Sheet metal refers to metal formed through a variety of manufacturing processes into flat pieces of varying thickness, ranging from thin foils to thick plates. It commonly finds application in sheet metal fabrication operations to produce products for the industrial, commercial, and residential sectors.
Different Types of Sheet Metal
Sheet metal is made from a wide range of metals and metal alloys. Here are some of the most common:
- Aluminum. Due to its numerous benefits—including its abundant supply, low cost, ease of fabrication, good strength-to-weight ratio, high electrical and thermal conductivity, corrosion resistance, non-toxicity, and high recyclability—aluminum finds application in a variety of sheet metal fabrication operations. Some of the typical for which aluminum sheets are used include automotive parts, electrical devices, and cooking vessels.
- Aluminized steel Aluminized steel is made by coating carbon steel with an aluminum-silicon alloy. This process results in a material that combines the high strength of carbon steel with aluminum’s superior corrosion resistance. Sheets of aluminized steel are used for products intended for high temperature or corrosive environments, such as cooking implements and kitchen appliances.
- Carbon steel Carbon steel is a steel alloy that contains carbon (up to 2.1%). As the carbon content increases, the resultant material increases in hardness and strength when it undergoes heat treatment operations and decreases in ductility. Carbon steel is used for many products in the industrial and consumer markets.
- Copper. Compared to aluminum, copper features higher electrical and thermal conductivity. However, it is also more expensive. Typical products made from copper include heat sinks, roofs, rain gutters, and doors.
- Galvanized steel. As in the case of aluminized steel, galvanized steel is made by coating steel with zinc through hot dipping to make it more corrosion resistant. Sheets of galvanized steel are used for making automobile bodies, water pipes, and many construction elements like fences, roofs, and staircases.
- Galvalume. When steel is galvanized by an alloy of aluminum, zinc, and traces of silicon, it is called galvalume. The resultant material is more durable and corrosion-resistant than galvanized steel. Due to the material’s superior corrosion resistance, galvalume sheets are used for outdoor applications, such as on roofs that are regularly exposed to weather elements.
- High strength steel. Military armor plates are made from sheets of high strength steel. The material is made by alloying steel with a variety of elements like carbon, manganese, and copper to improve its hardness.
- Hot rolled steel. Compared to cold rolled steel, hot rolled steel is much cheaper to manufacture. It is commonly used in structural applications, such as in automotive body parts.
- Stainless steel. Stainless steel is a steel alloy with at least 11% chromium content and less than 1.2% carbon by weight. The material offers superior corrosion resistance, fire and heat resistance, strength-to-weight ratio, and manufacturability. Kitchen vessels, storage tanks for chemicals, and parts for food processing machinery are some of the common applications of stainless steel sheet metal.
- Titanium. Titanium has several advantageous metallurgical characteristics that make it suitable for a wide range of industrial applications. Although it is primarily used for its high strength-to-weight ratio and corrosion resistance, it also offers high recyclability, durability, and biocompatibility. Typical uses include aviation parts, medical equipment, and construction elements.
Custom Sheet Metal Fabrication at Premier Products of Racine
At Premier Products of Racine, we have over 20 years of experience providing customers with sheet metal fabrication services. We offer a full spectrum of custom fabrication capabilities for a wide range of sheet metals, including aluminum, copper, stainless steel, steel, and high strength alloys. To ensure we deliver high quality finished products, we also provide finishing, manufacturing and packaging design assistance, and inspection services.
To find out more about our sheet metal fabrication capabilities or to partner with us on your next project, contact us or request a quote today.