Metalworking has certainly witnessed lots of changes over time, with plenty of advancements in technology since the early days of merely shaping metal sheets by banging them with hammers.
Today’s metalworking and fabrication industries now rely more on technology and science instead of hard labor. Although innovations and advancements have always been a part of shaping the way metalworking is done, many of the most recent developments are taking the craft to new heights far and above where it was even a decade ago.
So, what’s next for the field of metalworking? Quite a lot, actually. Below, we’ve highlighted three major areas that are expected to drive significant changes to the industry in the coming years.
When 3D printing first hit the scene, it was viewed more as a niche method that was still far away from being a functional choice for metalworking. Since then, 3D printing has indeed become functional within the metal fabrication industry, becoming more widespread and used for a number of different applications.
With 3D metal printing, metal components undergo a “printing” process that shapes, cuts, and molds the metal to achieve the design, size, and structure set forth by a digitally formatted design. Simply put, this allows metalworkers to upload or scan in the dimensions, setting the stage for the printer to do the rest of the work.
Although 3D printing is still considered to be in its early period, new developments and innovations are being implemented rapidly, making the technology more accessible, and more versatile for a number of different metal industries.
Industry 4.0 Automated Metalworking
You may not be aware, but we are currently in the midst of what experts call Industry 4.0, which refers to the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. These tech products typically include a combination of cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things (IoT), cloud computing, and cognitive computing.
Automation has been present in metalworking for years, but Industry 4.0 capabilities represent a major change. This technology gives equipment a broader range of abilities that can cut down on the amount of time needed to perform their task while also providing a more comprehensive set of features that can handle an entire process from start to finish rather than using multiple machines and tools.
For example, a slotted piece of metal can be fed into an Industry 4.0-level machine, which will then calculate the needed alterations, followed by turning, shearing, rolling, and cutting the metal piece to exact specifications — all with just the push of a button.
Advanced Safety Features
Much of the same technology and advancements that allow for smarter and more efficient metalworking tools also help to create safer conditions. This is accomplished in several different ways.
For one, the improvement in sensors and automated machines allows for real-time communication with some of these machines, enabling them to pinpoint when certain parts are wearing down, or possibly malfunctioning — an advantage that reduces faulty machinery and resulting accidents.
Metalworking is Always Evolving
With over a century of experience, Coco Architectural Grilles & Metalcraft has seen plenty of change in the metalworking industry, and our expertise has only improved and persevered alongside any developments to the technology used. Today, our metalwork professionals use time-proven techniques in addition to working with the most advanced technology available. As a result, we maintain the ability to craft practically any metal product for almost any customer need.
Planning a custom metal project? We can help. Contact us at 631.482.9449 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re in need of some inspiration, feel free to take a look at our extensive Grille and Metalwork catalogue.