Steel is one of the world’s most versatile materials, it is used in so many different industries and for so many different things. This, of course, means that there are various ways that the steel fabrication process happens. To help you understand all these different processes we will be covering a few of the most common processes in which you will know both the benefits and downfalls of each steel fabrication process. We all know that steel is one of the world’s toughest materials but it is also soft enough to work with where we can machine, weld, fold and bend it. Below we will be covering the most well known and most popular techniques used in steel fabrication which includes work hardening, machining, and, of course, welding.
Work hardening is the process of strengthening steel through deformation, it is probably the least known process of all three. For those of you who already work with steel then you will already know that steel can harden at different rates, this mostly depends on the grade of steel. One steel that is particularly fast at hardening is in the austentitic family and, therefore, is used in a lot of steel fabrication processes. This process does give the steel some benefits compared to other processes which are better strength and resistance against such things as corrosion. You can usually see this process being used to produce things such as tools, cutlery, bearings, valve parts, nuts, and bolts.
Machining is the next process we will go over and there is one main problem that this process constantly faces and that is chipping. Fortunately, there are some grades of steel that seem to be resistant against chipping but they can be quite difficult to work with which leaves them with pretty limited options when it comes to uses. There have been a few innovations with manufacturers to combat this problem which involves melting techniques in the machinery to ease the machining process with these grades of steel. These changes have made a real difference when it comes to extending tool life. If you want to avoid chipping during this process there are a few steps that you can take which include using chip breakers to deflect any debris, maintenance of the light cuts and feeds, using machinery with less vibration, making sure that the cutting tools are sharp and by applying lubricant to the machinery.
Last but not least is the steel fabrication technique known as welding. Most of us are aware what welding is but for those of you who don’t it is the process of joining materials together by using fusion. It is important to note that each grade of stainless steel does, however, fuse differently from one another. The most common steels used in the welding process are austenitic steel, martensitic, ferritic and duplex. Austenitic steel is known for its sensitization and inter-granular corrosion, martensitic is a good option for welding but does require a warm up to reduce the chances of cracking, ferritic steel is not the best option but can be used in some cases, duplex steel is probably one of the better choices for welding and works great when it comes to low thermal expansion, ductility, corrosion, resistance, and strength.