Steel is a multi-functional and extremely durable metallic alloy of iron, carbon and small quantities of sulphur, phosphorus, silicon, oxygen and manganese. Carbon is actually a hardening agent that gives steel is hardness and durability. But only 2% carbon must be mixed with iron as more amount of carbon would make steel brittle. Steel is of vital importance in our lives and profoundly influences us. We are always surrounded by machines, tools, products and structures. Our homes and office building have steel framework, bridges we cross are made form steel, all electrical appliances have steel bodies not to mention stainless utensils that we use everyday. Different kinds of machines and tools from heavy machinery used in factories to smaller garden tools are made from steel. Steel is also used to make military weapons, power line towers and pipelines. Actually we can not runaway form steel structures or components as they permeate very facet of our lives. Steel industry is also the main support system of any process of industrialization. One can not hope to develop and progress through industrialization without a capable and strong iron and steel industry. Steel possess certain qualities that make it so important and variedly useful in different industries. Some qualities of steel includes –
– Very hard and tough making is more durable than iron
– Resistant to rusting and other corrosive effects
– Resistant to deformities at high temperatures
– Structures can withstand a lot more wear and tear than any other metal
– Extremely malleable and elastic making it perfect for making different structures through smelting and welding
We talked about various uses of steel in different industries. How are these steel structures and products created? This is done through the process of fabrication. What is fabrication? Metal fabrication is an industrial term. It encompasses cutting, bending and assembling processes that are used to reshape any metal to create different products. Steel fabricators produce or make pipes, sheets and plates by melding steel into different shapes and then welding together different elements to create the end product. They use fabrication machines, flame torches or laser cutters along with different welding equipments to carry out their work.
Structural engineers prepare designs, drawings or blue prints of machines or steel structures. These are finally created by steel fabricators. So basically the duty of steel fabricator is to transform the blue print into a useable final product. First they change the shape of raw materials using special tools in order to make structural frameworks. They cut down the raw materials to the sizes needed. The different parts are welded together to make the final steel structure or component. Finally the finished product is sand blasted, primed and painted and ready for delivery.