How Laser Cutting Works
The terms laser cutting, etching and engraving are often used interchangeably, but each process offers different metal fabrication benefits. All three provide a permanent way to mark products with company logos, serial numbers and designs. While it seems as these processes accomplish the same goal, how each goes about it is different, and one may work better for a particular metal or project over another.
The main difference between cutting, etching and engraving is the lens focal length. A laser-engraving machine has a shorter focal length, which results in high quality detail work. A laser cutter, on the other hand, uses a longer focal length, which allows for cutting thicker materials with a more precision cut and at faster speed.
Laser cutting is an industry standard for accurate, fast fabrication. A high-powered laser is able to make precision cuts in sheet metal by actually melting the metal. High-pressure gasses, typically nitrogen or oxygen, are used along with the laser beam, and the cutting head moves over the metal plate to create an exothermic reaction that delivers the precision cut details.
We often get asked if our 4,000-watt flat laser-cutting machine can etch materials. It can, but a laser engraver, designed specifically to etch and mark materials, can do the job better. The flip side is that a laser-engraving machine isn’t really designed to cut materials. While both machines serve essential functions, they’re not as cross functional as people may think.
The Mazak Fabrigear II 220 tube laser is the latest addition to the All Metals Fabrication family of laser cutters. Designed for fast, high-precision cutting, this revolutionary tube laser boasts 4,000 watts of power and a tapered laser torch that allows for the laser cutting head to cut any shape, size or extrusion. Click here to read about the significant advantages our new tube laser offers.
Tube laser cutting is very similar in the actual laser beam technology, but differs significantly from flat sheet lasers with the ability to cut full 24-foot lengths of tube, angle, channel, beam, etc. without requiring the very manual setup that flat sheet lasers need to cut the same extruded type of material.
Ultimately, cutting lasers and etching lasers are really designed for two different purposes and are both important and useful technologies in the fabrication industry.
AMF is the only fabricator in Utah that has water jetting, flat sheet lasering and now tube laser capacity under one roof. Call us or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how tube laser cutting can enhance your next metal fabrication project.
All Metals Fabrication Hires New Quality Assurance Director
All Metals Fabrication has experienced brisk growth in the industrial sector of parts and assembly manufacturing, including sectors such as automotive, transportation, medical, recreational, mining, machining, and machine building. In order to manage our growing quality requirements in these industries, we’ve hired a new Quality Assurance Director, Craig Johnson.
Craig brings both an incredibly optimistic attitude and highly skilled aptitude to the AMF senior management team. His major role as Quality Assurance Director will be making sure AMF meets the quality standards required from our great customers in processes such as flat sheet laser cutting, tube laser cutting, water jet cutting, plasma cutting, advanced forming, bending, rolling, cutting, cleaning, TIG welding, MIG welding, general assembly and more. He will also play a significant role in Continuous Improvement, Lean and Strategic initiatives for the company.
Craig’s background includes significant contributions in both sheet metal and metal foundry manufacturing processes. This wealth of experience in the metal industry allows Craig to focus on processes that will simultaneously improve quality and production methods at the same time.
All Metals Fabrication is thrilled to have Craig with the company and think our customers will feel the same!
Contact us to discuss how we can help turn your vision for your next industrial or architectural metal fabrication project into reality.
All Metals Fabrication’s Tube Laser Machine Specs
We recently invested in the Mazak Fabrigear II 220, a state-of-the-art tube laser machine designed to bring even higher quality and value-driven custom metal fabrication to our process. Tube laser technology introduces several significant advantages to All Metals Fabrication, including incredible speed increases, notable savings in downstream assembly costs, and the ability to overcome previous design limitations.
Our new Mazak Fabrigear II 220 tube laser utilizes a synchronized four-chuck material clamping system to make sure any tube or extrusion sets firmly in place while the laser beam actually cuts. Unlike competing machines, this system creates a highly accurate cutting process that begins to approach machining tolerance for pieces and parts that have to be just right.
All Metals Fabrication’s tube laser is set to handle tubing and sizes up to 8 inches in diameter and 6 inches square—along with the heaviest of wall thicknesses. In addition, our tube laser can handle 24-foot lengths of material both in and out of the machine.
All Metals Fabrication’s tube laser machine offers a true, full five-axis head, which allows the machine to cut around unique shapes, sizes and extrusions. In fact, it’s the only 3D tube laser with the true, full range of motion necessary to cut unique shapes like wide flange beams or custom extrusions. The head includes A-axis with full 360-degree movement, and B-axis with 135 degrees of rotation—the best in the metal fabrication industry!
Another notable feature is the tapered laser torch, which allows for the laser cutting head to get into tight corners, and results in the ultimate flexibility to cut any shape or size. This capacity is a significant advantage, particularly downstream, when part assembly (especially welding assembly) requires a tight fit up with beveled edges that are weld-ready as soon as the parts come together (no grinding or hand beveling required).
Click here to learn more about All Metals Fabrication’s tube laser.
All Metals Fabrication Introduces New Tube Laser
All Metals Fabrication is excited to introduce the Mazak Fabrigear II 220 to our fabrication process. Designed for fast, high-precision cutting solutions, this state-of-the-art tube laser boasts a 4,000-watt power cell and can handle heavy wall pieces of tube, pipe, channel, beam, angle or custom extrusion. The tapered laser torch allows for the laser cutting head to get into tight corners resulting in ultimate flexibility to cut any shape or size.
Tube laser technology introduces several significant advantages over traditional manufacturing and fabrication processes:
1. With the ability to overcome old design limitations, our engineers can do more intricate cuts faster and better. For example:
- Cut types, material shapes, and unique chamfering that were once impossible to do, can be easily accomplished with five axis cutting on all shapes: square, round, T, channel, angled, beams and more.
- Assemblies can take advantage of slotting, tabbing, mitering and hooking to create parts and assemblies.
- Form, angle cut, notch or bevel parts to create new assembly ideas.
2. Incredible speed increases in handling and fabricating traditional and non-traditional shapes and extrusions.
- Traditional methods, sawing, drilling, coping, mitering, punching, milling and deburring can be eliminated. These processes are often slow and inaccurate.
- Require multiple movements and handlings of material (often large materials).
- Require multiple machines.
- Are often laborious and slow due to hand marking or other manual processes.
3. Notable increase in downstream weld and assembly of parts.
- Expensive set up and jigging costs may be eliminated in many cases because parts can be designed to fit together with tabs, hooks, slots and hole locators.
- Gaps, spaces and out of square issues that usually cause excessive weld filling and part manipulation can be completely eliminated.
- Grooves and joints can be prepped and ready for immediate welding, eliminating grinding and beveling often required for proper fillets and weld assembly.
- Carefully planned tabs, marks and slots allow for fit up that eliminates parts being fabricated backward, incorrectly or errantly placed.
- Tacking and Fitting parts together can often be eliminated.
Tube laser technology is most often used in engineering and fabrication shops. Fabricators, erectors, job shops and local OEMs often outsource their tube and structural processing to save significant downstream assembly costs while simultaneously improving quality.
Contact All Metals Fabrication today to find out how tube laser cutting can change your fabrication world!
Why Reshoring Manufacturing To America Is Growing
The U.S. has lost millions of domestic manufacturing jobs over the past decade, thanks to outsourcing to foreign countries. But in a recent reverse trend, we’re starting to see a small yet growing number of American companies reshoring manufacturing jobs back to the United States.
USA Today cites that some 265,000 jobs have been re-shored in the past five years from cheap labor countries like China and India. New technology is making that reshoring possible. AMF’s newest tube laser technology is driving jobs back to the US because of the incredible advances in speed and manufacturing productivity.
Why did U.S companies start offshoring in the first place? Cheap labor and tax advantages, along with less stringent manufacturing regulations, are the main reasons. However, the same economic forces that pushed U.S. jobs overseas—costs—are now reversing and reshoring manufacturing jobs to America.
Manufacturing was the hardest-hit industry, accounting for about half of the trade deficit and leading to job loss in every state in the U.S. According to USA Today, the U.S. lost 2.4 million manufacturing jobs to China alone between 2001 and 2013. In addition to lost jobs, U.S. wages also suffered due to the competition with cheap labor around the world. It’s estimated that the average two-income U.S. household loses roughly $2,500 per year due to wage decrease.
Rising labor and shipping costs, in addition to increased risk, are major points of stimulus behind reshoring manufacturing to America. Reshoring Initiative indicates that this is the fastest and most efficient way to strengthen the U.S. economy, and lists the top reasons for reshoring to be:
- Lead time
- Higher product quality and consistency
- Rising offshore wages
- Skilled workforce
- Freight costs
- Image of being Made in USA
- Lower inventory levels, better turns
- Better responsiveness to changing customer demands
- Minimal intellectual property and regulatory compliance risks
- Improved innovation and product differentiation
- Local tax incentives
Of the 265,000 jobs jobs have been reshored in the past five years, many of these belong to some of the largest U.S.-based companies such as G.E., Walmart, Ford, Boeing, and Farouk Systems. Bringing manufacturing jobs back stateside can also benefit a company’s image. USA Today cites Walmart’s “Made in USA” initiative as an example of a successful brand-boosting initiative.
It’s estimated 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled in the U.S. over the next decade. According to a recent article by Harry Moser, Founder and President of the Reshoring Initiative, a higher skilled workforce is critical to a successful reshoring effort. As baby boomers retire and the rising generation sees a limit in the growth potential of manufacturing, recruiting and training skilled manufacturing talent is critical.
Creating a highly skilled workforce in the U.S. is critical to job growth in America. Reshoring manufacturing jobs to the U.S. is a key component to restoring a vibrant U.S. economy.
All Metals Fabrication continues brisk growth in the industrial sector of parts and assembly manufacturing, including sectors such as automotive, transportation, medical, recreational, mining, machining, and machine building. Contact us today to bring your industrial or architectural metal fabrication projects to life.
AMF Metal Craftsmanship: What We’ve Been Creating in 2016
There’s a reason All Metals Fabrication has been in the custom industrial design and fabricating business for 24 years: we know metal. For us, metal craftsmanship is an art, and we truly enjoy what we do. We are the only metal fabrication company in the state of Utah that has the level of sophisticated equipment that we do to complete custom architectural metal work.
Our clients have come to expect high-end, high-quality custom metal work, and they know that when All Metals Fabrication completes a job, it’s done right. As a client-centric metal fabrication company, we focus on bringing our customers’ vision to fruition from the first phone call to our sales force and estimators. Once we get the job, we go straight to shop drawings and then, upon approval, head right into production and field installation. Thank you to all of our terrific customers!
At All Metals Fabrication, we constantly strive to create the best architectural and industrial metal fabrication projects in the industry. This year, we’ve been fabricating and installing metal work all across the U.S. and right here in Utah. Take a look at some of our recent metal craftsmanship!
Utah State University football stadium:
AMF’s craftsmanship showcased at new box seat section.
Lassonde Building, University of Utah:
Metal craftsmanship makes a real-world impression on display, featuring over 40,000 square feet of copper panels at University of Utah’s newest building.
Photography by Jacom Stephens of Avid Creative | 801.979.1734 | www.avidcreative.com
Aluminum platforms and railing system working in both architectural and industrial settings. Successfully fabricated and installed by our incredible work staff under very tight deadlines.
METAL FABRICATION PROJECTS IN PROGRESS
Copper perforated panels for University of Utah
Stainless benches for University of Arizona
Glass railing for Overstock.com
Stainless sign plates for a shopping complex in San Francisco
AMF AT WORK
TIG welder hard at work.
Just another day of craftsmanship at All Metals Fabrication.
Showing off the skills of the elite level of craftsman that work for AMF.
We never get tired of seeing great fabrication work.
Water jetting 3/4-inch thick stainless steel.
Steel metal wall panels on a recent job. We think this turned out pretty cool!
From copper work to aluminum sunshades to steel steeples for LDS temples, and everything in between, we offer competitive pricing and always completes work on time. Contact All Metals Fabrication today and let’s get started creating your next metalwork project!
Call us! 1.877.433.1888
Email us! email@example.com
Welding Skills and Minimizing Weld Distortion
Welding skills are an art, and it takes some experience to get the technique down right. For those new to the metal fabrication industry, or looking for a metal fabrication company to take on an important project, it’s important to know what welders do and how they take steps to minimize weld distortion.
Welders cut, shape and join pieces of metal for both industrial and architectural projects. A good welder needs a skillful hand, a discerning eye, excellent mathematical skills, the ability to understand engineering drawings and, of course, knowledge about different types of metals and how to effectively operate different welding equipment and methodologies. It’s also critical for welders to stay up to date on technology and to adhere to safety standards.
Three of the most common welding fabrication processes used for metal fabrication are MIG, TIG, and Stick welding. The process used in a given project is determined by metal thickness, finish, location and application. MIG welding is a great starting point for new welders, and can be used with all types of metals and alloys. TIG is a more versatile welding process, and requires a high level of skill. As a manual welding process, Stick welding requires an even higher skill level.
High-end metal fabrication projects can be ruined by low-end end welding skills. Weld distortion or warping can occur during the expansion and contraction of the weld metal and base metal during the welding process. Distorted welds can affect the structural integrity of an industrial metal fabrication project. Messy welds can also ruin the sleek lines associated with quality architectural metal fabrication.
Even normal welding processes can warp light-gauged materials fairly quickly. One method used at All Metals Fabrication to reduce metal warping and weld distortion caused by heat during welding is the application of a chill bar directly under the weld. Chill bars, usually aluminum, absorb the heat of the weld and can reduce warping significantly. By following best practices from start to finish, All Metals Fabrication takes every step to minimize weld distortion.
5 Things To Look For When Choosing A Metal Fabrication Company
Every metal fabrication company offers something different, so how do you choose the one that best suits your project needs? From capabilities to quality to experience, here are five factors to consider when choosing a metal fabrication company for your next big project.
The first thing to consider is whether or not the metal fabrication company has experience with your type of project. Many metal fabrication companies have a specialty. If you’re looking for architectural metal fabrication, you won’t want to choose an auto parts fabricator. All fabricating processes have different requirements, so you’ll need to ensure the company you choose can handle the type, grade, and gauge of metal required for your project. Likewise, you’ll want to make sure the company you choose can handle the project from start to finish in house, rather than subcontracting. This can save on time and cost, as well as ensure top quality. It’s also important to verify that the fabrication company you choose has the equipment, materials, skilled staff, and production capacity required to complete the project on time and on budget.
When it comes to metal fabrication and structural steel fabricators, experience matters—especially practical, hands-on experience. Look for a company with bidders who can break down a complex project into detailed costs; engineers who are experts at translating shop drawings into viable projects; skilled, dedicated tradesman who are certified in their particular field; and project managers with real-world experience—all of which can make a big difference in the outcome of your project.
The sales pitch is just the first step in any metal fabrication project. Learn what certifications the metal fabrication company holds and then ask about the measures they take to ensure quality and pass inspection on every project. Quality is not an area for cutting corners.
At All Metals Fabrication, our methodology is focused on supporting clients and managing projects. Our talented team of employees has the skills to track and manage complex architectural metal fabrication and industrial metalwork projects. We pride ourselves in our commitment to outstanding workmanship and process control.
5. Customer Service
A satisfied customer should be at the heart of every metal fabrication project. When choosing a metal fabrication company, look for a company whose guiding principles include craftsmanship, vision, hard work, and good old-fashioned customer service. The best way to set a customer at ease is by outperforming the competition in all areas of a metal fabrication project, from start to finish.
The Bottom Line
Not all metal fabricators are created equal, so do your research when choosing a metal fabrication company. All Metals Fabrication has spent years developing core competencies across the board to deliver a superior product and measurable bottom line value to our customers. Contact us to learn more!
Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Metals — What’s the Difference?
“What’s the difference between ferrous and non-ferrous metals?”
That’s a question we’ve been asked more than once regarding custom fabrication at All Metals Fabrication. The simple answer is that ferrous metals contain iron, and non-ferrous metals don’t. That means each type of ferrous and non-ferrous metal has different qualities and uses.
Ferrous metals contain iron, and are known for their strength. Think steel, stainless steel, carbon steel, cast iron. Ferrous metals are used in both architectural and industrial fabrication, such as skyscrapers, bridges, vehicles, and railroads. Thanks to their magnetic properties, ferrous metals are also used in appliances and engines. (Yep—thanks to ferrous metals, you can display your child’s report card or your shopping list with a magnet on your refrigerator door.) Ferrous metals also have a high carbon content, which generally makes them prone to rust. The exceptions are stainless steel, because of chromium, and wrought iron because of its high pure iron content.
Examples of ferrous metals are:
- Steel: Iron plus carbon; widely used in construction and industrial metal fabrication
- Carbon steel: Even higher carbon content added to iron; exceptionally hard metal
- Stainless steel: An alloy steel made with added chromium which protects against rust
- Other alloy steels: Lightweight metals such as chromium, nickel, titanium added to strengthen other metals without adding weight
- Cast iron: Iron, carbon, silicon; heavy, hard metal that is resistant to wear
Non-ferrous metals have been used since the Copper Age, around 5,000 B.C. Since non-ferrous metals don’t contain iron, they’re usually more corrosion-resistant than ferrous metals. Some examples of non-ferrous metals are aluminum, aluminum alloys, and copper, which are often used in industrial applications such as gutters, roofing, pipes, and electrical. Non-ferrous metals also include brass, gold, nickel, silver, tin, lead, and zinc. Other common properties of non-ferrous metals are non-magnetic, malleable, and lightweight. This makes them ideal for use in aircraft and other applications.
Examples of ferrous metals are:
- Aluminum: Lightweight, low-strength, easily shaped
- Copper: Highly malleable with high electrical conductivity
- Lead: Heavy, soft, malleable metal; low melting point, low strength
- Tin: Soft, malleable, low tensile strength metal often used to coat steel to prevent corrosion
- Zinc: medium-strength metal with low melting point widely used in galvanizing to prevent rust on iron or steel
Ask the experts at All Metals Fabrication which metal is right for your next industrial or architectural metal fabrication project.
14 Things You Didn’t Know About Metal
Metals have been around for centuries, valued for their strength, durability, versatility, and electrical conductivity. Metal is used in industrial and architectural fabrication such as using sheet metal and other forms in building construction, bridges, tools, machinery, electronics, plumbing, HVAC, automobiles, aircraft, military equipment, and more. About 75% of all elements on the periodic table are metals.
- Iron is the most abundant metal on earth—and it also makes up much of the Earth’s core. The most common metal found in the Earth’s crust, however, is aluminum.
- Silver conducts electricity better than any other metal.
- Noble metals—such as precious metals silver, gold, and platinum— resist oxidation and corrosion in moist air.
- Alloys contain two or more elements mixed together, usually two metals or a metal and a non-metal.
- Mercury has the lowest melting point of all metals—and it’s the only metal that’s liquid at ordinary room temperature and pressure.
- At 3,400 degrees C, tungsten has the highest melting point of any metal in pure form. (Although carbon remains solid at higher temperatures, it changes to a gas rather than melting into a liquid).
- Iron is galvanized by dipping it into molten zinc. The galvanization process helps prevent rust.
- Up until the Middle Ages, there were only seven known metals: Bronze, iron, gold, copper, silver, lead, and mercury.
- Almost 69% of all steel—more than 80 million tons—is recycled in North America each year. That’s more than aluminum, paper, plastic and glass combined. Steel’s magnetic properties make it easy to separate from the solid waste stream into the recycling stream.
- Steel was first used for skyscrapers in 1883.
- The Eiffel Tower is about six inches taller in the summer than in the winter. Why? Because steel and iron expand when heated.
- Have you ever noticed how often brass doorknobs and handrails are used in public buildings? That’s because brass, a copper alloy, is naturally antibacterial. (But you should still wash your hands!)
- Explosion welding is a powerful process that can join nearly every kind of metal together, which most other welding methods cannot do.
- If two pieces of uncoated metal touch in space, they become permanently stuck together. It doesn’t happen on Earth because the atmosphere puts a thin layer of oxidation between the surfaces. The oxidized layer actually acts as a barrier, preventing adherence.