Although it’s always been on the leading edge of technology and innovation, the manufacturing industry is changing as we move into what is considered the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Metal fabrication is an integral part of this sector, and innovations are made every year. There are many metal fabrication innovations are on the horizon, and it is important to stay ahead of these changes.
Advancements in Metal Perforation
Metal perforation has been part of the fabrication industry since the mid-19th century. Innovations in metal perforation are starting to emerge that will change the way fabricators punch holes in metal.
Instead of making each hole individually, perforation rollers allow fabricators to create even, uniform punches every time. Each roller has pins in the size and shape needed for the specific project. They can go through the metal cold, or be heated to create a clean punch each time. The heated pin also creates a reinforced ring around the perforation to increase the strength of the metal.
A Shrinking Carbon Footprint
The steel industry as a whole generates tens of thousands of tons of greenhouse gases every year, accounting for 4 percent of the country’s annual production. Some international steel plants are taking steps to shrink their carbon footprint by putting their waste heat to use.
The city of Brescia in Italy is heated in the winter and powered in the summer by the waste heat generated by its local steel mill. This change reduces the factory’s carbon footprint by more than 10,000 tons every year. Collecting waste heat to power homes also eliminates the plant’s need for a water-cooling system, which works toward company conservation goals. These trends are picking up speed, and it’s more important than ever to pay attention to the environmental impact of your business.
Incorporating More Automation
Automation has a negative reputation for stealing jobs, and while that may be true to a degree, automation is also helping metal fabricators keep up with demands while contending with an industrywide labor shortage. This industry and many others lost a lot of skilled workers during the 2008 recession, and they haven’t been able to recover as of yet.
Robots don’t eliminate the need for human workers, but they can be used to mitigate the shortage by automating unskilled or mundane tasks so skilled fabricators can focus their energies elsewhere. In the coming years, automation will play a much larger role than it has in the past, especially if the labor shortage continues.
We Look Forward to the Changes
These innovations are just the beginning of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and we’ve only scratched the surface of what is possible when technology and metal fabrication become one. For over 20 years, we have ridden the wave of innovation to consistently deliver quality products for our clients. Contact us to see how we can help with your projects.