As a specialist in custom metal fabrication, we pride ourselves in the services we provide clients. Our state-of-the-art equipment ensures a one-stop-shop for all your fabrication needs!
At the core of what we do, we provide high-quality custom metal fabrication services at Notefull KZN. Whether it’s pipes, specific parts for OEMs, or railings for brand new or refurbished construction, we confidently provide a wide range of precision metal fabrication that’s built to last. Our highly skilled and trained fabricators are equipped with the expertise to transform stock materials into ideal fabricated metal products that meet your needs. Our in-house capabilities allow us to provide you with shorter lead times. Outside of our in-house capabilities we also make it a point to work with trusted vendors to provide and supply quality materials.
What Is Metal Fabrication?
Metal fabrication, as you’ll learn, is the process involving the transformation of turning raw metal into a product or item that can be used in construction or even an assembly. As an alloy of iron and other metals, steel has a wide variety of different variations which are used in structural and fabrication operations. In essence, fabrication is taking metal and shaping it to your desired specification.
Notefull KZN’s custom metal fabrication services ensure to provide you with fast and cost-effective solutions for any parts that need to be made from 3D CAD files or engineering drawings to fabrication services. Notefull KZN offers a range of sheet metal materials, including aluminum, copper, steel, and stainless steel, as well as assembly services like installing PEM inserts, welding, and finishing services.
WHAT IS OUR METAL FABRICATION PROCESS?
After speaking to Bheki Zungu (one of Notefull KZN’s fabrication specialists), there are crucial steps that take place before fabrication can begin. The client will first request that Notefull come in to take measurements of the area, objects, or items they wish to have custom fabricated.
From there, our draughtsman will render a very precise to-scale drawing upon which an accurate quotation can be put together by our procurement department who will have the information on exactly which materials the team will need to fabricate according to the client’s specifications.
This step is crucial because it allows us and you the client to visualize the exact size, material, and costs that are taking place, effectively providing the client with the best pricing and knowledge of meeting all their requirements. From there once the client is happy and approves the quotation sent, the team can begin working on the project.
Procurement will then order all the necessary materials in order to ensure the project is fabricated with the highest quality. Whilst materials are being ordered, the fabrication team is briefed more thoroughly on the drawings along with the timeline. This information is then uploaded onto the progress tracking kanban board which ensures that completion of the project is smooth and delivered within the intended timeline, if not sooner. The team then begins fabrication, once that process is done it moves onto the pipefitters, then welding and rubber lining.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING METAL FABRICATION?
Depending on what object, item, or area is being fabricated, the process will vary. What completely sets us apart as Notefull KZN is that we always rise to the occasion when meeting clients’ requirements. Especially as a mechanical engineering company that specializes expertly in this field. For example, when it comes to the pipe fabrication process we analyze and attach the ideal fittings that are required, from there we cut accurately where it’s required. This is all done according to the specifications formulated by the draughtsman drawings. All the cuts will then be fitted then from there welders will tag the pipe and then begin the welding process.
The process requires a very skilled Artisan (welders, boilermakers, CNC machinists, plate/bend folders, and cutters/grinders) which is why Notefull KZN prides itself in upskilling to create the best. Skill alone isn’t enough as our experienced team takes raw components and transforms them into marketable items; in this field, there is often no room for error. Industrial facilities use steel fabrication to create everything from pipes and pipe fittings, metal windows, equipment attachments, and vehicle parts.
TYPES OF METAL FABRICATION?
There are different types of metal fabrication:
- Laser Cutting
The process of machining involves using specialized equipment to shave away parts of the metal, to make and shape it, into what is needed. The tools involved include lathes, mills, and drills.
This is used for the cutting of metal plates. This ranges from carbon (mild) steel, stainless steel, and aluminum plate, the laser cutting process is very accurate, delivering excellent cut quality, along with a very small kerf(the width of cut made by a cutting torch)and small heat affect zone. This results in being able to cut very small holes and intricate shapes.
This is a forming process that utilizes a punch press to force a tool, that’s known as a punch, through the workpiece to create a hole via shearing. Punching is used in a wide variety of materials that come in sheet form, including sheet metal, vulcanized fiber, and some forms of plastic sheet.
The continuous bending of the plate, with the function of rolling O-type, U-shaped, multi-segment R, and other different shapes of the plate.
Welding is possibly the most common form of steel fabrication. Expert welding is used to bend or combine pieces to make them one piece, which also happens to be one of our specialties.
Mandla (our head welding supervisor) best explained welding as two pieces of metal being joined together through fusion. Welding as Mandla noted is done at extremely high temperatures and it uses filler metal material. From pressure, flame, chemical flame, electricity, or even lasers to achieve the desired heat needed to join and fuse metals.
These services are done in-house. As a successful and dependable mechanical engineering firm, we are equipped with a vast range of experience and knowledge in the metal fabrication industry. We handle your project from concept to completion and regularly provide you with feedback on our progression to build and establish trust with you as our client.
4 TYPES OF WELDING PROCESS
METAL INERT GAS WELDING (MIG/GMAW)
Which is also known as Metal Inert Gas (MIG). Utilizes shielding gas along the wire electrode, this heats the two metals and joins them. This method requires a direct current to a power source, which delivers a constant high voltage. It’s the most commonly used industrial welding process. There are four important methods of metal transfer: globular, pulsed spray, short-circuiting, and spray.
GAS TUNGSTEN ARC WELDING (TIG/GTAW)
When it comes to welding together thick sections of stainless steel or even non-ferrous metals(aluminum, copper, lead, nickel, tin, titanium, and zinc) this is the most common method used. This is an arc-welding process that uses a tungsten electrode to produce the required weld. This process can be very time-consuming compared to the other three and much more complex too.
STICK WELDING (SMAW)
This follows the manual process of stick welding. This uses an electric current which forms an arc between the stick and metals, leading to them being joined. This method is often used in the construction of steel structures along with industrial fabrication to weld iron and steel.
FLUX CORED ARC WELDING (FCAW)
The Flux Cored Arc welding process involves using a continuous wire-fed electrode, a constant-voltage welding power supply. This means that the same equipment is used in metal active gas welding (MAG welding). Flux-cored arc welding occurs with or without shielding gas and is way more productive and economical than MAG welding. The flux-cored arc welding process is used in industries like construction, heavy equipment repair, structural steel erection, shipbuilding, etc.
All these different types of metal fabrication (aside from Flux Cored Arc Welding) Zungu and Mandla can confidently reassure you we are very well experienced with.
WHAT RAW MATERIALS AND EQUIPMENT ARE NEEDED FOR METAL FABRICATION?
When it comes to this whole process there are quite a few raw materials that are necessary for effective metal fabrication. At Notefull KZN we use the right high-quality materials to ensure the job gets done effectively. The varying different materials we tend to use are carbon, which is mild steel, we also do stainless steel (The two have very different processes).
It’s important to know that you shouldn’t combine the two. Fitting stainless usually requires trestles fittings. The cutting discs between stainless and carbon also vary. You can use stainless cutting discs on carbon but not the other way around as it will cause the stainless steel to rust. Knowing the exact items to keep on hand is crucial in helping speed up the fabrication process, ensuring that workers always have access to a full supply of what they need to get the job done.
Here are some materials and equipment that are necessary for many metal fabrication projects:
MILD STEEL (CARBON)
This is an exceptionally strong metal, which is often used to make various objects, items, and equipment. From pipes, automotive parts, high tension wires, carbon steel makes up about 90% of all steel production.
The corrosion-resistant alloy of iron, chromium, and, in some cases, nickel and other metals. There are over 100 grades of stainless steel in the market.
These are often necessary for creating and completing pieces.
A method of connecting pipes, valves, pumps, and other equipment to form a piping system. It also provides easy access for cleaning, inspection, or modification. It also serves to increase strength and stabilize.
Slugger drilling machines are designed to deliver fast, efficient hole drilling performance in portable applications
FORMED AND EXPANDED METAL
Expanded metal is grate-like so it is well suited for things like outdoor furniture that need to be able to let moisture flow off.
These are often used to add visual interest to the fabrication. Keeping them on hand may help speed the creation process
Fabricators use this to shape the pieces that they are working with so that they can have a better range of what they can do.
Flat metal like sheet metal and plate metal are all great for fabrication and can be added to pieces to create visual interest and texture. These are well suited for making shapes as well.
CNC Machining (Computer Numerical Control Machining) – This is the automated control of machining tools (such as drills, lathes, mills, and 3D printers) by utilizing a computer.
Computer Numerically Controlled Punching is a common sheet metal manufacturing process carried out by our in-house CNC punching press. This machine can be either a single head and tool rail (Trumpf) design or multi-tool turret design. Our CNC punching machine is essentially programmed to move a sheet of metal in an x and y direction to accurately position the sheet under the machine’s punching ram ready to punch a hole or form.
INDUSTRIAL SHEET METAL BENDING MACHINE
Our machine plays an important role in the sheet metal fabrication operations process. It’s also commonly known as flanging, press braking, die bending, edging, and folding. It’s used to deform a material to an angular shape to meet specifications.
Since fabrication requires that metal pieces be welded together, it’s critical to keep various types and thicknesses of welding wire on hand so that pieces can be joined to one another.
CUSTOM METAL FABRICATION NEAR ME
At Notefull Engineering, we believe in technological innovation and strive to be a world-class manufacturer of quality products and services in the mechanical engineering industry. Centrally located in Richards Bay, we provide full-service custom metal fabrication and laser cutting services to the entire Richards Bay and all of South Africa. Contact us today for more information.