Sheet metal work is the process of using thin sheets of metal either ferrous or non-ferrous to fabricate a component. Ferrous metal being that which contains iron e.g. mild steel, galvanised steel or stainless steel and non-ferrous metal contains no iron e.g. aluminium, copper and brass.
2B , Bright Annealed and Dull Polished (at front)
This component may simply be a flat panel, a bent component or an assembly of 2 or more sheet metal components joined together. Unlike a metal casting or machining a component from a solid block of metal a sheet metal component will generally have the same material thickness throughout its form. The manufacturing processes used to produce a sheet metal component can vary widely depending on the accuracy of the component features needed, the thickness of the parent metal and the volume of components needing to be produced. To cut out the outer profile or sheet metal blank from the parent sheet a process may be carried out by simply guillotining, CNC punching with slitting tooling, fibre or CO2 laser cutting, water jet cutting or blanking press tooling. In our factory in Fareham, Hampshire we will use guillotining for small batches of simple parts that do not require too many other pieced hole features. If the sheet metal component has many holes, slots, windows or corner notches etc. we will always use one of our Trumpf CNC punch presses to punch out the outer profile and also the internal features in the same manufacturing cycle. If the component is thicker than standard sheet metal, therefore plate we will use one of our sub-contract partners to laser cut the component for us on your behalf.
Once the component flat profile / blank has been produced it is usually de-burred, a process or series or processes which are used to remove the machining marks from the sheet edges. The component can then be processed in a number of ways depending on its design which might be bending using CNC press brakes, spot welding if used in combination with 2 or more other sheet metal components or TiG and MiG welding. Various ancillary operations such as rolling sheet into curves, inserting threaded studs and bushes, attaching weld studs and machining countersinks can be carried out to complete the final component to drawing. Some sheet metal work will need to be painted or powder coated, plated or anodised which can all be organised to your specification when required.
Spot welded sheet metal work - fibre optics lighting enclosure
Sheet metal work is so flexible producing components as varied as small spring stainless steel clips, specialist lighting reflectors, mild steel enclosures and computer chassis, aluminium heat sinks, stainless steel water tanks, galvanised mild steel angle brackets all from the same plant in our Hampshire manufacturing factory. Sheet metal components from only a few mm across to profiles 2.5M long. If you want to see more examples of the vast range of sheet metal work that we manufacture please take a look at our gallery pages.