The evolution of metal fabrication has progressed significantly from ancient times when humanity had limited knowledge of a few metals, and all processes were manual. When you look at the metal fabrication industry, you will find that new trends and technologies are entering the marketplace every day. With increased customer demands for customized products and the discovery of new metal usages, these trends and technologies are set to make an impact.
Read this blog to learn about metal fabrication trends impacting 2024.
The history of metal fabrication goes back to 8700 BCE in Northern Iraq, where a copper pendant was discovered. It proves that man had started to create shapes with metal a long time ago. The history of metal fabrication in the USA can be traced back to 3000-4000 BCE. Then came the Bronze Age, when bronze became the new favorite metal used in everything from swords to jewelry. Bronze reigned for over 200 years, and then iron took over. With the introduction of iron, several metal fabrication techniques, such as smelting and quenching to make steel daggers and swords, were introduced to the world. Iron ruled for over 700 years.
Over the centuries, humanity discovered new metals or learned to create alloys, and several metal fabrication techniques developed, such as cutting, forming, bending, punching, notching, etc. In the earlier days, all the processes were manual, but with technological advancements, machines took over the metal works, offering precision and accuracy. Metal engineering has transformed in the 21st century, as the automation rate is rapid, and new machines and technologies are entering the market daily. Today, the metal fabrication industry has come to a place where CNC machines, laser cutting, and 3D printing are common and most prominent.
The past has been glorious for the metal fabrication industry. Still, now is the time to look at the future and identify the newest trends and technologies that will grab everyone’s attention in the near future.
It is commonly called 3D printing, a subset of additive manufacturing. Additive manufacturing is a process that uses 3D designing techniques and CAD software, wherein the prototype is designed. The hardware is deposited into the material layer by layer by 3D object scanners, creating the desired shapes.
Machines don’t feel fatigued; thus, they replace humans in the metal fabrication industry. It allows workers to work in serious roles and focus on skill development, rather than being engaged in monotonous work, which machines can perform better and precisely too.
Metal fabrication is labor-intensive and costly. These processes are made simpler and faster with automation and robotics. Industry players are increasingly introducing automation and robotics in their strategies for faster delivery and efficient working.
The cry for sustainability is loud in every industry, and metal fabrication is not an exception where metal waste and the need for efficiency are forever present. The aim is to implement eco-friendly practices in the future, meant to reduce metal waste and implement recycling initiatives that minimize environmental impact, aligning with global sustainability goals.
The market is consumer-centric now and will continue the same way in the future, which calls for customization and personalization in metal components. Advanced technologies enable personalized designs, unique finishes, and tailored solutions, catering to individual preferences across industries.
With the manual processes, there were different sets of challenges. With technological advancements, the methods might have become easier and faster. Still, they have come with their challenges and obstacles that the metal engineering industry will witness in the future. Skills gaps, high initial investment in advanced machinery, and adapting to rapidly evolving technologies pose challenges for industry players, especially small ones.
The market is expanding as the world is moving constantly towards growth. The demand from aerospace, automotive industry, construction, healthcare, etc., will increase in the coming years. The increased automation is expected to fulfill the growing needs.
While emerging trends and technologies offer automatic processing, employees require adequate training to cope with the changing environment at the workplace. Adhering to stringent safety protocols, training employees on safe practices, and complying with industry regulations are paramount.
The future of metal fabrication will revolve around sustainability, customization, and innovation. As discussed above, emerging technologies are reshaping the industry by enabling faster production, reduced environmental impact, and innovative ideas to offer customized solutions.
Being the leading metal processing experts in Albuquerque, we at New Mexico Metals LLC understand the need to adapt to the changing market. It is imperative to succeed and ensure that we offer only quality products to our clientele.
Contact us today or visit us anytime to check out our vast product range!