Sheet Metal Manufacturing – Common Terms Explained

‘Sheet metal’ is a very broad term used in the manufacturing industry, essentially being any flat, thin piece of metal used in production. The most common metals used are stainless steel, aluminum, and brass. There is a wealth of methods for sheet metal manufacturing; from complex CNC cutting machines to hand-operated cutting devices. With material this diverse in fabrication and use, it is logical that there are a large number of technical terms or acronyms used for sheet metal manufacturing. These can make the process rather confusing to those not familiar.

Here are a few common terms in sheet metal manufacturing:

  • CNC cutting machines – These machines are guided by computers from model information to create precise parts quickly and in bulk. There is a wide range of CNC machines used in sheet metal manufacturing including milling, laser cutting, lathe, and punching.
  • CAD – Computer Aided Drawing or CAD allows designs to be created precisely in 2 or 3 dimensions, these are much more accurate than hand-drawn designs. There are many programs to do this; some of the most popular include AutoCAD and SolidWorks.
  • CAM – Computer-Aided Manufacturing takes a CAD model and translates that into instructions for CNC cutting machines.
  • Gauge – A number used to indicate the standard thickness of sheet metal. Higher gauge numbers mean a decrease in thickness.
  • Power Coating – powder coating is used to protect from corrosion by coating a surface in powder which hardens to a protective layer.
  • Galvanizing – A method of corrosion protection which coats a steel surface with another such as zinc which forms a highly resistant barrier to corrosion.
  • Screen Printing – A method used to transfer ink onto sheet metal with a mesh material, this is commonly used for labeling parts or adding logos.

Sheet metal manufacturing specialists such as Premier Engineering in Ingleburn can perform all of these manufacturing tasks. Using high-quality CNC cutting machines, they are able to create precise parts quickly and at a low cost. Contact us for a free quote!