Sheet metal enclosures are crucial housing fabrications with applications in numerous industries. These include manufacturing, electronics, architecture, energy, automotive, medical, telecommunications, and logistics.
Sheet metal enclosures are vital for the effective operation and protection of a wide variety of components. Sourcing high-quality metal enclosures requires an understanding of their fabrication and assembly. Herein is a comprehensive guide to the production process of sheet metal enclosures.
Sourcing Raw Materials
The first step in the fabrication process involves sourcing the raw materials. A variety of metals are used to make sheet enclosures. These metals include:
● Aluminum – Lightweight, relatively strong, durable, and cost effective.
● Carbon steel – An alloy of iron and carbon. It is easy to work, cut, and weld.
● Stainless steel – An alloy of iron and chromium. It is strong, durable, and heat resistant.
● Copper – Soft, malleable, and an excellent heat and electricity conductor.
● Titanium – Incredibly strong and exceptionally durable. It is suitable where durability, precision, and weight are important.
Enclosure Concept and Design
The design process takes into consideration the functional and aesthetic requirements of the sheet metal enclosure. Various aspects of the product will influence this process. These factors include the enclosure application, dimensional requirements, intended working conditions, mounting requirements, and the components the product will house.
Considering these aspects helps ensure the sheet metal enclosures meet customer requirements and industry standards. Manufacturers utilize CAD software to draft and conceptualize the final enclosure designs.
The Fabrication Process
Once a manufacturer approves a working concept, the production team can begin fabrication and assembly. Note that there are a variety of different techniques used to fabricate sheet metal enclosures.
The specific techniques used will depend on several factors. These include the type of metal used, customer requirements, product dimensions, aesthetics, and more. The most commonly used fabrication techniques include cutting and punching, folding/bending, and welding.
Production usually begins with cutting and punching. The manufacturer cuts and punches the sheet metal to produce smaller usable panels and holes in the metal. All measurements are carefully considered during the process to ensure the panel cuts and openings are precise. Manufacturers use various machines, including plasma cutters, lasers, water jet cutting machines, and turrets for cutting.
The next step involves folding the metal panels into certain shapes or constructions based on product design. Machines such as brake presses and other techniques are used to fold or bend the sheet metal at specific angles. Each fold or bend must be precise.
Welding is a fundamental part of sheet metal enclosure production. It involves using extreme heat to join metal panels, sheets, bars, and shapes together. Welding also requires precision and skill and utilizes multiple techniques such as spot, arc, TIG, and MIG welding. Each method requires different tools and machines.
Following the welding process, manufacturers grind down the welds on the construction. All the surfaces are then sanded to a smooth and clean finish. Both these processes are largely manual.
The final step in sheet metal enclosure fabrication is finishing. Customer requirements influence this final touch step. Again, there are various solutions with unique features to choose from.
Finishing options include powder coating, painting, anodizing, digital printing, plating, and silk-screening. Powder coating and painting are the most commonly used finishing solutions. They are cheap, durable, and offer many color and texture options.
The conception, design, and fabrication of sheet metal enclosures is a complex and involved process. Producing top-quality products requires expertise, skills, the right tools, and a streamlined quality-controlled manufacturing process.
As one of the leading precision metal fabrication companies in China, VASUCC Sheet Metal has the technology, expertise, and experience necessary to produce best-in-class sheet metal enclosures. We are the go-to global vendor for high-quality metal fabrication and assembly.