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A Guide to Architectural Metal Fabrication

Introduction

What is architectural metal fabrication, and how can it help you design, manufacture and build your ideal construction? Here’s everything you need to know. 

Over the next decade, the UK aims to build a modern and progressive metal works industry, providing high-quality and innovative products for various sectors, businesses and customers. 

In this 2030 ambition to increase GVA (Gross value added) by 50%, architectural metal fabrication will play a vital role in the supply and demand of bespoke metal works for construction projects across the country.

But what is it? And how can an architectural metal fabrication specialist help you keep your construction project on schedule and within budget? Let’s explore. 

What is architectural metal fabrication? And how can the process, the types, and the services help you transform a construction project?

What is Architectural Metal Fabrication?

What is Architectural Metal Fabrication? 

Architectural metal fabrication is the process of creating metal structural components for building and construction projects. From design to fabrication and manufacturing, architectural metalworks come in all forms of structural applications, including:

  • Cladding
  • Panel solutions
  • Roofing
  • Bridges
  • Staircases
  • Facades
  • Railings
  • Platforms & walkways

With metal fabrication at the essence, you can realise any metal structure with professional fabrication services and construction specialists.

Types of Architectural Metal Fabrication

There are many types of architectural metal fabrication you can construct with support from specialists, including:

Architectural Metal Cladding

Metal cladding systems such as metal sheet cladding provide a non-structural rain screen to protect your property from the elements. However, in recent times, cladding has also become preferred for its aesthetic impression.

The global metal cladding market is expected to be worth $50,231.50 million by 2030, with a CAGR of 5.20%.

Through metal fabrication techniques, metal sheets can be connected and attached to a property in multiple ways, with each method offering separate benefits in construction, protection, and appearance. 

Architectural Metal Panel Solutions

Architectural metal panels are a solution for roofing, siding, and interior walls. Ideal for insulation and cladding your building, wall panels can provide a suitable solution for your construction requirements.

Architectural insulated metal wall panels are also cost-effective and energy-efficient by regulating temperature to keep the internal temperature of your property warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer

9 Architectural Metal Fabrication Services

There are multiple types of metal fabrication systems and methods to support your bespoke metal works construction:

Using computerised numerical controlled (CNC) technology, you can apply CNC stamping/punching design to your specific metal fabricated part with computer-aided design (CAD) software to produce multiple precise and consistent components. 

This process is perfect for architectural sheet metal fabrication. You simply feed your metal workpiece into an automated die-cutting press and stamp machinery.

And as the sheet runs through the machine, a punch passes through the material with the dies on the opposite side, providing support and sustaining force to ensure the metal does not break under pressure.

CNC metal stamping involves a wide range of fabrication techniques, including:

  • Punching
  • Blanking
  • Embossing
  • Coining
  • Bending
  • Flanging

As a cost-effective alternative to metal forging, CNC metal stamping requires no heating element to save time and money. 

As a CNC automated manufacturing process, milling suits custom architectural metal fabrication projects that require drilling. With a rotating cutting tool, CNC milling machines can precisely remove material to form your desired shape and structure.

CNC milling machines are robust and large enough to handle large and heavy components applied to construction projects and offer unrivalled precision compared to most other machinery.

Like CNC metal stamping and punching, metal folding is an ideal technique for architectural sheet metal fabrication purposes. Metal folding machinery applies a strong tensile force to fold the material into your desired shape.

With metal folding, there are six main manufacturing techniques:

  • Air bending
  • Bottoming
  • Coining
  • Folding
  • Wiping bending
  • Rotary bending

Each metal folding method suits specific requirements and structural purposes.

When it comes to cutting intricate shapes for your custom architectural metal fabrication specifications, we recommend utilising the capabilities of metal laser cutting.

Metal laser cutting has multiple benefits, including:

  • Precise cutting
  • Low cost with no tooling required
  • Works with multiple parts of varying complexity
  • Minimal waste and maximum yield
  • Avoids damage or warping to the material

Through a thermal separation process, the laser cuts through the metal material, penetrating to the other side via a path programmed by CNC processes.

Perfect for custom architectural metal fabrication projects, metal laser cutting is a precise and versatile cutting technique.

If your metal architecture specifications require structural pieces fused together, then metal welding is a fantastic solution. It can utilise several methods, including:
  • Gas flame
  • Electric arc
  • Laser
  • Electron beam
  • Friction and ultrasound
In architectural projects not containing additional filler materials, welding consists of the same composition as the primary metal material.

Typically, screws and fasteners are manufactured from steel to offer excellent resistance to weather and corrosion. However, other screws and fastener materials are available in other metal materials, such as brass, titanium, and bronze.

Through a process of compression, architectural metal fabrication can be formed through metal forcing techniques.

There are two main types of metal forging:

Both techniques have distinguishing benefits to support your construction and metalwork requirements.

With several manufacturing processes available, aluminium extrusion is a great architectural metal fabrication process for forming robust billets that maintain a building’s structural integrity.

Aluminium extrusion is widely used in construction to create different structural shapes suiting specific building requirements.

Finally, we have the casting process that can produce multiple metal components by pouring molten metal into casts before cooling, solidification and finishing touches.

We can separate mold casting into two different categories:

Both processes share the same four techniques, with expendable mould casting suiting smaller volumes or single-use fabrication applications as a cheaper option for the price of less accuracy.

Permanent metal mold casting provides higher-quality components at mass volumes.

Speak to an Architectural Metal Fabrication Specialist

Established in 1898, Barton International has proudly supported supply chain management, stockholding and distribution for multiple industries and business sectors.

As an ISO 9001 accredited supplier, we’ve helped design, supply and manufacture common and complex products for the metal fabrication market.

So, if you’re interested in investing in custom architectural metal fabrication services, get in touch today.

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