In times past, the metal fabrication industry was pretty straightforward with welding, machining, cutting, and assembling processes to produce the final product. Fast forward today, the industry has been dynamic and innovative with its advancement due to end-user industries like automotive, energy, aerospace, and construction. The changes have propelled many metal businesses to diversify their consumer base and push for profitability by predicting demand patterns.
However, a study has proposed that we have to deal with at least eight different metal types every day. Here are some of the top trending metals in the micro manufacturing and fabrication industry.
Steel is an iron alloy with a composition of 1% carbon and typically free from purities and other residues found in iron. Iron has proven more rigid than most metals. However, it is dense, heavier and susceptible to corrosion. This is why pure iron constructions are challenging to build and maintain. The carbon inclusion in iron doesn’t only alleviate its vulnerabilities but enhances the material by making it more robust. With the numerous added elements and their specific qualities means, there are numerous steels types, including;
- Stainless steel
- Alloy steel
- Tool steel and
- Carbon steel
Aluminum, first produced in the 19th century, is solid, lightweight, and contains a corrosion-resistant metal made from the ore bauxite. The metal is popularly used due to its electrical conductivity, machinability, and being magnet-free. Aluminum is the earth’s popular nonferrous metal known for its elasticity and capacity to form alloys with almost every metal. Despite being lightweight, aluminum is solid and doesn’t rust. Instead, aluminum oxidizes and rusts after exposure to salt. As a result, aluminum has a wide range of use, from making cans, household items and aeroplanes.
Iron is the most prevalent element in the world, with 5% earth crust. Iron is an abundant and trendy metal. However, iron is highly unstable and reacts quickly with atmospheric oxygen to form iron oxide when it’s not allowed. For more stability, iron is usually alloyed with other elements to create steel. It is used in cookware due to the porous surface when combined with oil to create a non-stick effect. Cast iron is used for making wood stoves due to its extraordinarily high melting point. Heavy metal offers rigidity and minimizes vibrations, a more reason manufacturers favour its use for making frames and bases of their heavy machinery.
Zinc is a metal with a low melting point. Due to its ability to smoothly flow when melted, it is much easier to cast and recycle. Zinc’s end product is solid and with low electrochemical potential. Zinc is utilized for coating and also as a protective element for other metals. For example, it is used to prevent galvanized steel from rusting. Other zinc applications include marine, industrial, hardware, automotive, and the medical industry.
The above are some of the widely used metals globally. As a base for several industries and the foundation of the industrial revolution, metals have supported development and growth for the communities and the entire human civilization.