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How To Avoid Common Problems In Steel Fabrication
25 June 2015
Problems in steel fabrication can be expensive, time-consuming and sometimes extremely difficult to resolve but there are certain things that can be done upfront to avoid issues with the end product.
The first rule when it comes to avoiding steel fabrication problems is that planning and precision workmanship are non-negotiable. Getting it right the first time should be the aim of any steel fabrication job – small or large – and with proper planning and design and high quality workmanship, the likelihood of problems occurring is vastly reduced.
Let’s start by looking at some of the common problems that occur in steel fabrication.
External damage, such as scratches and gouges on the surface of the steel, is cause for concern because it can lead to corrosion. Scratches can also be problematic when they compromise the aesthetics of the product.
There are many other surface contaminants which can lead to rusting and corrosion such as embedded iron and loose iron particles, residual adhesives from protective plastics, oil, grease, paint, grinding dust, weld spatter and so on – and these should all be avoided if problems down the line are to be prevented.
The best way to avoid problems or failures is to start with good design – and that includes the design of the fabricated object or component itself as well as the design of the welded joints. The high temperatures involved in welding can lead to surface defects as well as other issues and once again, quality of workmanship and attention to detail are two ‘must-haves’ if trouble in this area is to be averted.
All welding and cutting causes a certain amount of shrinkage and movement in the steel or the metal and everyone involved in the process including the designer, the materials engineer, the fabrication supervisor and the welder needs to be aware of distortion and work together to minimise its effects.
That raises another important point in how to avoid common problems in steel fabrication – and that is the importance of communication. It’s a team effort. Every person in every discipline in the production process should be communicating and interacting with one another to ensure all controls are in place, all inspections have taken place, all instructions are followed to the letter and so on.
We’ve talked about quality of workmanship, but equally important is the quality of the equipment. Problems will occur if the machines aren’t firmly in place and vibrations occur, if the blades aren’t sharp enough or big enough to handle the cutting or if quality lubricants aren’t used. Advances in technology have brought sophisticated computer controlled machinery to the fore and it’s essential to find a steel fabrication company that uses state-of-the-art equipment which has advanced features and controls which minimise the opportunity for errors.
In a nutshell, the following are the most important building blocks when it comes to avoiding problems in steel fabrication:
- Good design
- Appropriate materials selection
- Strict adherence to industry codes and requirements
- Steel fabrication experience
- Teamwork amongst all disciplines involved in the fabrication process
- Attention to detail
- Quality workmanship
- Quality of equipment
Problems in steel fabrication can cost both time and money, so you should always work with a company that has extensive industry experience and an established reputation for quality and precision workmanship. West Australian Steel Sales is a leader in steel fabrication in Perth and with almost 30 years’ of experience under their belt and advanced steel fabrication production facilities at their new Bassendean premises, they offer customers a total manufacturing solution from initial concept through to finished product. For more information on how WA Steel can meet your industry needs, contact them on 08 9377 3778 or visit their website, www.wasteel.com.au.