Structural Steel Fabrication

Structural Steel Fabrication: The Complete Guide

There are many ways of fabricating structural steel. This guide explores all vital techniques you can use to fabricate structural steel, such as cutting, bending, and welding, to mention a few. So, before fabricating your steel structures, read this guide.

What Is Structural Steel Fabrication?

Structural steel fabrication is modeling steel, cutting and bending it to form a structure. In this method, the pieces of steel tend to be consolidated to make up varying structures with distinct shapes and sizes.

Advantages Of Structural Fabrication

Durability
Durability

The nature of stainless steel is corrosion resistant and tensile, which helps ensure that it has a higher strength than density, thus suited for construction.

Easy Fabrication
Easy Fabrication

Steel reduces the work done on-site, thus fast-tracking operations as it is delivered on-site in the pre-fabrication phase.

Easy To Install
Easy To Install

Components produced in structural steel fabrication tend to be very easy to install once fabricated, thus reducing overall costs.

Cost-effective
Cost-effective

Structural steel fabrication tends to be relatively affordable compared to other metals such as copper, aluminum, gold, silver, and magnesium.

Metallurgical Properties
Metallurgical Properties

Structural fabrication makes it easy to fabricate steel to any desired shape and size using methods like welding and bolting.

Durable Coating
Durable Coating

Structural fabrication imposes a coating that is fire resistant on the steel surface, thus ensuring it is highly resistant to fire, earthquakes, water, and storms.

Recyclable
Recyclable

Structural fabrication ensures that steel is recyclable, thus making it suitable for use in several applications and friendly to the environment.

Versatile
Versatile

Structural fabrication tends to produce excellent steel for use in various functions and designs.

Structural Steel Welding Techniques

Some of the structural steel welding techniques include:

Electroslag welding is mainly used in welding steel with considerable thickness, large diameter, and cast steel. It works by mixing oxygen with the combustion of acetylene using a flame to melt the metal for welding.

Contact welding: heat generated through welding is utilized when the current passes through the weldment.

High-frequency welding: uses heat generated by resistors of high frequency for welding.

Structural Steel Welding Techniques
Grades Of Structural Steel

Grades Of Structural Steel

Some of the available grades of structural steel include:

Carbon steel: they tend to be primarily used in tubing and structural pipe. They do not contain any other alloying element and the copper added does not exceed o.4 to 0.6%.

High strength, low-alloy steel: it is designed in a way that can optimize mechanical resistance and mechanical properties.

Forged steel: entails shaping metals when they are still in a solid state through the imposing of either force or heat. It produces uniform grain structures and eliminates gas bubbles, thus increasing the overall strength of structural steel.

Structural Steel Fabrication Techniques

Structural Steel Fabrication Techniques
Structural Steel Fabrication Techniques

Some of the techniques in structural steel fabrication include:

Cutting Steel

It refers to the process in which steel is cut in sections to enhance its fabrication process. Usually, it helps cut down varying steel sizes used in custom fabrication. Some techniques used in cutting steel include flame cutting, plasma cutting, and cutting it using a circular saw.

Shot Blasting Steel

It is the fabrication process of burning steel sections using tiny steel beads or shots. Usually, this process ensures impurities are removed, and the metal is ready for the process of fabrication.

It ensures that a clean finish is produced for easier welding and provides a rough surface for painting. Again, it tends to be used in several industries such as ship and auto-building, construction, and production of various steel structures.

Bending Steel

It is used whenever there is a desire for shapes that are more intricate and essential for construction. This technique entails steel going through a roll bender several times until a desirable arc is obtained.

Welding Steel

It refers to the process of melting steel structures and welding rods or filler material using high heat. They are then fused once they have cooled down, as this is a universal technique in structural steel fabrication.

Coating Steel

The coating is essential in the structural steel fabrication process as it helps in enhancing its aesthetic value and function. Galvanization is the most common technique and entails covering the surface of stainless steel using zinc for protection from corrosion.

Folding Steel

It refers to the process of folding the metal into shape at a given angle using the right equipment due to the complexity of the process.

Machining Steel

In this technique, a machine eliminates portions from steel pieces, typically carried out on a lathe. The machine tends to rotate the section on given tools which trim and edge corners and cut pieces to specific sizes and lengths.

Punching Steel

The steel plates are put under a die, and a drill punched through the face. Additionally, it is conducted to ensure latches are fastened onto the steelwork.

Stamping Steel

It forms definite shapes in each metal, panel, or sheet section. Also, it is used to stamp specific features such as words, images, and currency onto the surface of metals.

Shearing Steel

Sheering technique is commonly used for steel which requires long cuts. The given sections tend to be fed horizontally via a cutting machine, or any appropriate cutting tool may be used against the steel plate vertically.

Step-by-step Structural Steel Fabrication Process

Step-by-step Structural Steel Fabrication Process
Step-by-step Structural Steel Fabrication Process

Step 1: Design Structural Steel Part

First, you should come up with the design before commencing the structural steel fabrication process. CAD programs are primarily used to determine the steel structure’s final outlook and map it.

Designing the steel part makes it possible for the fabricator and end user to agree on the outcome of the product. This step also makes the fabrication process easier and faster to execute as all the requirements will be highlighted.

Step 2: Fabricate Steel Structure

Once the design of the steel structure has been put in place, it is time to begin the fabrication process. During the fabrication process, metal workers use several tools that can alter the structure and outlook of steel to form the specified final product.

They can bend and reshape steel structures by relying on pressure and heat alongside the tools. Fabricators also use CNC equipment suited to form steel components at a faster rate through keenly cutting and bending.

Step 3: Assemble Steel Structure

Once the steel structure has been fabricated and the desired product has been obtained, it is time to incorporate the components. Ensure that all the components are assembled systematically according to the specifications of the design to ensure they serve a given function.

Step 4: Apply Necessary Finishing

In this step, the surface finishing options such as sandblasting or painting are applied to the steel structure. It enhances its aesthetic value and its resistance to damage by external elements.

Step 5: Check Quality Of Structural Steel Structure

Quality is essential like the steel structure produced. Therefore, once the entire process is complete, it is crucial to verify the product to ensure that it conforms to the quality standards in place.

Surface Finish After Structural Steel Fabrication

Surface Finish After Structural Steel Fabrication
Surface Finish After Structural Steel Fabrication

Some of the surface finishing options after structural steel fabrication include:

Buff Polishing

It is for a non-textured and smooth surface of stainless steel by using a cloth on a polishing machine to give a rounded finish. Buff polishing is suitable for very fragile steel pieces.

Brushing Metal

It gives the steel structure a smooth finish and works by the machine holding a given piece against a belt. Brushing tends to smoothen defects and form a pristine surface of the steel. Additionally, special brushes may help create specific grains on the final steel structure.

Sandblasting

It is suited for large, flat steel and requires a matte finish. When carrying out this surface finishing option, ensure that you have a unique eye and respiratory protection as tiny metals that are chipping off may result in accidents.

Grinding

This surface finishing option entails the use of grinders on individual pieces of steel to produce a smooth finish. It is well suited for making molds whenever it needs perfect internal smoothness and precision.

Electroplating

In this method, electricity and chemicals form a metallic coating such as cadmium, zinc, chrome, and nickel onto the surface of the steel. Cadmium tends to reduce rusting, while chrome and nickel enhance the durability of steel.

Powder Coating

It puts a layer of durable melted plastic powder on the surface of the steel to produce a textured, glossy, or matte finish. It is important to note that this surface finishing option is unsuitable for steel structures with sharp edges that need smoothing.

Applications Of Structural Steel Fabrication

Manufacturing
Manufacturing

Structural steel is used in manufacturing to produce steel ladders, handrails, platforms, industrial stairs, and mezzanines.

Construction
Construction

In the construction industry, it is used to produce high-rise buildings,  bridges, parking garages, residential buildings, and industrial buildings. Additionally, it has steel beams, H-shaped steel sections, steel plates, girders, and all form parts of large areas that are fabricated.

Automotive
Automotive

In the automotive industry, structural steel is used in several parts, more so in the engines and other safety features.

Energy Sector
Energy Sector

Structural steel is used in the energy industry for wind turbines, pipelines, transmission towers, and gas and oil platforms.

Shipbuilding Industry
Shipbuilding Industry

Due to its nature, structural steel is used in making recreational boats, ferries, and supertankers.

Aerospace Industry
Aerospace Industry

Structural steel tends to be used in several aircraft parts like exhaust ducts, landing gears, engines, fuel tanks, fasteners, motor cases, and springs.

Mining Industry
Mining Industry

The mining industry uses structural steel in sections such as pipes, fittings, rods, grating, rails, and beams.

People Also Ask:

What Is The Difference Between Structural Steel And Normal Steel?

Structural steel tends to be produced using a particular shape or cross section and with specified strength values and chemical composition. On the other hand, ordinary steel is manufactured without a minimum specified content of other alloying elements and may have a small percentage of carbon and manganese.

Which Type Of Steel Is Structural Steel?

Structural steel is carbon steel. Thus it has a carbon content with a weight of up to 2.1%. It is because carbon tends to be an essential element hence the higher the content, the greater its strength and the lower its ductility.

Why Should You Choose Structural Steel?

It would help if you chose structural steel because it has a higher bearing limit and can withstand any pressure increase whenever it is used as a component.

Which Is The Strongest Structural Steel?

The most robust structural steel is 1,000-N grade steel, which was made to improve the earthquake resistance of buildings as its yield strength is about 2.7 times higher.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Structural Steel Structures?

Some of the disadvantages of structural steel structures include:

  • High maintenance costs: the costs of maintaining structural steel structures are relatively high as there is a need to paint them or use other surface finishing options for protection from corrosion.
  • Extensive fireproofing costs: structural steel structures are not fireproof; thus, additional costs need to be incurred to adopt this feature and ensure durability.
  • Susceptible to corrosion: structural steel structures may be subject to corrosion, and thus there will be a need to incur costs in anti-corrosion applications.
  • Buckling problems: structural steel structures encounter buckling problems as chances of buckling increase with an increase in the steel column.
  • High expansion rate: whenever there is a temperature change, the structure of structural steel structures may be affected as it has a high rate of expansion.

More Resources:

Fabricating Structural Steel

Mild Steel Fabrication

Stainless Steel Fabrication

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