When you travel on an airplane or repair a loose doorknob with a screw, you’re benefiting from metal fabrication. According to Statista, the 2022 gross output of the US metal fabrication industry was $353 billion.
Metal fabrication is an important industry for many reasons beyond the dollar value of fabricated products. When you buy a new car, a can of soup, or a set of stainless steel utensils, think about how the metal became the vehicle, container, or tool you bought.
Pipes, Tubes, and Fittings
Gas and water enter your home through pipes that were formed, cut, and fitted together using metal fabrication techniques. Pipes also carry wastewater out of your home into sewer pipelines that carry it to treatment plants. None of this would be possible without metal fabrication, the machines that bend metal into tubes, and the welders who connect pipes securely together.
Stainless steel has become a staple for appliances in many American homes. Its sleek, shiny look and easy-to-clean surface makes it the material of choice for refrigerator fronts, dishwasher panels, and kitchen ranges. Who hasn’t envied a neighbor’s gorgeous laundry room with their shiny, front-loading washer-dryer pairs in attractive stainless steel?
Appliance manufacturers rely on custom metal fabrication to provide internal parts and decorative surfaces for their products. Your kitchen looks chic and modern because of metal fabrication.
Wires, Nuts, and Bolts
Essential components of everyday items made through metal fabrication are all around you, from the fine wires in your electronic devices to the screws and bolts that hold your deck together. Next time you grab your toolbox for a minor household repair, or your electrician comes to rewire an outlet, keep in mind that the materials began as a sheet or roll of uncut metal in a metalworking shop.
Precision is critical in medical instruments for surgeries or diagnoses. Medical device manufacturers partner with metal fabricators to produce medical instruments and tools that meet detailed specifications for size, shape, and sharpness. Metal fabrication can also provide parts for artificial limbs and implantable pins that hold an injured person’s body together as they heal.
Beams, Fencing, and Hinges
Are you inside a building right now? If so, it’s very likely that fabricated beams of metal support the structure. That iron gate at the end of the driveway across the street is an example of metal fabrication. That sleek railing along the stairs of the new office building in town was produced by a metal fabrication business.
Fabricators use various machines, from laser and plasma cutters guided by computers to gigantic tandem press brakes that bend long pieces of sheet metal, to produce parts for construction, aerospace, medical applications, and even to make parts for your child’s new bike.
Fabricators can reverse-engineer replacement parts for old equipment that still works but needs a part that the machine maker no longer produces. The same is true for vintage cars. Wherever you see something made of metal in your everyday life, you’ll appreciate why metal fabrication is an important industry.