Sheet metal is a thin and formable material that offers varying levels of corrosion resistance, durability, weight, and tensile strength. Due to their material properties, some types of sheet metal are better than others for fabrication. Here we will explore the types of sheet metal ideal for fabrication, including their respective benefits and applications.
Galvanized steel comes in two types: hot-dipped metallic-coated sheets and electro-galvanized sheets. Hot-dipped metallic-coated sheet metal is made by coating cold-rolled steel plates with an iron-zinc alloy and pure zinc mixture. Electro-galvanized sheets are made by applying a pure zinc spangle-free coating to cold-rolled annealed steel. Generally, hot-dipped metallic coated sheets are more economical and corrosion-resistant than electro-galvanized sheets.
Various applications rely on galvanized steel sheets. They offer an excellent base material for fabricating furniture, bolts, nuts, handrails, and fences. They can also act as insulation, improving the heat resistance of metallic piping systems.
Cold-rolled steel, or CRS, is hot-rolled steel that has undergone another rolling process at room temperature. This extra cold-rolling process helps the sheet achieve tighter tolerances and more finishing options. Compared to hot-rolled steel, cold-rolled steel has 20% more strength and a smoother finish. The Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS) classifies commercial cold-rolled carbon steel as SPCC. Automotive parts, containers, appliances, construction, and other galvanized steel products rely on SPCC.
The following are two prevalent cold-rolled steel alloys:
- 1008: A steel grade that is preferred for its formability. It can be used in cold forming and drawing operations.
- 1018: A carbon steel alloy with easy machining for high-strength structural parts, bolts, gears, and other components.
Aluminum is extensively used in sheet metal fabrication and manufacturing applications. Thin aluminum sheets deliver excellent corrosion resistance in a lightweight package. The material is also easy to work with due to its low melting point, density, and exceptional ductility. Aluminum can be formed into different shapes when melted, as it is receptive to machining, welding, and laser cutting. The metal is preferred for weight-sensitive applications, such as aerospace, automotive, and electronic components.
Stainless steel is preferred for applications where frequent moisture exposure is expected. The chromium content in stainless steel provides corrosion resistance in damp and harsh conditions. Structures like office buildings and products like kitchen sinks rely on stainless steel fabrication to provide product longevity. Stainless steel is a common material in everyday items as well as industrial processes. For example, stainless steel is often used in heavy industrial equipment, where it can resist various harsh liquids and chemicals.
Brass provides excellent acoustic properties, making it a preferred material for musical instruments such as trumpets, trombones, and French horns. The material has an aesthetically appealing gold color and is used in decorative products like fittings and architectural accents. Brass is also highly functional due to its material properties:
- High tensile strength
- Corrosion resistance
- Low melting point for weldability and sheet metal forming
- Low friction
- High malleability
Copper is a corrosion- and heat-resistant material with an exceptional electrical conductivity that similar metals do not offer. Because it can easily transfer heat and electricity, copper is ideal for producing electrical wire. Copper’s heat conductivity makes it a good material for automobile radiators, pipes, tubes, pots, pans, and electronic heatsinks. Copper is the preferred metal for wiring and other conduction-related applications. It also has a unique and aesthetically pleasing finish and color, making it a favored material for residential gutters and other decorative applications.
Sheet Metal Forming and Fabrication From Pyramid Fab and Finish
Sheet metal offers a variety of different properties to suit diverse applications and industries. At Pyramid Fab and Finish, we offer sheet metal fabrication, forming, and finishing services for various metallic materials. Our material options include galvanized steel, cold-rolled steel, hot-rolled steel, galvannealed steel, stainless steel, aluminum, brass, and copper.