Metal fabrication guide for small businesses

Metal fabrication guide for small businesses

A variety of small to medium businesses (SMEs) need metal fabrication services regularly. Any business using metal structures or components appreciates the importance of accurate, efficient and effective metal fabrication services. Just like those provided here at Yorkshire Profiles!

 What is Metal Fabrication?

Metal fabricators – companies or departments within companies (like ours), specialising in metal fabrication – are known as “fab shops”. Metal fabrication is a series of processes resulting in a completed product. This product is not necessarily one which would be seen on the retail market (like a toaster or washing machine), it could be a canteen trolley or stillage, or even something less “complete” such as the countersunk pieces of a table that will be fixed (or assembled) together in situ rather than at the fab shop.

Metal fabrication is a value added process, adding value to sheet metal during the production process. While welding is the main focus of metal fabrication, cutting and bending are also processes within and leading to the fabrication of the parts. A fab shop focuses on assembly, while a machine shop focuses on cutting and machining. Here at Yorkshire Profiles, we can do both! We can even have a fabricated part finished through powder coating (painting – sort of) by our reliable suppliers of this additional service.

Structural steel and sheet metal are the usual starting materials for fabrication, along with the welding wire, flux and fasteners to join the cut (and bent) pieces together. Through the processes of cutting, bending and assembling these materials become a finished component or product – a fabricated piece.

Cutting: the first stage in the fabrication process (but not fabrication in itself)

As specialists in all three of the processes involved in fabrication, and, in particular, in the use of laser cutting machinery, we are well equipped to advise on the manipulation of metal through laser cutting. Check out our article laser vs. alternative cutting methods for information on the technicalities and practicalities of different cutting methods and machines, including our F1 laser.

As well as CAD-programmed machine cutting like laser cutting, mechanical cutting tools can be used. We, for instance, also have a band saw and circular saw for cutting tube and other metals for fabrication.

Bending: the second, and optional, stage in the process leading to the fabrication of metal

For efficient bending of metal a press brake is required. You guessed it, we have one. Two, actually! The main components of a press brake are the punch and the die. The punch is the top tool that pushes the metal into the bottom tool, the die, in order to create the bend. The punch and die are shaped so that they fit together with the metal being bent in between the two. For accuracy, press brakes are programmed using CAD technology, with specified design variables and requirements inputted to create the bend radius accurately.

Bending can also be completed using manual or powered hammers, but this is much less accurate and more time consuming.

Assembly: The fabrication itself

Assembly is the joining of cut (and/or bent) component pieces to form the fabrication; the completed (fabricated: put together) part or product. It is this that is the focus of the fab shop and the true process of fabrication. The primary methods for fabrication are welding, use of adhesives and riveting. At Yorkshire Profiles we have both TIG and MIG welding equipment, rivet guns, drills, countersinks… anything you could need for the fabrication of metal parts. After we’ve cut them, of course!

 Business Sectors Using Metal Fabrication

 Because of the versatility of metal fabrication when it comes to the production and assembly of parts and products, it is used across a variety of sectors and industries. Some of the most popular industries and sectors included in our (and other fabricators) customer base are:


Aeroplanes, airport corridors, metal detectors, conveyor belts and trolleys all utilise metal cutting, bending and fabrication services like the ones we offer. In an industry such as this, accuracy is very important – unsurprising, when you consider the specific calibrations required to fly an aeroplane: the fabrication of the plane itself must also be accurate!


No matter what part of the construction process fabricated metal products are used in – be it steel or iron girders to hold the weight of a house, the claw hammer with which the struts are nailed together, or the metal brackets holding together the heavy, steel frame – strength and accuracy are vital. As is the material used – marine grade (316) stainless steel or carbon steels have the durability and tensile strength required for such uses, even after thermal pressures from fabricating using welding equipment.


From beds and trolleys to scanning machinery and operating tools, metal fabrication has its place in hospitals all across the world. Again, the material is important, needing durability and non-porous finishes that are easy to keep sterile, and again, our customers include organisations within the medical supply sector.


Whether it’s the fabrication of mechanical parts to repair a machine or to build a house, engineering requires metal fabrication too. This can be in the form of larger, structural engineering projects, or smaller machinery or car manufacturing, repair or alteration. In any case, metal fabrication for the engineering sector, as with the previous examples, requires high levels of precision in fabrication and specific qualities and traits in the materials chosen.

Hospitality and Retail

Restaurant tables with countersunk bolt holes and welded legs, metal outdoor furniture, casings for ovens and Bain marries and even the ovens themselves, all involve metal fabrication. In kitchens, 430 grade stainless steel is used – often called “catering grade” and the counters and casings are folded and welded together in fabrication. Aluminium is often used for external furniture because it’s lightweight and durable under weather conditions, again this is welded together and individual design features can be included in bespoke products through laser cutting and press brake folding of the flat pattern before fabrication occurs.

Bespoke Designs – any industry

One of the most useful areas of metal fabrication is the bespoke product market sector. This sector encompasses areas within all industries as it is concerned with the manufacture of unique and custom designed fabricated products. The versatility of using a company like ours, where bespoke designs can be accurately programmed, cut, pressed and fabricated is paramount in this sector and lends itself to some very interested customer orders!

Whatever the industry or sector, and whether the purpose is for manufacture of a finished product to sell on or to build a machine or structure, metal fabrication is versatile, useful and durable.

 How can metal fabrication benefit small businesses?

 Many and varied companies use assorted solutions within their operations, several of which involve the use of products or components manufactured using metal fabrication. In some cases these solutions need to be fabricated to exacting specifications to suit the needs and wants unique to the individual business. Sheet metal fabrication is the technique through which this can be achieved, and can often be an affordable and more cost effective method of production for the small business. This is particularly the case where a small business needs a uniquely designed part fabricated multiple times for use in their own company or for sale to another.

An additional benefit of metal fabrication for small businesses is that many of the businesses, like ours, providing metal fabrication services are also small businesses. This lends itself to a high level of quality assurance and a close customer-supplier relationship with your metal fabricator to provide exactly what is needed through cutting and fabrication of metal at cost effective price points and convenient lead times.

Once a component or product has been designed and fabricated once, the process of repeat ordering is much simpler. Thanks to the use of CAD technology, metal fabricators create flat patterns and fabrication drawings for each part and these can be re-ordered with no need for the design to be created a second time. Alterations to the designs can be completed quickly allowing for ease of access to new variants of the same products.

So, to take full advantage of the benefits of metal fabrication for your small business, why not give us a call on 01904 737095 or email and we’ll work with you to discuss, design, profile and fabricate the perfect solution to your metalworking needs.

Yorkshire Profiles Ltd

Yorkshire Profiles Ltd