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Pros and Cons of Different Metal Fabrication Tooling Techniques

Metal fabrication is essential to large industries, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and individuals. From plumbers and farmers to furniture makers and inventors, the world as we know it would not be the same without engineered metals. 

Meanwhile, the metal manufacturing process is complex, which means not all techniques will work for all projects. There are many unique pros and cons associated with rapid tooling sheet metal, including some that may impact your budget. So, here’s what you need to know. 

 

The Top 7 Tooling Techniques in Metal Fabrication 

Albeit complicated, metal tooling techniques are relatively flexible in terms of adhering to a customer’s requests. How easily changes can be implemented into a product’s design depends on several factors, though, including the original blueprints, the software and machinery used, and the skill of each machinist doing the work. 

Most CNC machine shops use a variety of different tooling techniques to complete their clients’ complex orders. These common metal manufacturing techniques provide repeatability, dependability, and accuracy across the board: 

#1. Cutting 

This is a commonly used method that involves separating metal sheets into halves, thirds, quarters, or even smaller pieces. CNC experts can machine both pre-formed workpieces and raw materials to fit a client’s exact specifications. 

 

#2. Welding 

Like cutting, welding is another commonly used metal tooling technique. However, it involves joining two workpieces instead of separating them. Machinists therefore use a range of methods and tool types to weld metals for a variety of applications. 

 

#3. Punching 

This technique consists of punching holes into a metal sheet or workpiece using a heavy-duty drill. Precise measurements must be taken for this process to work, but the end result is a secure latch or attachment that serves a specific purpose. 

 

#4. Folding 

As one of the more complicated fabrication techniques, folding involves shaping sheet metal at varying angles without damaging other machined elements or causing abrasion on the surface. It requires high-tech equipment and time, so other methods like welding are often used as alternatives. 

 

#5. Shearing 

Shearing is an efficient manufacturing method used to cut long sheets of metal. Workpieces may be fed horizontally, vertically, or with an open-edged cutter to trim down the perimeter or create new boundaries for use in larger, more complex components. 

 

#6. Stamping 

Stamping is often used to raise or lower a portion of a metal component without penetrating its surface. The process therefore creates unique shapes, letters, details, and/or images that then get used in several different industries. 

 

#7. Casting 

As one of the oldest types of metal manufacturing, casting is a technique that transforms molten metals into solid shapes using rigid pre-formed molds. This method frequently provides an alternative solution to otherwise ineffective fabrication processes. 

 

The large-scale manufacturing sector continues to innovate and develop new ways of engineering metals. So, some facilities may also perform specialty techniques such as honing, grinding, broaching, milling, spinning, and surface finishing. 

 

The Pros and Cons of Metal Manufacturing Methods 

Metal tooling techniques are often complex, multi-step processes that require experience, intuition, and training. A CNC machining facility can therefore provide the following advantages through efficient metallurgy, although some of the disadvantages cannot be mitigated even with the best experts and equipment on deck.  

Advantages 

    • Precision metal manufacturing renders customized products that suit client and industry requirements. 
    • Economical metal tooling helps shorten lead times on the production floor and during the prototyping phase. 
    • Engineers can quickly implement changes to the workpiece design with technical flexibility. 
    • Products consistently emerge with superior accuracy through CNC programmable software and computerized back gauging. 

 

Disadvantages 

    • The various techniques used can be extremely labor intensive, which may increase lead times and/or the total tooling cost of each order. 
    • Odd or unusual shapes, mixed media, and intricate components may require more than one method to complete. 
    • Some metal fabrication techniques cannot be used in certain industries because of strict production regulations. 

 

Best Metal Fabrication Services for Different Industries 

Metal engineering plays an integral role in our global economy, but it’s important to coordinate the technique with the industry it serves. Metal processing companies should understand that and have additional knowledge about ITAR, AS9100, and ISO9000 certifications. 

Repetition fabrication is a primary component of modern innovation, yet it’s still crucial to adhere to strict regulations. Provide superior safety, precision, and consistency regardless of the industry and/or ingenuity. For more information on how the latest metal fabrication techniques can be used to achieve your production goals, reach out to a KYRTON Engineered Metals expert.

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