Sheet Metal industries include many jobs, including making, installing, and maintaining heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning duct systems. Most people don’t realize exactly how many products and services are produced by Sheet Metal Workers. These workers create essentials such as roofs, siding, rain gutters, downspouts, skylights, restaurant equipment, outdoor signs, railroad cars, tailgates, customized precision equipment, and many other products made from metal sheets. Sheet Metal work also includes working with fiberglass and plastic materials. Although some workers specialize in fabrication, installation, or maintenance, most do multiple if not all aspects as they learn experience and training. Sheet metal workers do both construction-related work and mass production of sheet metal products in manufacturing.
The term “sheet metal” refers to any metal that can be formed into flat pieces of varying thicknesses. Using specialized tools, sheet metal workers cut, roll, bend, and shape these pieces to make a wide variety of objects such as:
- Airplane wings
- Refrigeration units
- Medical tables and storage units
- Building facades
- Steel sheets
Metals used in the sheet metal industry include:
- Cold rolled steel: Steel that is flattened and shaped by high-pressure rollers in a steel mill.
- Mild steel: A low-strength steel containing low levels of carbon that can be easily shaped into a variety of objects.
- Tin: A corrosion resistant material available in several colors and finishes, and cost-effective when compared to other types of metals. Tin is also preferred because it is easy to cut and form around objects.
- Nickel: Nickel belongs to the transition metals. It is hard, ductile, and considered corrosion-resistant because of its slow rate of oxidation at room temperature. It also boasts a high melting point and is magnetic at room temperature.
- Titanium: The combination of high strength and low weight makes titanium a very useful structural metal. The good corrosion resistance experienced in many environments is based on titanium’s ability to form a stable oxide protective layer.
- Aluminum: There is no doubt that aluminum sheet metal is a uniquely versatile metal sheet that has numerous applications in the modern world. Its physical, structural, and chemical properties make it among the most popular metal sheets. Different types of coatings are applied to the aluminum sheet metal to increase the strength and durability of the aluminum sheets. They also make the sheet applicable to different conditions. There are different surface finishes of the aluminum metal sheet – smooth and uniformed while others are rough or rugged. The choice of the aluminum plate texture will depend on its application areas. Aluminum sheet metal comes in different sizes. You are free to choose the size that will perfectly fit your application.
- Brass: An alloy of copper, brass has more strength, corrosion resistance and formability when compared to copper while retaining its conductivity.
- Copper: Exploited for its electrical conductivity, corrosion resistance, and antibacterial properties, copper can be hammered or rolled into thin sheets or plates without breaking, be drawn into small wires, has superior electrical conductivity, and can withstand very high temperatures, including heat produced by high voltages.
Sheet metal workers first study plans and specifications to determine the kind and quantity of materials they will need. They measure, cut, bend, shape, and fasten pieces of sheet metal to make ductwork, countertops, and other custom products. Sheet metal workers program and operate computerized metalworking equipment. They cut, drill, and form parts with computer-controlled saws, lasers, shears, and presses. With this much activity going into your project, it is a good idea to hire union contractors you can trust to do the job correctly.