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Steelwork Fabrication / Structural

A steel I-beam, in this case used to support timber joists in a house.

Metal fabrication is the building of metal structures by cutting, bending, and assembling processes.

Metal fabrication jobs usually start with shop drawings including precise measurements, then move to the fabrication stage and finally to the installation of the final project. Fabrication shops are employed by contractors, OEMs and VARs. Typical projects include loose parts, structural frames for buildings and heavy equipment, and stairs and hand railings for buildings.

Processes

  • Cutting is done by sawing, shearing, or chiseling etc...
  • Bending is done by hammering (manual or powered) or via press brakes, tube benders and similar tools.
  • Assembling (joining of the pieces) is done by welding, binding with adhesives, riveting, threaded fasteners, or even yet more bending in the form of a crimped seam.

Fabrication comprises or overlaps with various metalworking specialities:

  • Fabrication shops and machine shops have overlapping capabilities, but fabrication shops generally concentrate on metal preparation and assembly as described above.
  • Blacksmithing has always involved fabrication, although it was not always called by that name.
  • The products produced by welders, which are often referred to as weldments, are an example of fabrication.
  • Boilermakers originally specialized in boilers, leading to their trade's name, but the term as used today has a broader meaning.
  • Similarly, millwrights originally specialized in setting up grain mills and saw mills, but today they may be called upon for a broad range of fabrication work.
  • Ironworkers, also known as steel erectors, also engage in fabrication. Often the fabrications for structural work begin as prefabricated segments in a fab shop, then are moved to the site by truck, rail, or barge, and finally are installed by erectors.

Structural steelwork

Structural steel is a category of steel used for making construction materials in a variety of shapes. Many structural steel shapes take the form of an elongated beam having a profile of a specific cross section.
Most structural steel shapes, such as I-beams, have high second moments of area, which means they are very stiff in respect to their cross-sectional area and thus can support a high load without excessive sagging.


Choosing the ideal structural material

Most construction projects require the use of hundreds of different materials. These range from concrete of all different specifications, structural steel of different specifications, clay, mortar, ceramics, wood, etc. In terms of a load bearing structural frame, they will generally consist of structural steel, concrete, masonry, and/or wood, using a suitable combination of each to produce an efficient structure. Most commercial and industrial structures are primarily constructed using either structural steel or reinforced concrete. When designing a structure, an engineer must decide which, if not both, material is most suitable for the design. There are many factors considered when choosing a construction material. Cost is commonly the controlling element; however, other considerations such as weight, strength, constructability, availability, sustainability, and fire resistance will be taken into account before a final decision is made.

 

 

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23 March 2019

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