Archive: Oct 2023

What is Structural Fabrication?

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Creating large-scale metal structures is a massive undertaking. Everything from high-rise apartment buildings to military ships relies on structural fabrication to have long-lasting, sturdy frames and structural elements. At AGI Fabricators, we provide high-quality structural fabrication services starting from the scope and design stages through to on-site assembly and inspection. Learn more about structural fabrication, the multi-stage process of producing structural fabrications, and how we can manage your next project.

What Is Structural Fabrication?

Structural steel fabrication is a manufacturing process that can create a wide variety of different structural products from hard materials, such as carbon and stainless steel. Structural fabricators use different cutting, forming, bending, and assembly techniques to create structures either from a single structural piece or a complex assembly of multiple pieces. Manufacturers and their clients can use structural metal fabrication processes to create goods and installations like:

  • Steel Construction and Construction Components
  • Industrial Equipment
  • Heavy Duty Tools
  • Consumer Goods

Structural Fabrication Process

While countless different types of components can be structurally fabricated, the process of creating unique products follows the same broad steps, regardless of industry or scale. At AGI Fabricators, we follow this multi-step process to define the project, design and refine the products, and fabricate them.

Planning Stage

The planning stage is the initial step before designing or metalwork can begin. It’s comprised of these two phases:

Establishing and Presenting the Initial Scope

Structural steel fabrication is a project, and it needs a robust project plan with a clear scope before work can begin. Outlining the scope involves identifying the following:

  • Materials
  • Costs
  • Any Environmental Concerns Affecting the Project
  • Location Parameters

By the end of this stage, the planning and design team will present an overview of the finished project to the fabrication team for in-depth parts selection.

Estimating Rough Order of Magnitude

In this phase, decision-makers look more closely at the cost, labor, and effort the project will require. This information, along with the material costs, will make up the budget estimate. Once this information is prepared, the project can be approved and transitioned to the design stage.

Estimating Rough Order of Magnitude

The design stage encompasses all the steps to create the detailed fabrication plan. It involves these three phases:

Creating and Sending Conceptual Design for Approval

Here, designers and fabricators will work together to specify the right materials and components for the design, i.e., which parts are standardized and which must be custom-made.

Performing Structural Engineering

The engineering team will survey the project to ensure the optimal outcome. Our professionals will consider factors such as:

  • Identifying the Key Objectives
  • Finalizing Material Selection: Especially in regard to environmental conditions like indoor or outdoor use

By the end of this phase, the engineering team will complete a step-by-step breakdown of the tasks for the project, including a timeline.

Developing Shop Fabrication Drawings

Next, designers will create shop drawings and product or structure blueprints. Today, these design plans are typically made through state-of-the-art industry software, which can help virtually control design parameters, industrial or building code requirements, and other factors. Once the designs are complete, virtually tested (as needed), and approved, the project will move to the fabrication stage.

Fabrication Stage

Now, the fabrication team will create the entire structure from start to finish. Using powerful CNC machinery and other tools, fabricators will create each of the steel components using techniques such as the following:

  • Cutting, Including Laser, Plasma or Waterjet Cutting
  • Bending, Shaping, and Rolling with Specialized Press Brakes or Rolling Machines
  • Drilling
  • Fastening, Including Welding and Holes for Bolts and Rivets

Manufacturers operate within extremely tight tolerances to ensure every piece has the right dimensions and has holes or other features added at precisely the right location. Fabricators will follow every detail of the blueprints and product designs.

Testing and Finishing Stage

Once the fabrication is complete, trained technicians will assemble it. Each individual component of the assembly will have a part number etched or engraved into the metal for precise on-site assembly, and fittings, fixtures, or other pieces will be used to complete the installation. In some cases, the fabricated materials will be test-assembled in the shop.

Next, it will be disassembled, and the pieces will be finished with shop primer or multi-layer paint. The pieces can even be coated with fireproofing or rust-proofing materials.

At the final stage, the parts will be inspected, shipped, and assembled at the final location. Inspectors can assess the structure annually as needed to create inspection reports.

Industry Applications of Structural Fabrication

Structural fabrication is suitable for a wide range of applications, especially for building large-scale structures and vessels. At AGI Fabricators, we provide structural fabrication services for these and other applications:

  • Bridges
  • Building Construction (Commercial and Industrial)
  • Mining
  • Shipbuilding
  • Commercial Construction
  • Industrial Structural Applications

Choose Complete Structural Fabrication Services From AGI Fabricators

Creating high-quality structural fabrications is an in-depth process that requires multiple teams with the expertise to design, refine, engineer, and build the structures. At AGI Fabricators, we provide comprehensive in-house services and project management to complete your next build from start to finish. Reach out today to request a quote or learn more about our services.