Whether we notice it or not, we are constantly surrounded by sheet metal. For example, automotive workers use sheet metal to create the cars we drive every day. Sheet metal is also used in construction to design the buildings we spend time in. It’s important to note that the sheet metal used to create these objects doesn’t come ready-made; a great amount of work goes into it. Metal fabrication shops cut sheet metal into certain shapes so that people can construct a variety of different products. This article will discuss the best practices for cutting sheet metal that every metalworker should know. The process is more complicated than one may think.

Use Top-Quality Machinery

No one should use any old device to cut through sheet metal. Employees must stay away from saws because the cuts will be jagged and someone could get hurt. Everyone knows workplace accidents are a huge headache. Instead, shops should use top-of-the-line machinery to ensure that every cut is pristine.

Metal shops employers should contact a trusted manufacturer to acquire high-quality machines. Mac-Tech is one of the best manufacturers in the business. We sell all kinds of machinery that makes cutting through sheet metal much more manageable; that’s one of the reasons fabricators love us. Here are some examples of the tools we offer clients that alleviate the stress of cutting:

  • CNC plasma cutting tables are essential tools that belong in every metal shop. Plasma cutters feature lasers that increase efficiency and improve cut accuracy. Furthermore, the computerized software takes the pressure off the fabricators, because they can input specifications instead of doing things by hand. These tables are worth the investment.
  • Press brakes are another vital tool that metalworkers need. These devices bend sheet metal and other heavy-duty materials into shapes that would be impossible to create otherwise.
  • Fabricators should also know how to use tube bending devices. Tubes are uniquely shaped, so it is better to use specific equipment for intricate cuts because plasma cutters will not handle the job.
  • Finally, metal shops must have automated finishing and deburring systems because the process is not complete without these steps. It is all about the follow-through.

Training and Safety

It is not enough to have these tools in the shop. You need to do more work for a truly efficient shop. Supervisors must implement training programs to ensure that every staff member knows the proper steps to operate the equipment. Employees must learn how to:

  • Turn off every device in an emergency
  • Read through the manufacturer’s guidelines and contact them in case something goes wrong
  • Understand which machine is best suited for each cut
  • Comprehend how the machinery increases efficiency and contributes to the overall production

Training programs should also include steps on the proper safety protocols. The only way a worker can handle the job in front of them is if they prioritize their safety and the safety of others around them. Here are crucial safety tips that every metal shop owner should emphasize before someone begins work:

  • Every employer should give staff members the proper PPE. Fabricators must have goggles, thick gloves, and face shields to ensure they are not burned by any lasers. Laser-powered equipment is dangerous, and everyone must avoid workplace accidents at all costs.
  • Employers must not ignore the shop’s layout, either. Every machine should be at least a few feet apart so that no one trips over a wire. Design matters more than people realize.
  • Metal shop owners should encourage people to work in teams so that cuts are more accurate and accidents are less common. After all, fabrication shops should operate as a family.

Low-Power Tools

Sometimes, people do not need a high-powered laser to cut through sheet metal. In fact, another one of the best practices for cutting sheet metal is to explore all alternatives. Fabricators can use punching lines or metal shears for less intensive jobs.

Pro Tip: This machinery does not have a laser, but you should still train employees to use everything safely. Accidents can happen when people least expect it.

Other things to keep in mind when using these tools is that accuracy may decrease and angles may come out more jagged. Fabricators should not use this equipment when they need precise cuts. Instead, these tools are perfect for quick jobs that shops need to finish quickly. Like every other business out there, metal fabrication shops are extra busy during the holiday season. As a result, employees must use faster tools to keep up with the intense workload. Metal shears may be exactly what individuals need to get through the holiday madness.

A Note on Sustainability

Nowadays, no business owner has any excuse to ignore sustainability in their strategies. This sentiment applies to the metal fabrication industry as well. Science is constantly advancing; it is not difficult to find something that can help a shop reduce its carbon footprint. For example, CNC plasma cutting tables reduce waste because workers can enter exact specifications. Workers do not have to worry about producing excess waste when completing a job. It is a win/win situation for everyone.

Shop owners can also go green by investing in environmentally friendly machinery. Mac-Tech is here to help in this regard. We have hybrid press brakes that help a facility remain eco-conscious without sacrificing quality. Those interested in helping keep the planet clean should check out our hybrid machinery today.

Pro Tip: Hang posters around the shop that emphasize recycling, so the employees know how important this goal is. Remember, teamwork can help the entire shop become greener.

Every metal shop needs to follow these best practices for cutting sheet metal to ensure that everything is done right. A previous blog post discussed the industries that rely on metal fabrication shops, demonstrating how present metal fabrication is in our daily lives. Since the field is so important, shops must do everything in their power to ensure everything is accurate and gets finished quickly. With this advice, the task will be a piece of cake.

Best Practices for Cutting Sheet Metal

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