machining and metal fabrication. And an innate knowledge of material properties can help shorten lead times and save money.
Why Knowing Common Tooling Materials Matters
Metal fabricators need consistent quality to keep up with industry demands. Reliable information is second only to dependable material sourcing and comprehensive services. However, it can be challenging to find the best fab shops when you’re unsure of the types of metal available.
Furthermore, effective project management means juggling several options to ensure efficiency. That’s because metals can react strangely with different materials. Sometimes, those oddities are beneficial to the bottom line. Other times, they can slow down production or even compromise product quality.
A metal that makes sense for one project may not make sense for another. So, it’s crucial to work with a team of experienced CNC machinists in an advanced metal fabrication shop.
The 5 Most Common Types of Metal Used in Fab Shops
Modern fabrication facilities may or may not use a variety of raw materials. Some specialize while others take a broader approach to manufacturing. Either way, staff should be able to tell you which types of metal are best for your project. Here are five places to start in the meantime:
#1. Stainless Steel
There are over 3,500 different grades of steel. And the latest estimates put the global demand for stainless steel at nearly two billion tons per year. The United States alone consumes almost 97 million tons of it. But the fact that stainless steel prices are rising may cause concern for some manufacturers. Thus, it may not be the best option despite its favorable properties.
Aluminum is prized for its lightweight, corrosion-resistant durability. First made in the 19th century, today’s automotive and aerospace industries depend on it. This versatile material is easy to work with and inexpensive by comparison. Yet, it can oxidize and corrode when exposed to salt. So, aluminum may not satisfy some project specifications or industry regulations.
Iron is the sixth-most abundant element on Earth and is commonly used in fab shops for rapid metal manufacturing. Because of its properties when unalloyed, it can react to various tooling techniques much more efficiently than other materials. And cast iron has an exceptionally high melting point. However, those facts also mean that iron may not be the ideal material for certain projects.
Unfortunately, zinc has a relatively low melting point. But that’s what makes it ideal for casting and recycling. Zinc is also used for industrial, marine, and medical applications because it coats and protects other metals. In the meantime, it possesses a unique electrochemical potential which means it may work well in complex metal products that require excellent conductivity or rust prevention.
Titanium is one of the strongest metal alloys in the world. It’s used in high-tech applications, medicine, and renewable energy sectors because of its versatility and durability. However, titanium is also extremely difficult to machine without the right equipment. And due to its exceptionally hard attributes, it may be more expensive to tool than less robust raw materials.
Keep in mind that available tooling techniques can also dictate which materials work best for your project. Luckily, you don’t have to figure it out on your own. Today’s manufacturing industry is shifting its focus back to the United States, so CNC machining experts are ready to help.
Top-Quality Tooling Materials and Expert Guidance
This is your chance to be part of the next revolution in metal fabrication. Join forces with an innovative team that can help streamline your projects and determine the most advantageous approach.
KRYTON Engineered Metals houses a vast inventory of high-quality raw materials for metal fabrication. And we also understand how metal properties interact. Come pick our brains for better tooling outcomes.