Steel fabrication is an integral part of most civil and construction projects. It is estimated that the steel industry in Australia is worth $29 billion and supports around 110,000 jobs. However, despite its size and importance, most people are unaware of how steel products are made.

So we thought it would be helpful to cover the basic facts you need to know about steel fabrication. This blog is designed to help people who may not have ordered a steel fabricated product before better understand the processes involved and explain exactly what you need to know about steel fabrication.

What is structural steel fabrication?

Structural steel fabrication is the process of taking the raw components of steel and transforming them into a finished product. It takes years of skill to learn how to fabricate steel to achieve satisfactory results.

Some people may confuse steel fabrication with welding, but steel fabrication itself is much more than welding. The process involves cutting, shaping and bending the steel to achieve the desired shape before final assembly (which may involve welding) can begin.

Products made from fabricated steel include:

  • Staircases
  • Escalators
  • Furniture
  • Building structures
  • Storage tanks
  • Aircraft subassemblies
  • Vehicles
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Cookware
  • Furniture

The steel fabrication process

The steel fabrication process involves several stages each of which requires specialist knowledge, skills and equipment. Because steel fabricated products are often used to support other structures care needs to be taken to ensure consistent quality.

This is achieved by following a specific fabrication process that involves the following key stages:

Design

The design stage is usually carried out by a structural engineer, industrial product designer or architect. Depending on the complexity of the final product the designer may work closely with the steel fabricator or simply provide the blueprints for us to follow.

Cut and drill

Once we receive the blueprints, they will be converted into shop drawings which we use to establish timeframes and budgets for the project. With the shop drawings complete we can start to cut and drill the steel required for the product.

Etching

As the individual steel pieces are cut they are etched with a part number corresponding to the blueprints. This allows each piece to be individually identified and makes it much easier for the manufacturing or assembly team to assemble the product on site.

Custom metal fabrication

Some projects may require custom components to be created, these are either machined, forged or bent into shape. The method used will depend on the shape of the component and the stress it has to withstand.

Component assembly

With the steel cut and drilled and any custom fabrications completed, it’s time to assemble the final product. This ensures everything has been manufactured correctly. If all goes to plan the final product should come together easily without any problems.

Installation

The final stage is delivery and installation on site. This can be a construction site, factory or shipyard. So long as the previous stages have been completed satisfactorily, the final installation should not present any major problems.

Need help? Get in touch

As you can see, steel fabrication is a complex operation, with any mistake made during the process costly to rectify. That’s why you should partner with a steel fabricator with the right mix of skills and experience to ensure your project is completed on time and within budget.

The Arc Attack Fabrication team includes tradesmen with experience across a wide range of industries including mining, bridgework, energy and marine. So no matter what fabrication you need for your project. We have the skills and experience to bring it to life.

Get in touch by completing the contact form here or give us a call on 02 6654 2188.