What is the Structural Steel Fabrication Process?

Posted by Ken Brakefield

Topics: Structural Steel Fabrication

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Structural steel fabrication is a multifaceted process that requires specialized knowledge, skills, and resources to complete successfully.To create structural steel beams, components, or equipment, a good metal fabricator follows a specific process:

Step 1: Ideation

The ideation stage can be as creative or as standard as the client desires. When you partner with a fabricator who provides custom structural steel solutions, you have the freedom to order unique pieces specific to your project. Whether you need beautiful, handcrafted ornamental rails or straightforward caged ladders, a custom fabricator can adhere to your exact needs.

Step 2: Blueprint/Drawing Creation

During ideation, your vendor will listen to you and draw up blueprints using specialized engineering software. You can come prepared with your own blueprints or drawings for this stage. Review your vendor’s blueprints to verify correct requirements, code compliance, and specifications.

Step 3: Convert Blueprints Into Shop Drawings

Your vendor will convert project blueprints into shop drawings for the completion of the order. The shop drawings and plans will adhere to the logistics of your project, such as deadlines and budget. Shop drawings are what the manufacturer uses to bring the blueprints to fruition.

Step 4: Cut and Drill Steel Beams

The vendor will have special tools, such as saws, shears, lasers, punches, notches, and plasmas to cut and drill the steel beams according to project blueprints. At Swanton Welding, Inc, we use the Ficep 1003 DDVD VanGuard Drill Line for this stage of the process. This advanced equipment produces higher quality results, faster.

Step 5: Piece Etching

Your vendor will etch each piece with a unique part number and plate location. This makes final assembly on site fast, easy, and accurate, eliminating costly mix-ups and project delays.

Step 6: Component Assembly

Once your vendor finishes cutting and forming the components of your project, the team will weld and assemble the pieces. At this stage, the fabrication team will check to make sure all pieces assemble correctly and match order specifications.

Step 7: Custom Part Machination

If you request any custom metal fabrication, your vendor will create custom parts at this stage. Custom parts are ideal when you need components to fit a specific structure or product. You may need custom part machination if standard looks or sizes aren’t right for your project, either in function or aesthetics.

Step 8: Complete Assembly

Your vendor will complete a full assembly of your project, if possible. In some cases, partial assembly may apply. Complete assembly ensures all parts of the order are present and functioning. Changes at this stage are rare and only occur if there has been a mistake in a previous step.

Step 9: Shipping Preparation

After a successful complete assembly, the team will disassemble the project and prepare components for either finishing or direct shipment. Your vendor should do this quickly and efficiently, packing the components in a way that makes project erection at the site easy.

Step 10: Component Finishing

If you request special paint, powder coat, sandblasting, or another finish, your vendor will apply this last. Industrial assemblies often require a certain finish to comply with federal regulations and compliance codes. Your vendor should have the latest technology to apply the finish of your choice with ease and finesse. At Swanton Welding, Inc, we have a deluxe paint booth and cutting-edge powder coater to get the job done.

Step 11: Project Ships to Site

At this point, your project is complete! Your vendor will follow your previously agreed-upon shipping arrangement, sending your completed, disassembled components directly to your site location. Ask for tracking details to ensure your project arrives on time.

Step 12: Erection of Final Project

Once the components arrive, your build team erects the final project. Your vendor will have made assembly easy, with prefabricated components that fit together with minimal labor needed.

Custom Fabrication and Welding Services Capabilities Statement

For more detailed information on them or on the manufacture of basic structural steel and how it can meet the needs of your business, please contact us. You can visit us online at SwantonWeld.com or reach us directly at 419.826.4816.

Topics: Structural Steel Fabrication