The fabrication of stainless steel has come a long way since the first time this type of steel was alloyed years ago. Stainless steel is used in almost every industry and is a critical material, used in everything from surgical equipment to large boilers in refineries worldwide.
But how does stainless steel go from combining different metals to a finished product? What are the top tools and techniques used in the fabrication processes of stainless steel and what does machining stainless steel entail Ryan from The Green Gate Group said “The steel fabrication process can be complex and challenging work but there are skilled workers and companies that get the job done, providing high-quality stainless-steel products and services for those that need them.”
Techniques Used in Stainless Steel Fabrication
- Work Hardening
Work hardening is the process of strengthening stainless steel by deforming it purposely with benders, as well as by twisting and rolling it. Work hardening also gives stainless steel high levels of corrosion resistance, making it the perfect material for exterior and finish applications. Austenitic grades of stainless steel will be hardened this way whereas other types of stainless steel can be hardened using temperature treatments.
Machining is an umbrella term that defines all types of processes that help to shape, mold, and otherwise change stainless steel from its raw form to a finished product. This typically includes the use of cutting and shaping tools and uses lubricants to ensure that the cutting edges and drill bits can do their work effectively.
Welders use electrical current to join multiple pieces of steel together, creating new products and unleashing the potential of stainless steel. Higher carbon steels are known to be much more difficult to weld, creating welding challenges for those working with those types of steel.
- Laser Cutting
High-powered lasers are used to cut stainless steel when necessary, giving steel workers an incredible level of precision when making steel products.
- Metal Punching
A simple process in which a high-powered steel punch produces unfirm holes in stainless steel sheets.
- Metal Stamping
The stamping process of stainless steel is fascinating as it uses a die and either hydraulic or mechanical pressure to form sheets of stainless steel into high-precision parts.
Tools Used in Stainless Steel Fabrication
Whether it is an arc welder or a MIG welder, there would be no steel fabrication if it wasn’t for welders. There are several different types of welders ranging from small, transportable units to large, industrial-grade set-ups.
- Gas Torches
You need to be able to cut that steel somehow and if you don’t have a large steel stamp or a high-powered laser to do it for you, a gas torch is a way to do it. Gas torches provide a portable and powerful tool that can cut through steel quickly and effectively.
Welding and grinding go together like a hand and a glove. Grinders and grinding disks are essential tools for stainless steel workers in everything from pre-production to the finishing stages of steel production.
To properly create and fabricate stainless steel products, workers use drills of all shapes and sizes to bore holes through steel sheets and steel parts.
The crane is an invaluable aid when working with stainless steel because a lot of the work is done on large steel pieces which need to be moved with the help of a crane.