If you don’t work in the metal fabrication industry, you might confuse the job of a metal fabricator with that of an ironworker. Although it may seem like their jobs are similar, there are many ways in which they are very different. First thing to point out is both professions require great skill, though their skill sets are different and they utilize different types of tools and metal materials. Ironwork is more structural, while sheet metal fabrication is consider to be more functional, but both work with a variety of metals, equipment and machinery.
Let’s take a closer look at the differences between ironwork and sheet metal fabrication in Phoenix, AZ.
Back in the day, skilled ironworkers mainly fabricated things using wrought iron. However, modern day ironworkers take on various big projects working with a variety of ferrous and non-ferrous metals. The three main types of ironworkers are structural ironworkers, reinforcing ironworkers and ornamental ironworkers. Here’s what each specializes in:
- Structural ironworkers: Following engineer blueprints, structural ironworkers build the framework for such structures as bridges, stadiums, buildings, amusement park rides and other enormous industrial metal projects. Other duties may include loading and unloading equipment, performing industrial maintenance, operating forklifts and placing pre-cast concrete slabs for structures.
- Reinforcing ironworkers: The most important job of a reinforcing ironworker, also known as a rodbuster, is to strengthen structures. They place and tie rebar, as well as reinforce concrete footings, building structures, slabs and bridge framework.
- Ornamental ironworkers: Also called ornamental ironworkers or finishers, these professionals are responsible for the metal elements on architecture, such as stairways, window frames, railings, catwalks, gates and fencing. They also handle the important metal finishing on building entranceways. These types of projects are regularly fabricated from different types of metals, which are then usually welded or bolted to the main structure. Additionally, ornamental ironworkers are skilled arc welders.
Sheet metal fabrication
Sheet metal fabricators are skilled tradesmen who typically work at metal manufacturing plants or in metal fabrication shops. They have had rigorous training in metal fabrication processes, as well as how to handle various types of metals and machinery. Moreover, sheet metal fabricators must consider the manufacturing method, thickness, tensile strength and quality of the metal they are working with. Among metal fabrication, metal installation and metalwork maintenance, a sheet metal fabricator generally specializes in one or all three areas.
Some areas of expertise include fabricating structurally sound metal roofs and rain gutters for homes and businesses, cooling and heating systems, and crafting metal pieces like handrails, stairways and auto parts. Interestingly enough, there are about the same amount of sheet metal types as there are types of metal—steel, aluminum, stainless steel, copper, zinc and a variety of metal alloys, just to name a few.
All sorts of individuals and businesses rely on the expertise and skill of professional metal fabricators. Whether you need metal elements crafted for a personal art project or large-scale sheet metal fabrication services in Phoenix, AZ, you can count on Metal Pro Inc.’s quality and professionalism. Call us today!