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4 Common Welding Techniques in Metal Fabrication

4 Common Welding Techniques

Welding is a core metal fabrication process that is widely used in the manufacturing and construction industries. Welders are able to transform different types of metals into unique shapes and products that they envision. The type of metal that is being welded will often determine the welding technique that will be used to provide the best possible result. Like any other specialized skill, the art of welding is something that has to be mastered.

Most welding in metal fabrication involves common metals like steel, iron, aluminum, copper and other metals that can be joined using different welding techniques. There isn’t a single welding process that is suitable for all applications. It’s important to consider these factors when deciding on the type of welding technique to use for metal fabrication:

  • The type of metal
  • The thickness of the metal
  • The size of the welding project
  • What you want the welds to look like
  • Your overall budget
  • Whether you’re welding indoors or outdoors

To understand the different types of welding, we’re going to look at the four common welding techniques used in metal fabrication:

Different Types of Welding

Stick or Arc Welding (SMAW)

Stick welding, otherwise known as Shielded Metal Arc Welding is one of the easiest and widely used welding techniques in metal fabrication. This welding technique uses a consumable electrode stick that produces electric current. When in contact with steel, iron or any heavy metal that’s being welded, it creates an electric arc that generates temperatures as high as 6500 fahrenheit.

This type of welding can be performed on metals that have not been pre-cleaned and is quite effective when working on rusty metals, making it less time-consuming for welders. However, when using this welding technique, it’s important to use the proper amount of amperage for the thickness of the metal being welded. Working with thin metals can make the process more complicated and may require the presence of an experienced and highly skilled welder.

Stick, or arc welding is mostly suitable for heavy metals like iron and steel ranging from size 4 mm and above. As one of the most common welding techniques, stick welding is mostly used for repairing heavy metal equipment, pipeline welding, steel structure erection as well as metal work in the manufacturing and construction industries. Learning the right arc welding procedure is important to ensure a proper weld.

MIG Welding (GMAW)

MIG Welding

Unlike the stick welding technique, Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) uses a gun that’s continuously fed with a consumable electrode. This method uses an external gas to shield the welded metal from various environmental factors like oxygen, therefore, making the welding process quick and continuous. This method produces less welding fumes and is easy to learn, requires less heat input and has a high electrode efficiency.

Find the right equipment for Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding can, however, be costly. This welding method is not effective on thick metals but works well on metals like magnesium, stainless steel, aluminum, silicon bronze, nickel and copper. It’s widely used in construction, automotive repairs, metal fabrication, plumbing, robotics and maritime repairs. To create high-quality welds, the metal has to be cleaned before any welding in metal fabrication takes place.

This can easily be done by grinding the metal to remove any paint, rust or solvent that may have accumulated on the metal. If you don’t have a metal grinder, you can also use a detergent, solvent and water to remove any grease that is present on the metal. Once the metal is clean and the welding begins, it’s important to ensure that the welding torch doesn’t touch the metal being welded. A zigzag pattern should be used in this common welding technique to ensure that both sides of the metal joint are being welded.

TIG Welding (GTAW)

TIG welding, also referred to as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding uses tungsten rods to create a well defined and neat weld that is visually appealing. To produce a high-quality weld, the metal needs to be cleaned thoroughly. It’s also important to choose the smallest electrode possible when performing the weld so you can minimize the chances of contamination. Different arc lengths must be used for different metals when it comes to using the TIG welding technique.

For high-quality work, welders should use the shortest arc length possible. Unlike other types of welding techniques, this method can be time-consuming and challenging and requires a high level of focus and skill to perfect the technique and perform the highest standard of work. An external shielding gas is also required. While TIG welding may be one of the most difficult of all the common welding techniques used in metal fabrication, it produces a top-quality weld and can be used to weld virtually any type of metal.

Because of the high level of skills required to master TIG welding, many welding and metal fabrication companies are in constant search for professional and highly experienced TIG welders. TIG welding is most suitable for vehicle welding, aerospace welding, bike manufacturing, motorcycle manufacturing, tubing and piping and high-precision welds.

Flux Cored Arc Welding

This welding method is almost similar to the MIG welding technique as far as the overall welding process and the equipment used is concerned. This welding technique in metal fabrication requires an electrode containing a flux and a constant amount of voltage. It also requires a shielding gas that is used to protect the welding surface from any atmospheric contamination. This is a quick welding process that can be used on many different types of metals.

The Flux Cored Arc Welding process is more costly than other welding techniques. The method has quickly developed as a reliable alternative to shield welding. Thanks to its high welding speed and portability, this semi-automatic arc weld is widely used in construction projects that involve metal fabrication work, heavy equipment repairs and steel erection. This common welding technique is effective in welding thick metals.

Choosing the Right Welding Technique

Choosing the Right Welding

Welding techniques have highly evolved over the last few years, giving rise to a variety of more innovative welding methods. Due to this, it’s necessary that welders understand the different types of welding techniques so they can know which one is right for the job. Metal fabrication companies will likely determine who to hire depending on the level of knowledge they have in welding processes. Every welding technique has its own pros and cons, so it’s important to take your time before selecting the most suitable process for your welding applications.

Buying the Right Equipment

When it comes to buying welding equipment, it’s important to consider your metal fabrication needs. The welder is perhaps your biggest expense, so make sure that you’re buying the best quality that you can afford. The type of welder you’re going to buy depends on whether you want a simple wire-feed welder for regular metal work or one that is specifically designed for industrial metal fabrication. You’ll also need to buy the right welding wire for your welding machine.

Other equipment that you will need, include the right shielding gas, welding cart to increase portability, a carbide or awl scribe to mark cut lines, a magnet square or miter clamp to secure joints, a right angle grinder for flattening, beveling or grinding your welds, a chipping hammer or wire brush for cleaning up spatter and slag and welding pliers to remove spatter from the welding gun nozzle and trim your welding wire.

Safety is Paramount

Safety is Paramount

Regardless of which common welding technique is used, welding processes expose everyone to similar hazards. Ensuring welding safety is a critical component in any metal fabrication service. If you’re involved in welding work or responsible for safety at a metal fabrication company or steel construction firm, it’s important to highlight key safety guidelines for all workers.

  • Refer to the welder’s operating manual that contains important safety guidelines and information. The manual also contains important procedures regarding the machine’s use.
  • Ensure that you are buttoned up when welding. Any exposed skin can be exposed to the damaging and painful effects of infrared and ultraviolet rays. Open pockets or pant cuffs that aren’t completely buttoned can smolder unnoticed when the welder is working under a protective hood.
  • Wear the right protective gear. This includes safety glasses, industrial grade auto darkening helmet, leather apron, protective welding gloves, denim pants without cuffs and leather shoes.
  • Respiratory safety is also important when welding. Smoke and fumes emitted during welding in metal fabrication could pose a health hazard. Make sure that you’re able to breathe freely and avoid working in confined spaces where fumes could accumulate, making the air unbreathable. Some welding work specifically requires that you wear the recommended respirators when welding. It’s important to consult the manufacturer’s welding electrode data sheet for proper procedures.
  • It’s important also to lose any clutter in your welding area. Clearly mark or label the place for each piece of welding equipment. The welding area should only contain the required tools and equipment that the operator uses.

Conclusion

Conclusion

As global building and construction increases, the demand for qualified welding experts will continue to increase. According to industry experts at Metal Supply, a leading metal fabrication company in Los Angeles, 80% of companies in the metal fabrication industry cannot find enough qualified welding professionals to match their needs. The demand for companies that specialize in welding services, and specifically with the necessary skills required to understand the common welding techniques mentioned above is expected to grow by 26% in the next decade.

Metal Supply is your trusted partner in offering full-service metal fabrication services and steel and aluminum supply in and around Los Angeles. For more than 55 years, we’ve been offering complete metal fabrication solutions to our clients in the residential, industrial and commercial sectors. If you’d like to discuss your welding project or have any questions, please contact us today.

6 OSHA Safety Questions Related to Metal Fabrication

6 OSHA Safety Questions

Working in the metal fabrication industry sometimes requires workers to engage in potentially risky activities in order to properly perform their work, including cutting and welding metals and manufacturing of ferrous materials. For safety managers in metal fabrication shops and facilities, understanding the potential hazards that employees are exposed to in their line of work and doing a risk assessment to identify risk hazards is critical to ensuring their safety and health.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires businesses to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of every employee. In the metal fabrication industry where working conditions can be challenging and cause accidents, injuries and chronic illnesses, safety precautions need to be practiced at all times. Below, we’re going to discuss some of the top OSHA safety questions that safety managers in metal fabrication should ask themselves.

What Should I Know About Safe Equipment Use and Machine Guarding?

Safety equipment use and machine guarding have over the last few years taken front and center stage when it comes to metal industry safety concerns. In fact, these two areas topped the list of OSHA violations, costing the industry nearly $3 million. Moving machine parts can cause severe injuries, such as amputations, crushed fingers or hands, blindness and even burns. Safety managers must ensure that proper safeguarding of machines is done to prevent injuries.

Any fabrication equipment, function and process that may potentially cause injuries should be safeguarded. A close look at the primary violations in the industry centered on basic issues such as the provision of safeguards that meet the latest OSHA requirements for design and construction. Other violations included the use of hand and portable powered tools like welding machines, abrasive wheel machinery, mechanical power presses, mechanical power transmission apparatus and other equipment.

The question of what should be done to ensure safe equipment use and machine guarding is one of the top OSHA safety questions that safety managers deal with. Ensuring the safe condition and use of all metal fabrication equipment is the responsibility of the employer. Those in charge of safety must ensure that employees are aware of the OSHA regulations that pertain to the use, specifications and maintenance requirements of the tools and equipment that they use. Proper guarding must be provided and employees trained on safe equipment use.

How Can You Prevent Electrical Hazards in the Workplace?

Prevent Electrical Hazards

Many electrical hazards in the metal fabrication industry are due to carelessness and complacency. The possibility of an electric shock is one of the biggest risks encountered by welders and other workers directly working with equipment and tools that are powered by electricity. Touching ‘live’ electrical components, such as the electrode and the workpiece can easily result in an electric shock or serious burns. Electric shocks can kill, either directly or when a worker falls when working at height.

Considering that electrical hazards are the second biggest OSHA safety questions in metal fabrication, it’s vital for metal fabrication companies and safety managers to put in place proper safety measures and train their employees on how to deal with electrical-related fabrication work. Lack of proper training, carelessness, faulty equipment and shoddy workmanship lead the way in causing the majority of electrical-related accidents and injuries.

Welders and workers exposed to electrical hazards in the workplace must never become complacent about the electrical hazards associated with their work. Safe working practices should also be followed at all times and procedures put in place to ensure regular inspections and strict compliance. Proper installation and maintenance of welding equipment must be done by qualified personnel and workers trained on the proper use of welding equipment.

What are the Right Material Handling Procedures?

Material handling is another OSHA safety concern in metal fabrication. Citations in the industry have mainly included violations in the use of overhead and gantry cranes, powered industrial trucks and slings. When it comes to moving, loading and installing metal fabricated products, various material handling equipment and machines are used to make the work easier and more efficient. However, workers who are not careful with material handling equipment often end up getting injured.

Safety managers have to train employees and provide the necessary knowledge needed when it comes to the use of material handling equipment and ensure that safe work practices are established at the metal fabrication shop or facility. All safety procedures must be followed across all stages of metal fabrication, from receiving raw materials to fabrication processes and warehousing of finished products.

What are OSHA’s Safety Procedures Regarding Personal Protective Equipment?

OSHA’s Safety Procedures

Over the years, a lot of emphasis has been put on the need for employees in the metal fabrication industry to wear the right personal protective equipment. What PPE gear is required? Are their specific regulatory procedures to follow? These are some of the OSHA safety questions in the industry. OSHA requires every employer to determine what PPE is necessary for their workers and each task after carrying out a thorough workplace risk assessment.

Even when workers use their own protective equipment, employers are required by law to be responsible for providing the correct PPE gear and ensuring proper use, care, maintenance and storage of the protective equipment. Some of the key areas of concern when it comes to personal protective wear include respiratory protection, eye and face protection, head, foot and hand protection as well as the proper selection and provision of PPE gear for workers.

Here’s a general overview of OSHA standards regarding personal protective equipment:

  • A hazard assessment must be done across the workplace to identify workers at risk
  • The right PPE must be selected based on the assessment and employee requirements
  • Employees must be trained on the proper use of PPE
  • Regular inspections must be done to ensure compliance procedures are being followed
  • Proper equipment care, maintenance and storage must be prioritized
  • Ongoing employee training on changing safety dynamics and updates must be done
  • Safety managers can seek OSHA assistance in implementing a workplace safety program

Employers must provide hand protection gloves for welding and other metal work, head protection in the form of helmets and hardhats, foot protection to avoid slipping and foot injuries, eye and face protection in the form of safety glasses and full-face shields, ear protection in the form of earbuds and earmuffs to prevent hearing loss and respiratory protection in the form of facemasks and other respirators to protect workers from toxic gases, dust, airborne chemicals and other particulates that could be inhaled when working on metal.

How Should Toxic and Hazardous Substances be Handled?

Exposure to toxic and hazardous substances is a great concern in the metal fabrication industry, with companies being fined over $250,000. Violations have largely been in the area of hexavalent chromium safety. Exposure to toxic metals can adversely affect the health of workers. Other metals that pose a health hazard to workers in metal fabrication include Arsenic, Beryllium, Cadmium, Lead, Asbestos, Mercury and others. Are there OSHA safety regulations regarding the question of toxic materials?

OSHA provides specific regulations and safety requirements for each of these toxic and hazardous substances. Metal fabrication companies must identify the types of toxic materials that their workers could be exposed to when working on different types of metals and fabrication processes. Once the risks have been identified, proper safety and health measures must be put in place to protect workers against any exposure. This means investing in approved respiratory equipment that must be worn by workers at all times in areas of exposure.

What are the Safety Procedures for Welding, Cutting and Brazing?

afety Procedures for Welding

Welding, brazing and cutting are some of the most dangerous tasks in commercial metal fabrication. The processes create fumes, some level of radiation and other hazards. OSHA has in place a full set of safety regulations that detail the best safe work practices and procedures that should be followed by employees. They include:

  • Operating in a safe working environment with detailed work procedures
  • Clear oversight of what should be done and how it should be done
  • Welding, cutting and brazing equipment maintenance
  • Safe storage of welding and cutting gases and supplies when not in use
  • Safety procedures for each type of welding and metal fabrication process
  • Proper PPE, fire protection, ventilation and health protection procedures

Just like other OSHA safety questions, the answer to avoiding OSHA citations lies in understanding OSHA requirements in the first place. After that, metal fabricators can now develop suitable safety programs and train employees so they can fully understand the workplace hazards and what they must do to protect themselves. Developing the right safety program is key to reducing accidents, injuries and health complications in the workplace.

The Bottomline

Looking at recent OSHA citations in the metal fabrication industry, company owners and management should have a better understanding of where to focus their compliance efforts. Hazard communication in the workplace is also a key OSHA requirement for every employer. To ensure your workplace is safe, it’s important to conduct regular inspections and maintenance procedures to repair and replace any faulty equipment or machinery.

Metal fabrication procedures involve several well-known safety risks and concerns but by understanding these key OSHA safety questions and managing the risks within your workplace will help prevent injuries and boost employee morale. It’s also important to support employees by helping them develop a better sense of situational awareness, safety communication skills and instill a positive safety culture.

Leading the Way in OSHA Safety Standards Compliance

At Metal Supply, a LADBS fabricator company in Los Angeles, we prioritize on worker safety and have the most comprehensive safety program to protect our employees. Our mission is to continue leading the way in offering quality metal fabrication and steel supply solutions, backed by exceptional turnkey service and customer service. Talk to us to discuss your metal fabrication needs.

Construction Technology: 10 Commercial Construction Trends

Commercial construction

Every new year, construction experts begin focusing their attention on new developments and trends in the industry. The commercial construction industry has seen dramatic shifts and dynamic changes, especially within the last decade. With new building technologies, integrated workforce management trends and improved project planning and delivery methods, we expect to see more changes transforming how construction is done today.

With growing demand for more innovative and sustainable construction, experts in the industry are quickly adapting to new commercial construction trends and developments. According to a Construct Connect report, a 6.3% growth forecast was expected this 2017 from 2016, with up to 7.2% more spending expected on construction going into 2018. A huge driver of this growth and increased spending in the industry is the adoption of new construction technology and trends.

While there is still a feeling of uncertainty looming over the industry, despite the positive gains, we see construction trends in the commercial sector dominating the conversations and shaping the industry. Here are our top ten new technologies and trends to look out for this coming year.

1. Collaborative Project Delivery

With design-build processes becoming more integrated, collaborative project delivery is becoming more common. Experts in the building and construction industry are increasingly embracing project team collaboration. This commercial construction trend has been at the forefront in 2017 and is expected to gain more ground in the coming years.

Organizing design-build thoughts and ideas between owner-architect-contractor allow better project collaboration and execution. Consolidating the entire design and construction phase into one contract helps collectively determine the key project goals, costs, project risks and compensation. Collaborative design-build ensures faster product delivery.

2. Smart Buildings

Internet of Things (IoT) as a technology is fast changing how things are connected in our everyday lives. Smart buildings are quickly becoming the main focus in modern commercial construction. Construction experts are using information technology to connect key building systems, people, devices and even the global environment, and the technology is quickly becoming one of the most adopted commercial construction trends today.

Smart Buildings

The application of the Internet of Things as a post-construction technology has seen the automation of processes that are key to building operation such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting and security in completed commercial buildings. The technology makes use of smart devices, microchips, sensors to collect data that manage it based on a building’s functionality.

While this construction technology is already widely used in the residential sector, the technology is also becoming more prevalent in the commercial construction industry as business owners and facility managers look for ways to optimize their use of space, minimize environmental impact and reduce energy usage.

3. CNC Solutions for Building

With growing demand to simplify today’s more complex commercial building process, architects and designers are using CNC machines to produce accurate scale models of proposed construction projects. Construction models often require an extremely high level of detail, and with the use of advanced CNC machining technology, construction experts are now able to complete precise models in a matter of days.

CNC machines are increasingly being used to create architectural elements, such as cabinetry, doors, moldings and casework for commercial construction projects. Walk into any commercial building today, and you’ll see some evidence of CNC machining as a commercial construction trend at every turn. With CNC building solutions, architects and designers can now reliably meet demand and stay on pace.

4. 3D and 5D Building Information Modeling Technology

Modern Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology has in the last few years gained more attention as construction experts look for dependable technology to create better building plans, produce faster building results and stay within budget. Part of this technology involves using additive manufacturing or 3D printing technology to provide more effective building solutions.

5D BIM is also being considered as a game-changer for the construction industry as it provides everyone involved in a construction project, including the client, a more accurate understanding of conceptual design as it applies to both the building project’s schedule and budget. It simply links 3D CAD components of standard BIM with cost-related data and project delivery timelines.

The combination of 3D and 5D Building Information Modeling allows construction experts to show clients in real-time how changes to building materials, layouts and other design elements impact the overall appearance of the building, construction schedule and cost of the build. This commercial construction trend helps create a more precise and clear project scope.

5. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Unmanned aerial vehicles or drones are yet another up-and-coming trend in the commercial construction industry. Construction experts are using drones to get real-time views as they monitor the progress of building projects. Using pre-determined flight paths, the drones are controlled remotely to help construction experts conduct site surveys by generating detailed maps, aerial photos and 3D images. This technology also helps ensure worksite safety.

6. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

A number of construction firms across the world are using the power of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to transform their building plans and structural layouts from the standard two-dimensional page into interactive layouts. This allows project owners to walk through projects and experience key elements of the building layout before the build even starts.

There is no doubt that VR and AR are one of the most talked-about commercial construction trends today as stakeholders embrace the technology to enhance collaboration in building projects. With immersive technology, construction teams can detect errors ahead of time to avoid costly mistakes.

7. Prefabrication/Modular Construction

While prefabrication has been in use for many years in the construction industry, new technologies and building practices that make prefabrication and modular construction even more refined are emerging. With building information modeling changing the way teams collaborate on projects, construction teams are now able to use prefabrication on a larger and more complex scale.

Prefabrication

The recent growth in green construction technology has also impacted the use of the prefabrication technology in commercial construction. Using simulation technology, project teams can now design and construct buildings that are more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

8. Labor Shortage

This is one of the expected commercial construction trends that construction stakeholders have been watching over the last decade. Unfortunately, things are only getting worse as more construction firms struggle with finding qualified workers. Construction labor shortage is one of the bigger concerns that continues to plague the industry, and the hardest hit areas are those with the highest demand for construction.

9. Rising Construction Costs

Industry experts have also cited escalating costs of doing business as one of the growing trends this year. With rising labor and construction material costs, construction firms will likely struggle to consistently maintain their margins in the coming year. The construction industry has been expecting this after a few years of relatively flat growth.

10. Green Building Technology

As construction firms lean more towards sustainable construction, green building technology as a commercial construction trend is gaining more attention in the industry. Construction firms are putting more resources into the structuring and application of building processes that are more environmentally friendly and resource-efficient throughout a building’s lifecycle. Sustainable building techniques are being applied from planning to design, operation, construction, maintenance, renovation and even demolition projects.

Conclusion

Steel supply

Commercial construction firms must continuously adapt to new developments and changes in the industry to remain competitive. Construction firms should stay up-to-date with new and upcoming trends in the industry and align them with their project goals. New construction technology is paving the way for more efficient project delivery.

Additionally, reliable supply of construction materials and the need for design-build consultations that adapt to the latest commercial construction trends is critical to ensuring smooth project delivery. If you’re looking for reliable supply chain solutions for your aluminum and steel construction projects, contact Metal Supply for unmatched service delivery.

Inside the Process: How to Make Aluminum

How to Make Aluminum

Aluminum is the most common metal in the world. It’s strong, lightweight, non-toxic and non-magnetic, making it useful in a wide range of applications across different industrial sectors. The metal is found only in chemical compounds with other elements like oxygen, sulphur and silicon. Pure aluminum doesn’t occur naturally and can only be economically produced from aluminum oxide ore. So, how is aluminum made?

Unlike metals like iron which are simply melted to separate the compounds, the aluminum production process is much more complex than that. The process can be broken down into different stages. Below, we’re going to discuss how to make aluminum in a step-by-step process.

Bauxite Mining

There are different ores available in the world from which aluminum can be obtained, but the most useful for producing pure aluminum is called bauxite. Bauxite is primarily made of aluminum oxide, up to 50%, with a mixture of other minerals like iron and other metals and sand. While some bauxite ore deposits are mainly made of hard rock, most deposits consist of relatively soft dirt that’s dug from open-pit mines.

The usual color of bauxite when being mined is brick red, brown or flaming red because of the iron oxide. Approximately 90% of bauxite deposits in the world are found in tropical and subtropical regions, with about 73% of the world’s deposits found in Australia, Brazil, Guinea, India and Jamaica. Guinea leads with the largest supply of bauxites and the deposits there are of the highest quality with minimal amounts of admixtures.

Bauxite Mining

In the open-pit mines, special equipment is used to cut layers of the surface, with the rock or dirt containing the bauxite being transported to a processing plant. However, in some places like Russia’s Cheremkhovskaya-Deep mine in the Urals, one of the deepest mines in the world, the aluminum ore, bauxite has to be mined from deep underground mines that have to be built to reach the ore.

Alumina Production

The next production stage is the processing of the mined bauxite into alumina or aluminum oxide, which is usually a whitish powder. The most widely used process for making alumina is known as the Bayer Process, which was first discovered over 100 years ago but still remains in wide use across the world, with around 90% of alumina refineries still using it. The process is generally very efficient but can only be used when dealing with high-quality bauxite.

To understand the alumina production, as part of understanding how to make aluminum, we’re going to go through the main steps involved:

  • The bauxite ore is crushed and mixed with caustic soda.
  • Processing is done in grinding mills to produce a watery suspension or slurry mixture containing fine particles of the bauxite ore.
  • The slurry is then pumped into a huge digester, where it’s heated to 110-270 degrees Celsius under a pressure of 340 kPa for up to half an hour to seven hours.
  • Additional caustic soda may also be added to the slurry to ensure that all aluminum-containing compounds are property dissolved.
  • The hot slurry, now a sodium aluminate solution, is then passed through a series of flash tanks where the pressure is reduced and heat recovered for use in the refining process.
  • The slurry is then pumped into a settling tank where it rests inside a tank.
  • Impurities that don’t dissolve in the caustic soda usually settle to the bottom of the tank while the alumina dissolves in the caustic soda.
  • The residue that accumulates at the bottom of the tank is known as red mud and contains fine sand, iron oxide and other metal elements like titanium.
  • The remaining material after impurities have settled is then filtered to remove the remaining fine particles and the material washed to retrieve the alumina and caustic soda which is reused.

While the recovered alumina usually has an unlimited shelf life, it has to be stored under the right conditions to avoid absorbing moisture. Most alumina manufacturers often ship it off to smelters immediately after production. Some producers also use a far less common method of production called sintering where the bauxite is sintered with soda and lime.

These two elements often bind the silica into insoluble silicates that can then be separated from the alumina easily. This process is, however, more energy-intensive that the Bayer process but is ideal for making alumina from bauxites that contain a high content of toxic silica admixtures.

Red Mud

Red Mud

The thick reddish-brown paste that is recovered from the alumina production process is often disposed of in specially designated and isolated areas which are designed to prevent any seepage of alkali into groundwater. When the disposal area is filled up, usually the area is covered with dirt, sand or ash and specific plants and trees planted. Such areas can be reclaimed after several years.

Cryolite

To create the right environment for aluminum production, another component known as cryolite is necessary. Considering that it’s a rare natural fluoride mineral, it’s manufactured artificially to be used in the aluminum production process called electrolysis. It’s made by mixing aluminum hydroxide, hydrofluoric acid and soda.

Aluminum Production

Having mined bauxite, made alumina from it and stockpiled cryolite, we’re now in the last stage of understanding how to make aluminum: electrolytic reduction. The reduction process is the heart of the aluminum production process. The reduction area is uniquely designed and consists of several rectangular buildings that can sometimes be as long as one kilometer. Inside these buildings, there are hundreds of reduction cells or pots that are usually arranged in rows and connected to power sources via massive cables.

A constant voltage of between 4 and 6 volts and amperage of 300,400 KA and more is sustained at the electrodes of each reduction cell. The electric current is the main production force behind the production of aluminum. The reduction process is largely automated. Aluminum is produced from the alumina in each of the reduction cells, via the electrolytic reduction process. The cells are filled up with molten cryolite to create a conducive environment at a temperature of 950 degrees Celsius.

The electric current flowing through the reduction cells break down the bond between the aluminum and oxygen, resulting in the aluminum settling at the bottom of the cells and forming a layer of 10-15 cm deep while the oxygen binds with the carbon to form carbon dioxide. A new portion of alumina is fed into the cells every thirty minutes, while aluminum is extracted from the cells two to four times a day using special vacuum buckets. When full, the buckets are then taken to the casthouse.

It’s important to note that for every one tonne of aluminum produced, about 280,000 cubic meters of gases are emitted. Each reduction cell is usually fitted with a gas removal system that redirects the gases to a gas treatment plant. Huge amounts of electric power are required in the aluminum reduction process. That’s why most companies producing aluminum rely on renewable energy sources that don’t pollute the environment.

Casthouse

Casthouse

At this stage, the aluminum that is transported to the casthouse still contains compounds like silicon, iron, copper and others. Even the smallest amounts of admixtures can significantly impact the properties of aluminum. To remove these admixtures, the aluminum is remelted in a special furnace at 800 degrees Celsius in the casthouse. After this, the pure aluminum is them cast into special moulds that are allowed to solidify. Aluminum is given the required shape and chemical composition at the casthouse.

Aluminum ingots can weigh from 6 to 22.5kg on the lower end and up to 30-tonne slabs that can be up to 11.5 meters length. Customers can have aluminum delivered to them, after which they can add their own compounds and recast them in different shapes and sizes that suit their applications. Other processes like extrusion are also used to produce aluminum that is used to manufacture the majority of aluminum products in the market.

Aluminum Recycling

One of the best things about aluminum is that it retains its original properties even after processing, meaning that aluminum products can be easily recycled into new products. Aluminum scrap is actively collected all over the world, largely reducing the huge amount of energy needed to produce primary aluminum. Most of the aluminum being used both in the construction sector and even the consumer market such as the manufacturing of beverage cans today is as a result of recycling efforts.

Aluminum Supply

Aluminum Supply

Metal Supply is a leading aluminum supplier based in Los Angeles and is dedicated to supplying high-quality aluminum. We help you complete precision fabrication projects of every scale and are committed to being your long-term metal fabrication and supply partner. Whether you need large-scale aluminum supply for a construction project or fabricated aluminum products for industrial applications, feel free to contact our sales team at Metal Supply.

The Process of Steel Tube Supplying and Manufacturing

stainless_steel_seamless_pipe_and_tube

Los Angeles Steel Tube Supplier

Steel tubes and pipes are widely used today for different purposes in different industries. Due to its resistance to both high temperatures and corrosion, steel tubing is widely used in applications where longevity and resilience are critical. From the construction industry where it’s used in architectural projects like railing along staircases, industrial applications in the water, gas and sewage industries to the medical industry, applications seem endless.

There are different types of steel tubes produced in the market today for use in various industries. These include steel pipes and tubes, fence tubes, austenitic tubes, aluminized tubes, martensitic tubes, ferritic tubes, u-bend tubes and heat-resistant tubes. While a steel tube supplier may offer different steel tube products, the thickness, shape and size of steel tubes produced is often determined by the needs of a client and their specific application.

Just like the production of other steel products, steel tubes have to undergo a specific manufacturing process to ensure that the end product meets the highest quality standards for supply or client requirements for a finished product. Here’s what you should know about the process of steel tubing supplying and manufacturing.

Steel Tube Manufacturing Process

Operators in the steel tube manufacturing industry produce welded, riveted and seamless steel pipes and tubes from purchased steel. Clients may order specific steel pipe products, drill pipes and pipe casings or mechanical or structural tube and pipe products. The steel tubing manufacturing process may vary depending on what a client needs.

Steel Purchasing and Loading

Quality control is at the core of any steel product manufacturing process. Steel tubing or piping manufacturers utilize a series of quality-controlled processes that ensure that the end product meets your specifications and exceeds your expectations. It all begins with the purchase and selection of the best raw materials.

Steel tube manufacturers use only the highest-quality, continuous-cast, control-rolled, fully killed, fine-grain and low-carbon steel. This coiled skelp is usually sourced from some of the most reputable and reliable suppliers in the market. Once the skelp inventory is purchased, it’s cross-checked against supplier documentation as received for record keeping purposes.

The steel coils are then staged for entry according to order requirements, verified against database information and then loaded into the mill using a dual cone uncoiler to begin the manufacturing process.

Edging

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Before any steel tubing manufacturing begins, a client’s project may require a specific edge or edge conditioning. A steel tube supplier will use their edging capabilities to deliver a round or partial or full square skived edge for your steel tubing needs. Skelp edges are milled or sheared to pre-specified widths and the lead edge of each steel coil is squared for threading into the mill.

Pre-edged skelps are also provided by metal suppliers. It’s important to consult with your supplier about how the edging process will affect your steel tubing application. Custom edging is provided to fit specific customer profiles.

Forming

Forming is another critical step of the steel tube manufacturing process. Steel tube suppliers utilize modern mill edge-forming systems to ensure controlled skelp shaping. Unlike years ago when rolling mill technology was the only method available to manufacture stainless steel tubes or pipes for industrial applications, today, newer developments and technology are now being used in the manufacturing of steel tubes.

Continuous tube mill technology using multi-torch tungsten inert gas is one of the latest technologies being used for steel tube manufacturing. Other innovations including pre-form stands, cage and internal forming as well as fin pass stands that allow for a more precise steel tube cylinder. Rolling and welding are involved in this process.

Steel strips are fed to the tube mills and pass through a number of rollers as per the required size. The strips are then converted into tubular shapes. A high-frequency welding machine is also used in the forming process to properly examine and make necessary adjustments based on the required weld parameters, including alignment, speed, temperature and trim removal.

Cleaning and Heating

The rolled stainless steel tubes are then cut to the required lengths depending on a client’s industrial demands. The tubes and pipes then have to be subjected to a cleaning process to get rid of any dirt. During this process, a heat treatment is also involved in removing any stresses that may have occurred during the forming and welding processes.

Heat treatment or weld seam annealing is usually given on the continuously rolling steel processing hearth furnace. The temperature in the furnace is usually measured and recorded by an optical pyrometer that is linked to the mill computer system to help control the annealing process. After heat treatment is completed, the steel tubes are then straightened and also undergo a pickling process that helps remove scales that may be on the steel tubing surface.

Sizing/Cutting

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To ensure that steel tubes meet or exceed industry specifications and additional standards as specified by a customer, a steel tube supplier will ensure quality sizing and cutting of steel tubes and pipes. Different sizing stands, a straightening stand and a rotary cutoff machine are used to size and cut tubes to exact length. A unique identification is automatically assigned to each piece of steel tube that is cut by the mill machine to ensure accuracy for customer orders.

The required steel tube size may not always be obtained from the mill directly. To obtain the desired size, the cold-drawing process is used, where the tube is drawn over the milling bench using die plugs. The formed steel tubes or pipes are coated with a lubricant such as soap or oxalic solution help reduce friction as the cold drawing process is carried out.

Preliminary Inspection

To ensure compliance with specified steel tubing manufacturing requirements, a steel tube supplier will ensure that each pipe is visually inspected before moving to the next finishing process. Preliminary inspection is vital in identifying any manufacturing flaws or processing issues that could lead to order cancellation or low standard end-user products.

Every piece of steel tube or pipe that has been processed up to this point is transferred to an ultrasonic inspection station where it’s carefully inspected for correct mill feedback prior to being routed back into the next processing step. Preliminary inspections are common in any steel manufacturing process and form a key part of internal testing and quality control measures.

Finishing Process

The finishing process may involve further cleaning, pickling, heat treatment and straightening depending on a customer’s specifications. Each steel tube is precisely machined on both ends according to the latest API 5L bevel requirements or customer requirements. Processed steel tubes are then marked using a computerized inkjet machine. The markings include the steel grade used, size, heat number as well as the stamp of a third-party inspection before the finished steel tubes or pipes are passed on to steel tubing suppliers or exporters.

Steel tubes are not only used for domestic work but also for construction of numerous devices, satellites, space stations and various medical equipment, machines and surgical tools. Whether you need basic steel tubing for general applications or special steel tube types and sizes, suppliers and manufacturers can deliver orders according to your finishing requirements.

Final Inspection

Further quality checks and tests must be conducted at the final stage before the steel tubes, or pipes are supplied to metal distributors or delivered to customers. The finished steel tubes are routed through a number of tests including an ultrasonic weld inspection, a hydrostatic test, a wall thickness verification, an end finish check, a straightness evaluation and an inside and outside tubing surface visual inspection.

Other tests can also be conducted depending on the type of steel used for manufacturing, selected tubes or upon a customer’s inspection or testing request. The final inspection is a critical step before steel tube packaging, and dispatch is done by the steel tube supplier.

Steel Tubing Supply Process

 

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When it comes to steel tube or pipe supply, proper measuring and coding are vital to ensure a smooth shipping and delivery process. Each steel tube is properly weighed, measured, bar-coded and stenciled for complete and easy identification and traceability upon shipment. All steel tubing characteristics can easily be verified against available database order information before they’re sent to shipping or even upon customer request once delivered.

Quality Steel Tubing and Piping Supply

Whether it’s round, rectangular or square steel tubing, steel is the material of choice for domestic, construction, manufacturing and medical industries. Not only does steel tubing provide the support in many commercial structures and residential buildings but many of today’s equipment, machines, instruments and even technology are built upon a framework of steel tubing.

At Metal Supply, we’ve supplied these and other industries with steel tubes and pipes since 1961. Our catalog is filled with high-quality steel tubing products that are certain to meet even your most demanding requirements. If you’re looking for a dedicated steel tube supplier, get in touch with us today.

The Process of Stainless Steel Supplying and Manufacturing

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Top Los Angeles Stainless Steel Supplier

Stainless steel is one of the most widely used metals in the manufacturing industry. Many companies in various industrial sectors such as construction and product manufacturing rely on stainless steel to deliver both unfinished and finished products for metal fabrication projects and a wide range of applications including building and roofing, bulk material handling equipment, automobile components, chemical processing plants, water supply piping and shipbuilding.

Stainless steel continues to lead the way as the material of choice in the construction and manufacturing industries due to a number of advantages that it offers.

  • High-strength and ductility capabilities
  • Excellent resistance to corrosion
  • Low maintenance
  • Life cycle costing benefits
  • 100% recyclable
  • Excellent high and low-temperature properties
  • Aesthetic surface finish
  • Non-magnetic
  • Resistant to unsightly staining

Manufacturers looking for steel products need to choose the right stainless steel product form to suit their project needs. From flat and long products to semi-finished, rolled and finished products, there are different options when it comes to stainless steel production. Your stainless steel supplier should have in place a reliable process of stainless steel supply and manufacturing to meet your specific needs and requirements.

Here’s what you should know about the process of stainless steel supply and manufacturing:

Sourcing of Raw Materials

Stainless steel is mainly made of iron core and other earth elements such as chromium, silicon, nickel, nitrogen, manganese and carbon. Usually, the properties and overall quality of the final stainless steel alloy is tailored by varying the amounts of each of these elements. For instance, nitrogen helps improve corrosion resistance and ductility properties of stainless steel.

Almost 80% of the stainless steel used today will be recycled into new steel, making stainless steel one of the most recycled material in the world. Almost every stainless steel supplier that supplies steel products for manufacturing and construction relies on large volumes of steel scrap as raw material to meet the growing needs for quality stainless steel supply.

At arrival, steel scrap is tested to ensure there are no radioactive elements. The steel is then tested again, analyzed and sorted according to its specific alloying content to determine if the chemical composition is right to produce stainless steel.

The Melt Shop

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When it comes to the production of stainless steel, the processing of steel alloys and scraps in the melt shop is the first step. Depending on the capabilities of the steelworks and the type of stainless steel needed, there are typically four main steps taken in a melt shop before the stainless steel manufacturing process begins.

  • Melting of raw materials, scraps and ferro-alloys in an electric arc furnace
  • Removal of specific elements like carbon, sulphur and nitrogen in a steel converter
  • Tuning of the steel composition and temperature in ladle treatment
  • Casting of stainless steel slabs or ingots into manageable sizes

The Manufacturing Process

Stainless steel manufacturing involves a series of processes. Before the actual manufacturing process begins, a stainless steel supplier, in consultation with clients, has to make decisions regarding the exact constituents and their compositions to ensure that the stainless steel manufactured meets the demands of specific applications. A lot of work, science and technology, is involved in building a stainless steel product from the ground up.

Here are some of the most critical steps in the manufacturing of stainless steel:

Melting and Casting

The raw materials that constitute stainless steel are placed together and melted in a huge electric furnace. This step involves exposing the raw materials to intense heat for up to 8 to 2 hours. After the melting process is done, the molten steel is then cast or molded into the desired semi-finished forms or shapes like round or square billets, slabs, rectangular blooms, tube rounds and rods.

Forming

In the second stainless steel manufacturing process, the semi-finished products are then subjected to a series of forming operations to create products that are suitable for different types of applications. This process involves both hot rolling and cold rolling the stainless steel to achieve and refine specific properties.

For instance, when stainless steel is hot rolled or heated and passed through enormous rolls, the billets or blooms formed can then be converted to stainless steel bars or wire. Slabs can be formed into stainless steel sheets, strips and plates. Semi-finished shapes can easily be formed into bars, which are the most versatile stainless steel form because they come in different sizes and grades including round, hexagonal, square and octagonal.

Heat-Treatment

Heat treatment or annealing is a critical stainless steel manufacturing process. This process involves heating and cooling the steel under controlled conditions that help reduce internal stresses and soften the stainless steel metal further to make it suitable for a wide variety of applications. Some types of steel are heat treated or age hardened to improve their high-strength capabilities.

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It’s important to note that even small changes in the heat treatment of steel, from the recommended time, temperature and even the cooling rate can significantly affect the properties of the stainless steel produced. The type of heat treatment used usually depends on the type of steel: ferritic, austenitic or martensitic, that your stainless steel supplier is working with.

Sometimes, cleaning steel part surfaces to get rid of any contaminants is sometimes required to achieve a more effective heat treatment of the steel. For thicker steel sections, water quenching is used for cooling while air blasting or cooling is used for thinner steel sections.

Descaling

The heat treatment or the annealing process of producing stainless steel often causes a scale or build-up on the steel. Several steps are taken to get rid of the scale, through a process known as descaling. One of the methods involves pickling, where a nitric-hydrofluoric acid bath is used to remove the scale. Electrocleaning, where an electric current is applied to the surface of the steel using a cathode and phosphoric acid can also be used to remove the scale.

Depending on the type of steel being produced, annealing and descaling processes can be applied at different stages. For instance, stainless steel wire and bar have to go through further forming processes like additional hot rolling and forging before being annealed and descaled. Stainless steel sheets and strips have to be annealed and descaled immediately after the initial hot rolling process.

Right after the cold rolling process which passes the formed steel through rolls at a relatively lower temperature, reducing the thickness of the steel, the stainless steel has to be annealed and descaled again, after which a final cold rolling process is done again to ensure the steel is ready for final processing.

Cutting

Once the semi-finished stainless steel forms are heat treated and descaled, they are cut into specific shapes. Mechanical cutting is the most widely used method. Stainless steel forms can be blanked using blanking punches and dies, straight-sheared using guillotine knives, sawed using high-speed blades or circle sheared using circular knives.

Other methods used in stainless steel cutting include plasma jet cutting which uses an ionized gas column together with an electric arc to cut the steel or a flame-fired torch powered by oxygen, propane and iron powder. The desired shape of the stainless steel forms often determines the type of cutting method used.

Finishing

Surface finishing is a critical process of stainless steel manufacture. When it comes to producing stainless steel products where the appearance of the final product matters, the right finishing processes have to be done. Surface finishing makes steel easier to clean, and a smoother surface also improves corrosion resistance properties. The polishing grade of the stainless steel also varies according to the final use of the product.

On the other hand, rough stainless steel finishes are needed for lubrication purposes or to facilitate other steel manufacturing steps. Different methods of steel surface finishing are used to achieve the desired aesthetically appealing appearance. Some of the finishing methods involve dry-etching using sandblasting, wet-etching using acid solutions, grinding or polishing using grinding wheels or abrasive belts.

Metal Fabrication for End-User Applications

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Depending on the needs of a customer, the stainless steel may undergo further metal fabrication processes like welding to finish the product as per the client’s requirements. Once all the processes have been completed, the stainless steel metal is ready to be shipped to suppliers. You should note that the manufacturing process of stainless steel can differ depending on the product being produced.

The forming and casting methods used are usually different for the type of the alloy being used. The shape of the final product is also taken into consideration when producing stainless steel. Due to the useful properties of stainless steel, it’s the preferred material for manufacturing various products.

Quality Metal Fabrication and Supply

Working with the right metal fabricator and stainless steel supplier is important for any company that relies on the reliable supply of quality stainless steel forms to produce steel products. At Metal Supply, we provide stainless steel fabrication and supply solutions that are tailored to customer requirements. Whether you need large scale metal supply or turnkey solutions for your steel fabrication project, Metal Supply is ready to assist you.

US Infrastructure Needs: Why the US Needs to Invest in Infrastructure

The Impact of Increasing Infrastructure Investment

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Infrastructure investment is one of the key foundations for a strong economy. In the last one year, there has been growing talk about the need to improve U.S. infrastructure. In fact, the topic was a major area of focus during the 2016 elections and still remains a major priority for the current administration. While the discussions have been quite consistent, especially regarding the need for a broad infrastructure bill, there’s still a lot of work to be done to address US infrastructure needs.

There is no doubt that the condition of roads, airports, water treatment plants, bridges and other physical assets have a great impact on an economy’s ability to function and achieve sustainable growth. Two-thirds of roads across the U.S. are in poor condition and a quarter of bridges need major repairs. In short, the cracks in America’s infrastructure are glaring.

Why exactly should the U.S invest in infrastructure now?

It will Improve the Economy Now and in The Future

The majority of infrastructure development plans are handled by states and local governments. Facilitating US infrastructure investment that goes towards improving existing infrastructure and building new infrastructure across the country will no doubt improve the economy of states and the country as a whole, now and in the future. More efficient and high-quality infrastructure boosts productivity, therefore lifting long-term growth and wages.

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In the short term, infrastructure investment would provide immediate job opportunities for millions of Americans. Although employment numbers have been recovering over the last few years, major investments in infrastructure would likely result in an upsurge in job opportunities, and this is what many people need at a time when millions are earning less than they should, to get by. Addressing US infrastructure needs now will result in a vibrant economy.

Opportunities to Finance Infrastructure Are Available

While investment in public infrastructure if falling, there are stable investment opportunities provided both by private-public sector partnerships as well as the massive investment power that states have in the hands, of course with proper facilitation. States often pay for building roads, ports schools, airports and other vital infrastructure largely through debt, which is the most effective practice for financing infrastructure development.

Today, state and local debt is well below pre-recession levels. States are enjoying historically low-interest rates that make borrowing favorable. However, the Federal Reserve is already raising interest rates, meaning that states may have a smaller window of opportunity to consider long-term investments. There are other ways to raise money for investments through other sources like tolls, user fees and well as federal grants to meet US infrastructure needs.

States are in a Pretty Good Position to Invest in Infrastructure

Experts agree that state and local governments are the primary drivers of the country’s infrastructure. Additionally, most states are a relatively strong position to invest in infrastructure. While state revenues may have slowed down in the past one year, the recovery over the last few years has helped improve state revenues.

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However, the biggest challenge in implementing US infrastructure investment plans is that revenues are not enough to adequately cover other vital costs like healthcare and education. The country may have to consider increasing taxes to preserve public capital that is critical to ensuring long-term, sustainable economic growth while also covering other needs.

The Private Sector Has a Role to Play

Now more than ever, the government needs to shift major investments like infrastructure from its coffers to the private sector. Public-private partnerships are playing a bigger role in investment globally, but a lot has to be done to ensure favorable enterprise regulations, user charges and political consensus that often hinder full investment implementation.

When effective, public-private partnerships can greatly reduce the implementation time of large infrastructure projects. Some good examples across the country include the I-595 highway in Florida, the Long Beach Courthouse in California and the expansion of Seagirt Maritime Terminal in Baltimore.

Conclusion

On top of the economic benefits, increasing investment in public infrastructure can improve the quality of life, increase opportunities and even have a positive impact on the environment. While US infrastructure needs will continue growing, it’s important to understand that spending more on physical infrastructure alone is not enough to achieve higher growth.

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Both the federal and state governments have to encourage innovation in other critical sectors such as the steel industry that is the core driver of the construction industry. According to experts at Metal Supply, a leading metal fabrication and steel and aluminum supplier, spending proposals must build in plans that look at different ways that US infrastructure investment will encourage growth in other sectors.

If you’re an industry player involved in infrastructure projects that require structural steel or aluminum, Metal Supply supplies the widest range of quality metal products.

CNC Machine Fabrication for Businesses | Metal Supply

How A CNC Machine Can Help You And Your Business

Whether you have a business that deals directly with metal or you have a business that relies on metal structures to function, CNC machines and the parts they create are a tremendous advantage. By allowing you to precisely fabricate the materials you need, a CNC machine is what lets you push the design envelope, uninhibited by the limitations of slower and less consistent processes. If your business is looking for a CNC machine in Los Angeles, contact us today to see how our state-of-the-art equipment can transform your business and help drive innovation.

What Is A Modern CNC Machine Process?

Modern CNC machines are high-tech tools that let industry, technology, and, in some cases, art meet in the middle. Typically, a design is drawn in CAD (Computer Aided Design) software. This allows the designer to create a digital 3D representation of the structure or material. This design is then encoded, usually using G-Code, an industry standard language, into instructions the CNC machine can understand. The machine uses these instructions to create the finished product, perfectly matching the designer’s parameters.

Modern CNC machines can operate on multiple axis lines. There are CNC machines that use familiar, mechanical tools such as saw blades, drill bits, and cutting heads, but some now fabricate using lasers, plasma cutters, and other more modern production methods. This ability to keep up with modern technology allows CNC machining to evolve with the times and grow with the needs of their customers.

What Benefits Can A CNC Machine Provide Me?

Cost-effective Prototyping - Especially in a competitive market like Los Angeles, a CNC machine can help you control your development costs. By giving you precise, easily produced and replicated prototypes at a reasonable price, you are able to evaluate your design without the financial risk of commissioning an individual, traditionally created fabrication through manual processes. Best of all, the same instructions that made a successful prototype can be reused.
Small Batch Production - Not every part or material needs thousands of copies. CNC machines are perfect for those who need small, manageable production runs. While not completely autonomous, CNC machines can tirelessly fabricate without the need for rest human craftspeople need. This allows for an efficient 24/7 operation.
Decorative Trim And Fixtures - The precision of CNC machines allows for finer detailing of materials. CNC machines have the ability to cut, drill, bevel, mill, or finish items based on the designer’s vision. This gives you a wide range of options in developing decorative metal accents or making functional metal pieces look as well as they work.
Custom Fabrication - CNC machines allow for the custom creation of metal components, making one-off production a more affordable prospect when compared to more traditional, manual production techniques.
Easy To Assemble Structures - One of the largest CNC machine applications is the creation of stable, easy to assemble structural supports for construction products. Beams can be cut, formed, and drilled on a CNC machine for easy and quick assembly on site. This not only allows for faster erection of structures but helps eliminate dangerous errors in manufacture.

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What Is It That Makes A Perfect CNC Machine Partner?

Not every business has the need or the capital to purchase their own CNC machine. Sometimes, the better choice is to find a local company that can offer you the CNC machine services you need to excel. Here’s what to look for in your metal fabricating partner

An Authority - A CNC is a specialized system that melds technology and manufacturing into one device. Make sure the contractor you choose has the experience to do the job right. For 55 years we have fabricated metal materials to our customers’ specifications, and we look forward to many more.
Where You Need Them - Many of the financial benefits of CNC machine fabrication can be lost in high shipping fees. We are the Los Angeles CNC machine solution, proudly serving the greater LA area.
Fast Turn Around - You would rather not pay a crew to stand around and wait for materials to arrive. Your CNC machine contractor should have the ability to set and meet deadlines for your projects. We pride ourselves on keeping our word and may be able to offer next-day fabrication for your project’s needs.
The Right Price -  You need the right material delivered to your specifications, but you also need it at a price that fits your budget. We offer competitive prices backed by world-class customer service.
Metal Supply Incorporated Is Your Los Angeles CNC Machine Expert

We have the knowledge and experience to help your business harness the full potential of CNC machining. We help our customers grow their business by offering competitively priced, professional CNC machine services for projects of every size. Are you ready to see what CNC fabrication can do for you? Choose a metal supply company that has the materials and know-how you need. Contact Metal Supply Incorporated today.

5 Commercial Uses For Aluminum

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Aluminum is one of the most useful metals available. Its unique properties make it well suited for commercial and industrial use, while the price of aluminum makes it competitive with other metal materials. The general public, however, is largely unaware of uses for aluminum beyond packaging.

The aluminum soda pop can and foil packaging are ubiquitous in the American food ecosystem. There is not a day that goes by that you fail to see one of these common options in the hands of consumers. But because these items are easily collapsible, they tend to give aluminum the reputation of being flimsy and fragile — though this is far from the truth. The very properties that allow a super thin sheet of metal to work so well, however, are the same properties that give us so many commercial applications of aluminum.

What Is Aluminum?

Aluminum is one of the most abundant elements on the planet but is rarely found in its pure metal form. Most often, it is found as a form of aluminum oxide or aluminum silicate. Once refined, it is often cast from billets into a usable form or rolled into sheets.The specific alloy composition is determined by the intended use of the final product.

What Properties Does Aluminum Have?

While the properties of a given aluminum composition are fine-tuned by the other elements alloyed with it, there are some properties that are constant and give us so many uses for aluminum.
Resistance To Corrosion – While pure aluminum is very reactive—which is why it is almost never found naturally occurring without silicon or oxygen—the processed aluminum you receive from a metal supplier is quite the opposite. This resistance to corrosion means less maintenance and less painting.
High Strength To Weight Ratio – The fact lost on most people when looking at aluminum foil or cans is the tensile strength necessary for a material that thin to bend, yet not easily break. Scaled up, this is the same property that keeps large jets in the sky and makes aluminum building materials some of the safest around.
Highly Conductive – While not as efficient as copper—aluminum is only about 63% as conductive—it is still an efficient conduction material. Once weight is factored in, it excels. When aluminum is compared to an equal weight of copper, it can transmit approximately twice as much energy.
Easy To Work – Aluminum is an easy metal to work with. It is very malleable and highly ductile, making it a convenient choice for fabrication or drawing into wires.
Thermal Resistance– Aluminum weathers high heat readily, resisting changes to shape and damage. It an efficient heat exchanger.

What Are The Commercial Applications Of Aluminum?

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These are some of the most common and important commercial applications of aluminum.
Construction – Between its resistances and high strength to weight ration, there are a myriad of uses for aluminum in most modern buildings. Railings, rods, doors, and wiring are all vital parts of the construction process that have been made lighter and stronger with aluminum. It’s easy to paint, form, and connect to other materials, making it the right choice around the jobsite.
Cooling Solutions – Aluminum is the most-used material for heat sinks in electronic devices. Heat is transferred via a thermal paste from the electronic component (such as a CPU) to a finned aluminum heat sink, where it dissipates into the air. Meanwhile, aluminum pipes and tubing help keep air conditioners running and fluids cycling thanks to their ability to withstand high pressures and temperatures without damage.
Long-distance Power Lines – While copper may be the standard in your home or office lines, long distance power lines require a different solution. Aluminum power lines are highly conductive but come with a lower weight, requiring fewer power poles without risking the power lines snapping under their own weight.
Lights, Signs, And Structures – Many large lighting solutions, such as those used in parking lots, are made with aluminum poles. It’s also the perfect material for sign poles and the signs themselves. Aluminum tubing has also been used to fabricate observation platforms, awnings, and lightweight bridges.
strong>Rolled Sheet Products – This is what creates the most visible commercial applications of aluminum, packages, and containers. While aluminum can be rolled into super thin foil for food packaging or thicker sheets for cans, it can also be rolled for use as weather and stress resistant surfaces, like the skin of a jumbo jet, lightweight roofing, or larger sheet fabrication projects.
Food Preparation – Aluminum pots and pans are a staple of the food service industry. Thanks to their light weight and low cost, many kitchens started with aluminum equipment. The corrosion resistance makes it perfect for storage and drinking containers.
Marketing Materials – Aluminum is cheap, easy to work, and takes graphics well. Aluminum water bottles, desk accessories, and medallions can be a cost-effective way to keep your customers thinking about you. Give them a durable, branded item they use every day, and they will know and rely on your brand.

Are Any Uses For Aluminum Right For Me?

If your business uses metal, relies on metal, or is looking for a sharp-looking metal solution for signage, aluminum can be the right choice for you. It’s cost-effective, and there is a composition available for your aluminum uses and needs.

How Do I Choose The Right Aluminum Supplier?

When choosing a supplier, make sure you choose a partner familiar with the various uses for aluminum. They can help make sure you get the right composition for your project. A supplier with experience may also be able to help with fabrication and provide some much-needed insight based on experience.

Metal Supply, Inc., has 55 years of experience serving the metal needs of the greater Los Angeles area. We have the right knowledge, materials, and experience to help you make your project successful. Contact us today for a quote for all your metal and fabrication needs.

Structural Steel Suppliers & Framing | How Does It Work?

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Safe buildings are essential, whether they are office buildings, industrial complexes, or residential structures. As the profit margins in construction and property management become ever thinner, there is a drive to make sure these structures give you the best possible return on your investment. Ensuring the safe, durable, and economical construction of your building begins with the materials you choose to use, which is why structural steel framingis so popular.

Structural steel suppliers are able to provide premium materials that enjoy a wide range of benefits over traditional wood construction. Steel can also be used in conjunction with wood to create hybrid structures, blending the best qualities of both. Structural steel should have a place in your next build.

What Is Structural Steel?

Structural steel is steel that is of the proper composition and shape to be used to create structures. The shapes are such that, due to the profile of the cross section, they provide the needed rigidity for their intended use. The composition is engineered to provide the right balance of hardness and flexibility through a delicate blend of alloys that impart the correct qualities for the steel’s use. Experienced structural steel suppliers can help make sure the steel you get is the best steel for your job.

Common Structural Steel Shapes
Beams – Beams are perhaps the most recognized structural steel framing shape. The cross sections of the classic I-beam, T-Beam, and Z-Shape bear a resemblance to their respective letters, with the design adding structural strength through its low second moments of area.
Hollow Structural Sections (HSS) – These structural members are hollow shapes, such as squares, circles, rectangles, and ellipses. They resemble pipes, but the shapes are chosen for their ability to distribute weight throughout the cross section rather than for their fluid carrying properties.
Rods – Metal with a solid circular or square shaped cross section produced in varying lengths. Rather than used as structural support alone, these are often used to reinforce other materials.
Plates – Large and flat, structural steel plate is thicker than 6mm or ¼-inch. Structural plate is also often used to add strength to other structures.
Rails – This structure is very similar to I-Beams, but are not symmetrical.
Certification Of Structural Steel

Structural steel suppliers will only carry structural steel that has been certified for use by ASTM International. These steels will be identified using a code that begins with the letter A followed by two to three numbers. This letter code identifies the alloys used in the production of the steel to help you make a more informed decision when choosing materials. If an identification code has only numbers, it is not certified for structural use, and should not be used.

What Are The Benefits Of Structural Steel Framing?

Using structural steel in your building’s frame comes with a few benefits over more traditional wooden construction:
Structural Steel Is Lighter – Since structural steel beams are “cut out” rather than having a solid square or rectangular cross section, length for length, they are lighter than wooden beams of an equivalent length.
Structural Steel Is Environmentally Conscious – Portions of the metal in your structural steel come from recycled materials, and your beams, if ever replaced, will also be recyclable.
Structural Steel Reduces Construction Time – With today’s technology, such as CNC machines, structural steel can be engineered off site and shipped ready to assemble. This also helps lessen the chance for human error in the design and fabrication.
Structural Steel Is Durable – Structural steel is built to stand up to elements and abuse. Steel framing can be designed to withstand heavy storms, earthquakes, and impacts that would down other buildings.
Structural Steel Can Save You Money – Between saved build-time, extended service life, and ease of use, steel framing can be the right choice to get your project done on time and under budget.

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How Do I Choose The Right Structural Steel For My Project?

Good structural steel suppliers should be available to help you properly estimate your project’s needs. In fact, a partnership with a reliable supplier who also has experience in metal fabrication can be one of the smartest business decisions you can make. However, here qualities to consider.

Strength To Weight Ratio – This will directly impact how your architect or engineer can best use your structural steel.
Cost – As with most building materials, you will want to look for the element that gives you the performance you need at the cheapest overall cost. Remember, though, you often get what you pay for.
Environmental Responsibility – As more businesses seek to lower their environmental impact, this has become a greater consideration. Steel can be one of the most sustainable building materials around.
Resistance To Damage – Alloys are available that are composed to have higher resistances to fire, corrosion, and oxidation. Make sure you’re choosing the right steel for these environmental hazards.
Best Fit For You– One of the best features of structural steel is its variety. There is no need to compromise because there is steel available in the right form and composition for you.

What Should I Look For In Structural Steel Suppliers?

When choosing your metal supplier, look for a company who has the knowledge needed to ensure you are getting the right structural steel. They should also be professional and have the ability and experience to offer precision metal fabrication. This holistic approach will help you get both the sales and support you need.

Metal Supply, Inc., has been serving the greater Los Angeles area for 55 years. Our structural steel is helps create the skyline that Angelinos know and love. When you need to choose a metals partner, choose the most trusted name among structural steel suppliers in the area. Contact us today for a quote on your next project.