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What is Steel Fabrication?

August 30, 2022
Verifrom Blog "What is Steel Fabrication. Man in protective suit using steel fabrication machine. Orange lights spray out from the machine.

Steel is an alloy of iron and other metals that is used for structural and fabrication purposes. Steel fabrication specifically is the process of transforming raw steel into a tool, part, or other asset used in assembly or construction.

This is a simple and straightforward definition, but steel fabrication today is an advanced and even sophisticated process. In this blog, we provide a brief overview of the fabrication process and discuss the key methods, many of which are in use at VeriForm.

Which Steel is Used for Fabrication?

Carbon steel is one of the most commonly-used materials due to its versatility, strength, and sturdiness. It is available in a variety of thicknesses and stock sizes and can withstand harsh conditions in industrial environments.

Steel fabricators commonly use stainless steel because it is relatively easy to work with. Due to its ability to bend readily, this material is ideal for welding. Applications requiring corrosion-resistant properties typically require stainless steel.

Aluminum is popular as a metal fabrication material because it’s lightweight, which is ideal for industries that need metal but can’t handle the weight. The automobile and aerospace industries are among those that often use this lightweight material.

What is the Fabrication Process?

Steel fabrication can be performed in a variety of ways. Some of the methods employed by steel fabricators like VeriForm are highlighted below.

Bending

Bending involves applying a massive force to a steel piece, usually using hammering or press machines, in order to change the shape. During the bending process, the steel piece is bent using press brakes or tube benders. 

Rolling

Rolling is a metal fabrication process where metal stock is passed through one or more pairs of rolls in order to reduce the thickness, to make the thickness uniform, or to deliver a mechanical property.

Welding

In welding, pieces of steel or other materials are welded together or bent using the fusion process, which involves heating steel parts to a high temperature, joining or bending them while they’re pliable, and letting them cool. VeriForm uses advanced welding methods such as:

Machining

This method uses tools such as drills, lathes, mills, and others to shave away metal to form a specific shape. Veriform uses the following machining methods to fabricate steel components:

  • CNC Countersinking: By countersinking, you create a conical hole in your part that matches the angle and head size of a screw.
  • CNC Drilling: Using a rotating cutting tool, CNC drilling produces round holes in stationary workpieces
  • CNC Laser Cutting: A CNC laser cutter uses a laser beam to vaporize, melt, or otherwise gradually remove materials. We offer laser cutting services up to 3/4” x 80” x 160” with an accuracy of +/- 0.005”.
  • CNC Tapping: With tapping, a thread is cut inside a hole, which must be drilled with tap drills and chamfered at the end.

What Industries Require Steel Fabrication Services?

Steel fabrication services are needed across a wide range of industries, illustrating how versatile and reliable steel has become. These industries include commercial and residential construction, aerospace, the military, mining, automotive, and shipbuilding. 

VeriForm Inc.: Steel Fabricators You Can Trust

As experienced steel fabricators, VeriForm offers a wide range of steel fabrication services that can be customized according to client requirements. We maintain strict quality control throughout the whole fabrication process to meet and even exceed customer expectations, which is why so many of them have been trusting us with their steel fabrication needs for over 20 years.  To learn more, please visit our website, call 519-653-6000 or contact us online. 

What is Roll Forming?

August 15, 2022
Veriform blog image "What is Roll Forming" picture of metal roll forming machine. Rows of massive metal rollers lined up in a row.

Roll forming is a metalworking process that uses rollers to incrementally bend a strip of metal. In a roll forming machine, the rollers are mounted on consecutive stands. Each one completes a small step in the process, to create products like:

  • Cylinders and cylinder segments
  • Metal piping, stacks, and ductwork
  • Both concentric and eccentric cones

As a process, roll forming has been greatly impacted by technological advancements. Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines can be programmed to control and direct the entire process, from sequence of operations to part dimensions. The overall measurements can be continuously adjusted, allowing for non-symmetrical shapes and changes in sheet thickness. 

What is the Roll Forming Process?

While the actual process can vary from one metal fabricator to the next, the basic steps for producing roll formed steel are the same.

Roll forming starts with a large coil of sheet metal. After being uncoiled, the metal is loaded into an uncoiler and fed through a flattener to eliminate any distortion before being trimmed to allow smooth feeding into the pre-press.

Typically, a roll forming machine consists of 10 to 24 roller die stands. Metal ribbons are forced through rollers that gradually shape them to the right dimensions. During motion, parts are cut to length, which increases efficiency and speed. Cut pieces are discharged to a run-out table for shipment or further processing.

In some cases, secondary processes accompany roll forming. Many of them can be completed as soon as the part leaves the cutoff. They include:

  • Notching
  • Punching
  • Straightening
  • Adding components
  • Minor assembly

What is Roll Forming Used For?

With its high quality, exacting tolerances, rapid production, dimensional accuracy, and lower cost, roll forming has become the preferred method of manufacturing metal products. Roll formed steel is often used in:

  • Aircraft and automotive components
  • Construction materials
  • Hardware for windows and doors
  • Metal and steel fencing
  • Metal roofing
  • House siding and rain gutters
  • Metal furniture components

Advantages of Roll Forming

Below are a few of the advantages of roll forming.

  • Efficiency:  The self-feeding roll forming machine requires little human monitoring, which lowers labour costs. Adding punches and notches during pre-feeding avoids secondary operations.
  • Cost-Effective: The smooth finish of completed parts eliminates the need for secondary processes such as deburring or trimming. By producing large quantities of parts, the final product is less expensive.
  • Improved Quality: Over the course of a complete run, products are more uniform and consistent. Dimensions are extremely precise with tight tolerances. Die marks and deformities are absent, maintaining sharp, clean contours.
  • Flexible Performance: Both ferrous and non-ferrous metals can be used to produce complex cross-sections. Metal that has been painted, plated, or coated cannot be shaped in some other processes.
  • Less Scrap: It produces only one to three percent scrap per production run, which is far less than other metalworking processes.

VeriForm Inc.: Experts in Roll Formed Steel

At VeriForm, we have over 20 years of experience in producing rolled metal products. We roll sheet metal and structural metal using our Italian metal rolling machine, which is operated by highly trained professionals who know how to achieve superior results.  With 10 foot-wide rolling capabilities, there is no request we can’t handle. To learn more about how VeriForm can meet your parts manufacturing needs, please visit our website, call 519-653-6000 or contact us online. 

Reasons Why You Should Consider Powder Coating

July 29, 2022

Powder coating is a dry coating process that creates a high-quality finish for various metal industrial equipment and products. Applied as a dry powder through an electrostatic process and then cured with heat. It delivers a high-quality finish that can improve the look and functionality of your metal projects. However, it’s not as simple as it seems. In more depth, let’s go over what it is used for, how this process is done, and why you might want to choose powder coating over paint.

What is Powder Coating Used For?

Powder coating is primarily used to coat different metals, such as those found in household appliances, automobiles, street signs, and other particular metal parts. The result is a smooth, and appealing hard finish that is more durable than traditional paint. Metal fabricators have been using powder coating since the 1940s to make steel parts resistant to heat and cold damage as well as corrosion. Have you ever noticed a steel bench or old balustrade that still looks quite new despite years of use? It’s almost certainly been powder coated.

The Process of Powder Coating

Now the real question, how is it done? This process involves the application of electrostatically charged particles onto the workpiece surface. With most systems, a feeder unit sends the coating to an electrostatic gun, which then emits it as a diffused cloud. The particles, charged by a low-amperage power unit, seek out and adhere to the surface of the metal object. Once the coating has been applied, the workpiece is cured in a specially designed oven. The end result, a strong and durable protective layer.

Generally, powder coatings are cured at about 400 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. These parameters may very depending on the type of coating. It is important to note that thorough surface preparation is essential to successful results. This includes removing grease, dirt, and other materials to support coating adhesion. Pretreatments with chemical compounds can also enhance the coating’s durability and corrosion resistance.

The Advantages & Disadvantages

Painting is a traditional method that has several limitations, such as dripping and difficulty controlling thickness. Powder coating is a more advanced technique that delivers a higher-quality appearance while improving the durability. It’s one of the more environmentally friendly options compared to other finishes. Essentially, it’s more resistant to chipping, scratches and fading. It is also less expensive in the long run than alternatives like plating and conventional painting because it uses less equipment, takes less time to apply, and consumers fewer raw materials. However, there are some disadvantages to consider such as:

  • It tends to break down under UV ray exposure
  • It’s difficult to mend when damaged
  • There is less control in terms of speed and amount
  • Colour change difficulties
  • It requires a baking process

Contact VeriForm Inc. For More Information

At VeriForm, we are your one-stop shop for metal fabrication. By using cutting-edge technology and our team’s expertise, we can provide a wide variety of capabilities and services including bending, rolling, welding and more. Plus we have our in-house engineers that can help you optimize your plans and designs. To learn more about our services, please give us a call at 519-653-6000 or contact us through our site if you want the job done right, the first time!

Carbon Steel — What Is It & What It's Used For

July 14, 2022
Carbon steel pillars stacked on top of each other.

Steel is an iron-carbon alloy that’s durable, strong and often corrosion-resistant. There are currently over 3500 different steel grades, all of them broadly categorized into a handful of types. One of them being carbon steel. It is used regularly for multiple metal fabricating operations. If you’re interested in finding out what it is, why it’s used and what it’s used for, continue reading. This article will discuss the use, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of using this type of steel.

What Is Carbon Steel & How Is It Used?

Consisting of only iron, carbon and trace amounts of other alloy elements, this metal is the purest form of steel that has a dull, matte appearance. Unlike stainless steel, this type is susceptible to rust, but it’s often less expensive and has different properties based on its carbon content.

Low Carbon

Low carbon content steel has about 0.30% carbon content, which allows it to be more malleable under pressure. It is widely used for panelling and fabrication because heat treatments don’t affect it. Its flat-rolled strips and sheets are a staple of the automotive and shipbuilding industry, although low carbon steel is also used in household appliances and certain types of wire.

Medium Carbon

The carbon content in this metal is around 0.60%, which reduces its flexibility but increases its strength. Easy to machine, it appears frequently in bridges and buildings, making it a building industry mainstay. It is also used in railway components like axles, shafts, gears and tracks, as well we household appliances like washing machines and fridges.

High Carbon

Steel with 1.50 to 2% carbon is the strongest. It is used to make blades, cutting tools, dies, punches, springs and wires because of its superior tensile strength. Steel with the highest carbon levels, which is also referred to as cast iron, appears in extremely hard components like large machine parts, cutting tools, and industrial castings.

The Advantages & Disadvantages Of Carbon Steel

This type of steel has several advantages including increased strength and durability that makes it less likely to break under pressure compared to other steel. This makes the steel particularly suitable for applications requiring strength. Examples of this include several centuries ago, Japanese blacksmiths produced swords using high-carbon steel called tamahagane steel. Today, metal fabricators use it in steel parts, automotive components, tools, construction materials and much more.

There are, however, some disadvantages to choosing this type of steel over traditional steel. Since carbon steel is so strong, it doesn’t bend or mold into different shapes easily, limiting its applications. Additionally, it is also more prone to rust and corrosion compared to other types of steel. It would not be a suitable metal for products that will be continuously exposed to external conditions that cause these reactions.

Want to Learn More About Different Types of Steel? Contact VeriForm

VeriForm Inc. is a net-zero metal fabrication company that’s known as the greenest fabricating company in North America! At VeriForm, many skilled industry professionals, and engineers are available to discuss your next metal fabrication project. If you’re struggling to determine which type of metal is suitable for your project, please don’t hesitate to contact us. VeriForm offers a multitude of services including parts fabrication, metal bending, rolling and much more. Want your metal fabrication done right? Contact VeriForm today!

Plasma Cutting — Advantages & Disadvantages

June 29, 2022
Plasma Cutting: Advantages & Disadvantages

When it comes to cutting the metal into specific shapes and sizes, there are many methods and processes to use. Back in the day, people struggled with cutting metal but nowadays, different metal cutting methods and tools are widely available. Choosing the right one to use for your metal fabrication process is the real question. It widely depends on the shape, size, and types of metal you’ll be using for your metal fabrication project. One of the most efficient ways to cut metal is using plasma. Today, we’ll discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of plasma cutting so you can decide whether it’s the right process for you.

Common Metal Cutting Processes

Before you place your bets on plasma cutting, let’s take a look at other common metal cutting processes.

Turning:

This method involves spinning the sharp point of a cutting tool against a metal surface until its top layer is removed based on discretion.

Welding:

As for welding, the metal surface comes in contact with a high heat source that raises its temperature and weakens the metal until it breaks along a predetermined line or point.

Drilling:

This metal fabrication process works just like a drill and a screw. It uses rotation while applying pressure to bore into the metal. It is the best for cutting holes into metal.

Laser Cutting:

An efficient method that uses a concentrated beam of light and heat directed at a single point to cut into metal with precision and accuracy.

What Is Plasma Cutting & How Does It Work?

Now that we’ve established other common cutting methods, we can move on to plasma cutting. Plasma cutting can be described as the use of ionized gas to melt and remove material from the cut. However, it’s not as simple as that. So, how does it work? Plasma cutters function by sending a pressurized gas, like nitrogen, oxygen and argon through a small nozzle. The temperature of this gas is at least 20,000°C. In the center of this contraption, there is a negatively charged electrode. When power is applied and the channel touches the metal, that connection creates a circuit. A powerful spark is generated and that’s how it cuts metal.

The Advantages of Plasma Cutting

  • Versatility – Plasma cutting can be used to cut a variety of conductive material including steel, copper and iron. It can also cut different materials that have been stacked on top of one another which is a function that isn’t available for some of the other cutting methods.
  • Efficiency – If you compare the cutting speed of a plasma cutter to other cutting tools, the plasma cutter will definitely win. A plasma cutter is about 1/4 faster than any other cutting tool.
  • Cost Efficient – Since plasma can cut a lot faster without wasting as much material, that means the fabricator can get the job done quicker. This means more productivity along with less chances of injury bringing the cost for the end user down.
  • Safety – The gas used in plasma cutting is non-explosive or flammable making it the safer option compared to some of the other cutting processes.

The Disadvantages of Plasma Cutting

  • Limited – The cuts are more shallow because the depth is limited. That means it won’t cut thick or dense material as easily.
  • Fumes – This process does tend to generate excessive fumes. However, in a well-ventilated workshop, this shouldn’t be an issue for the fabricators.
  • Light exposure – When a plasma cutter is in action, it creates bright flashes which can affect the eyes unless you have the proper safety wear and guidance.

Plasma Cutting Services — Call VeriForm

Although plasma cutting does have its downside, the benefits definitely out weigh them. However, even though that’s the case, it does depend on the material you intend to work with. Your best bet is to contact a professional metal fabrication expert like VeriForm. VeriForm has many years of expertise when it comes to a variety of fabrication processes. Not only are they efficient, they get the job done right the first time. If you need professional consultation about your next metal fabrication project, contact VeriForm today.

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