Important Steel Fabrication Tips for Steel Workshops
The lessons about steel and its uses taught in colleges and universities don’t always state every fact or tip that makes work on steel easier and convenient. Most textbooks follow the conventional steel making methods and teach about common precautions and general procedures to follow when processing steel.
There are some important tips and techniques that can only be taught by those who have been working in the steel industry for a long time.
A student equipped with an engineering degree definitely brings a fresh perspective to the steel fabrication industry, but if there is no one around who’s experienced enough to teach him/her a few tips and tricks about the trade, a huge gap may open up between the quality of the work produced by the fresher and the quality that is usually expected.
The following tips and tricks from a structural steel fabricator who has been in the trade for 35 years gives a good insight on how steel fabricator workshops should function:
#1. A Good Foreman is a Must for Every Steel Fabrication Shop
A skilled and experienced foreman who leads those who are less experienced than him is rightly worth his weight in gold. He can easily teach important tips and tricks to his colleagues, and are highly valued for their organizational and management skills.
It is true that experience is not necessary to become a foreman if one is skilled enough, but it is the experienced men who make the best foremen.
#2. A ‘Helper’ Isn’t Always Helpful
It is common for steel fabrication firms to allocate helpers to lead fabricators if a lot has to be accomplished in a very short time.
Sometimes helpers work exactly as they are expected to- they help complete work in time, while sometimes, their assistance in completing the job is not indispensable.
Hence, one should not be completely dependent upon helpers to complete tasks within short deadlines.
#3. ‘Bent Plates’ Provide Better Grip
Moving huge steel plates is a risky job, as the ends are smooth and the plates can slip away from the clamps.
The best way to move such plates would be to use spreader chains with bent plates on all four edges for better grip.
It also helps prevent paint build-up on newly painted steel sheets.
#4. Standardization of Workshop Hand Tools
Many steel fabrication workshops use custom-made hand tools crafted by expert workmen themselves. Once these tools get old or worn out, it is difficult to remake new ones of same specifications.
Hence, workshops should use tools that are industry standard and easy to replace or upgrade from the market if they wear out.