Fabrication is the process used to manufacture steelwork components that will, when assembled and joined, form a complete frame. The frame generally uses readily available standard sections that are purchased from the steelmaker or steel stockholder, together with such items as protective coatings and bolts from other specialist suppliers.
Although a wide range of section shapes and sizes are produced, the designer may find that the required section size is not available. In this case, built-up girders may be fabricated from plate. sections and plate girders may also be strengthened by stiffening the web or flanges depending upon the load to be carried.
Most modern steelwork fabrication factories have computer aided design and detailing (CAD) which is linked directly to factory floor computer numerically controlled (CNC) machinery creating a genuine CAD/CAM environment. The accuracy of the computer generated details being transmitted directly to the computer aided manufacturing (CAM) machinery increases the quality standards of production
The fact that machinery has taken over from the tape measure means that the frame is produced to high quality standards which are reflected in the speed and accuracy of steel erection on site. This results in significant benefits both to the client and main contractor.