The process of steel beam fabrication

As specialists in metal fabrication, FEM Ltd knows a thing or two about the process behind creating bespoke steel beams.

And to give you an idea of the expertise that goes into steel beam fabrication, our team has put together this guide on the process. We hope it gives you a better understanding as to why choosing the right steel fabrication company for your build is vital for ensuring compliance, value and quality of the product for your unique structural steel requirements.

How steel beams are fabricated…

Steel beams are structural steel that has been fabricated to meet the specific requirements of a construction project.

First the design of the structure is completed to meet the needs and compliance of the finished job. FEM Ltd’s engineers can assist with the idea, design and drawing, as well as interpreting engineering blueprints. The fabrication team will use different types of machinery to fabricate the basic steel into the desired shape for the project.

Steel fabrication companies like FEM Ltd use a number of processes to do this, such as cutting and bending. And the intricacies of this process will depend on the finished use of the desired steel beam; from basic welding to highly specialised fabrication that can only be undertaken with dedicated machinery, like that operated by FEM Ltd.

A lot of thought needs to go into the creation of every single steel beam produced to guarantee it is engineered to meet the brief precisely. At FEM Ltd our team fabricates steel beams to an accuracy of millimetres.

Once inspected, the steel beam is handed over to the welding team who weld the steel together to the specifications.

The final steel beam fabrication is then signed off and certified to BSEN 1090.

What different types of steel beams are there?

The type of steel beam required to suit your project will depend on a number of elements. Our team will work with you to understand the best steel beam(s) for you.

Steel beam fabrication is a bespoke service to ensure the compliance and fulfillment of each individual project. Your steel beam will be based on one of these different types of steel beam:

  • ‘H’ Beams

  • ‘S’ Beams

  • ‘W’ Beams

  • Universal Beams

  • Double Beams

  • Tee Bar

  • Channels

  • Lintels

What industries use steel beams?

Steel beam fabrication companies like FEM Ltd are on hand to support all projects which require the expertise of specialist metal fabrication.

Building and construction industries use steel beams across various projects; from towers and bridges to industrial buildings and housing.

Take a look at FEM Ltd’s case studies to discover a handful of the many ways we have supported clients with their bespoke steel fabrications.

What to look for when finding a steel fabrication company near you?

Steel beam fabrication may not be the most exciting part of a new construction project, but getting it right is vital for safety, compliance, timing of the project and good value.

Here are some of the things to look for when choosing a steel beam fabrication firm:

  • Accreditation – compliance with all necessary industry standards is a ‘must’.
  • Reviews – check to see what previous customers have said about their reliability.
  • Experience – having years of knowledge behind them is really important.
  • Bespoke solutions – no two jobs are the same, so ensuring you go with a company that will look at your project on an individual basis is vital to the success and value for money of the steel beams you require.

How can FEM Ltd help with steel beam fabrication projects?

Whatever the project you require steel beam fabrication for – whether it’s a local venture for schoolchildren or at various sites for thousands of your customers – we pride ourselves on a high level client experience for all.

The process begins simply with an idea. We’ll work with you to understand what the idea is, what you need it for, and whether steel beam fabrication is the best metal fabrication solution for your project.

FEM Ltd’s fabrication engineers will then pass over the idea, a design and a drawing to our in-house estimating department for a technical review; which ensures that we have everything required to carry out the project in terms of machinery and accreditation.

Should steel beam fabrication be required through our bespoke fabrication service, our team will be on hand to guide you through the process from start to finish; giving realistic timescales, expert advice, and of course delivery of the finished product in accordance with all current health and safety legislation.

Do you need a steel beam fabrication supplier near you?

FEM Ltd has decades of experience as a specialist steel fabrication company based in Rotherham, close to Sheffield. Our team of knowledgeable engineers can talk you through the process of steel beam fabrication and our bespoke steel fabrication service.

Pop your details into our Free Quote form above; give the team a call on 01909 774 836; or email us at to chat through how we can support you with the steel beam fabrication for your next construction project.


The importance of precision in steel fabrication

As UK-based specialists in bespoke steel fabrication, the FEM team answers in this blog the most frequently asked questions about how important precision is in the manufacturing industry (especially steel fabrication), and what precision steel fabrication involves.

What is steel fabrication?

 A simple definition of steel fabrication is the use of different processes – including cutting, bending and assembling – to create metal structures. Steel fabrication is essentially transforming steel into a specific shape.

The material’s hardiness is why it is so regularly used for components.

What do we mean by “precision” in steel fabrication?

 Precision steel fabrication uses advanced and highly skilled processes and techniques – including forming, welding, punching and cutting – to manufacture high-precision parts for a multitude of uses. The steel will then be used in the manufacture, assembly or construction of a final product; the precision technique allowing for identical steel parts to be made.

The use of precision machinery in structural steel fabrication ensures the product is formed with extreme accuracy, to precise details and forming exact duplicates.

As a bespoke steel fabrication technique, precision machining is growing as demand for its application increases.

What is precision steel fabrication used for?

When people think of precision steel fabrication, their thoughts almost certainly turn to the aerospace and automobile industries, or in the production of medical equipment.

But precision techniques have a huge influence on other uses for tailor-made steel parts too. From household electronics to home construction, there is precision metal fabrication being utilised across so many industries. Advances in technology means that list is only growing.

Take a look at FEM’s case studies for our recent examples of structural steel fabrication and bespoke steel fabrication.

Why is it important?

 New technology has transformed the way manufacturers form steel parts, with precision being one of the most important outcomes.

Today, the global machining market is predominantly made up of precision machining.

Why? Well aside from the obvious advantages of being able to create something entirely bespoke and made for purpose that can be reproduced exactly… it also saves time, saves on waste, improves quality and puts businesses at a competitive advantage.

What does precision steel fabrication involve?

Precision steel fabrication is achieved through the use of specialist technologies, including, but not limited to, 3D printing, Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM). Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machine processes use everything from laser cutting to stamping to physically produce the precise steel products.

What are the benefits of precision in steel fabrication?

 Efficiency, cost savings, improved quality, accuracy… there are endless reasons that precision techniques are useful in steel fabrication.

We’ve already touched on the importance of precision in steel fabrication in this blog. But let’s have a look now at the benefits in more detail:


Thanks to the equipment and software used to create precision steel, production time is reduced when compared to more traditional methods of production. Parts can be made in days rather than weeks, and the precision involved means there is less chance of error.

By choosing a precision steel manufacturer close to you, like FEM in central England, the lead time is also reduced.

Using a UK-based steel fabrication firm like FEM, which is local to you, means you don’t have to factor in overseas logistics, or allow for unforeseen problems with, for example, the transport of your product, or extra time when a prototype isn’t right.


As we’ve already alluded to, one of the main benefits of precision steel fabrication is a reduction in cost. Here’s why that is the case:

  • Less waste – products being made to their exact specifications naturally means there is less waste.
  • Accuracy – because parts are made so precisely, extra materials aren’t required to account for inaccurate parts being made.
  • Labour – there is less manual labour involved with precision techniques because the machines that are used are highly automated.
  • Tolerance guarantee – the precision of CNC machining ensures complex parts are made which achieve tighter tolerances than conventional methods.
  • Time – the reduction in production time reduces the overall cost of the project.
  • Economies of scale – due to identical products being produced quickly and accurately.


Precision machining can be used across a range of materials. But that’s not the only reason it is a flexible product technique. Custom parts can be made quickly so that prototypes can be produced and tested. Unique parts are made efficiently, and products can be modified quickly, or redesigned entirely, without needing to factor in a lengthy development stage.


Because of the accuracy involved, precision steel fabrication results in significantly better quality control when compared with manual methods of production.

The end product will have fewer defects; saving costs and improving performance.

A precise steel fabrication will assemble more easily with its component parts – enhancing overall performance.


Being able to make small adjustments to the precision technology and machinery means prototypes can be quickly and easily altered.

UK steel fabrication specialists…

Above all, choosing the right company for your business’s needs is vital to the success of your precision steel fabrication requirements.

FEM is a specialist, central-England based, steel fabrication company with more than 20 years’ experience in producing specialist steel parts for customers seeking assured quality. Family-owned and run, FEM prides itself on delivering a friendly, solution-focussed service that sets it apart from other steel fabrication companies.

Want to know more? FEM is passionate about finding ways to support your business with fabrication, welding and machining projects. Give us a call on 01909 774 836 for a free, no-obligation quote.


How is quality control maintained in the fabrication process?

As a bespoke fabrication company based in Sheffield, FEM delivers quality metal fabrication products not just to companies in the northern Midlands, but across England, the whole of the UK, internationally, and even offshore.

What makes us a trusted fabrication company is our assurance and delivery of quality. So in this blog, we explore what that means to us, and why you should always seek out a bespoke fabrication company near you that priorities quality…

What do we mean by ‘quality control’ in metal fabrication?

 Quality control in metal fabrication means producing products to a high standard.

The International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) defines quality as the “degree to which a set of inherent characteristics of an object fulfils requirements”.

Quality within a fabrication company will be met and maintained using a Quality System – ensuring all elements of production, and all those involved in the production process, are working to the requirements of the same quality manual.

For quality fulfilment, metal fabrication firms will create a Quality Management programme to ensure Quality Control (completion of the process) and Quality Assurances (requirements of the process being met).

Quality Control is not a ‘one size fits all’ system, with each bespoke fabrication process requiring its own standards of quality to meet specifications. Unique quality control measures are identified by a specialist during the design part of the fabrication process.

How is quality control maintained in metal fabrication?

Quality control is maintained with the inspection of the product at each stage of its production.

This starts with a pre-production check of the materials; followed by an in-process inspection; completing quality control with a final inspection of the finished product.

How is quality control implemented in metal fabrication?

A considered quality management programme ensures quality control is implemented at every stage of the production process.

This includes:

Timeensuring the timeline of production is kept to so that deadlines are met.

Safetythat the production team has safety training and codes of conduct are adhered to.

Costkeeping to budget by limiting errors and delivering on time.

Compliancemaking sure staff are trained on product compliance.

Maintenancekeeping equipment well maintained and regularly checked.

Communicationputting a system in place where any issues with quality are reported.

Automationsmart technology means quality control data can be monitored and stored.

Reviewregularly reviewing quality control practices to be sure standards don’t slip.

Why is quality control important?

 Quality control is important not only for the customer, but also for the integrity and safety of the finished product.

That’s why FEM – a bespoke fabrication company in Sheffield – puts so much into quality control, as it’s vital to our reputation and why so many of our clients choose us time and again.

For us the quality control measures we put in place for metal fabrication projects mean our clients receive a finished product that is quality assured, free of defects and meets the brief and need they gave us at the design stage. And by putting in quality control measures at every stage of the process, issues are picked up quickly.

In conclusion, quality control is vital to the fabrication process because it: prevents defects, ensures functionality, guarantees safety, keeps products uniform and delivers projects to time and on budget.

What are the benefits of quality control to the metal fabrication process?

As the team here at our fabrication company in Sheffield have touched upon already in this blog, there are multiple reasons quality control is important in the metal fabrication process.

But here are a few other benefits brought about by quality control:

  • Significantly reduces the risk of recall and all that comes with that.
  • Enhanced measures improve safety.
  • A reduction in liability risk.
  • An increase in customer satisfaction.

What quality assurances should you look out for when choosing a fabrication company?


Following on from the quality control measures put in place during production is the quality assurance of not just the manufacturer, but of recognised third bodies such as ISO.

ISO defines quality assurance as “part of quality management focused on providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled”.

Here at FEM we are accredited with ISO 9001 Certification, which sets out the criteria for a quality management system, helping to ensure our customers get consistent, high-quality products and services.

FEM’s ISO 9001 Certification helps us to comply, inspect and manage our quality control methods, and is the accredited quality assurance our customers look for when choosing us.

What quality control means to FEM…

 Quality control isn’t just a box-ticking exercise for us here at FEM. We believe it is integral to the integrity of our business and the reason we are so highly reviewed as a fabrication company in Sheffield.

We want every product we produce to be fit for purpose, delivering each project within budget and in a timely manner.

It’s the value we place in quality control which is why we are so well regarded in our industry, putting quality at the heart of everything we do, from an initial client consultation to the arrival of the finished product at its destination.

Where can I find quality control maintained fabrication near me?

Based in Rotherham, just outside of Sheffield in the north midlands of England, Fabrication Engineering Maintenance Ltd (FEM) is centrally based in the UK to easily meet the needs of customers across the length and breadth of the British Isles. We’re open Monday to Friday and always keen to have a chat about how we can fulfil your bespoke fabrication project.



The future of sheet metal fabrication

Sheet metal fabrication is a fast-growing, innovative industry, and in this blog, we’ll look at what it is, current processes and industry outlook, and what the future holds for sheet metal fabrication companies like FEM…

What is sheet metal fabrication?

 To define sheet metal fabrication, it is a process that uses cutting, punching, folding and assembling to transform flat sheets of aluminium or steel into metal structures or products. The metal is bent, stretched and shaped via cutting and welding to create the finished product.

This process can be used to make all manner of metal products, from garages and lockers to surgical instruments and kitchen accessories.

What are the benefits of bespoke sheet metal fabrication?

 For bespoke metal fabrication, a highly specialised service like that provided by FEM is required.

Tailored products that are the result of bespoke sheet metal fabrication can benefit companies by allowing them to stand out from the crowd, differentiating their product from competitors with metal fabrication work that is unique, rather than standard.

A bespoke sheet metal product also supports efficiency, as compromises aren’t required to ensure a standard option adapts to the needs of a one-of-a-kind product. And the detail allows optimum solutions for all who use and work with it.

Another benefit of sheet metal fabrication is that standards for that specific product are met.

What are the processes in sheet metal fabrication?

 Working with a bespoke sheet metal fabrication company near to you, like FEM, will allow for a tailored service at every stage of the process.

However, as a guide, these are the usual processes involved in sheet metal fabrication:

  • Designing
  • Programming
  • Cutting
  • Punching (CNC punching)
  • Bending
  • Welding
  • Assembly
  • Powder coating

Remember, final products should always be signed off and certified to BSEN 1090.

The current outlook for sheet metal fabrication…

 The sheet metal fabrication industry is incredibly fast growing as it keeps pace with increasing demand, and as more sectors look to sheet metal fabrication for solutions to new problems.

In fact, it is one of the fastest growing industries in the world; the recent replacement of traditional methods with enhanced technology allowing efficiencies that have hugely supported that growth.

Demand for sheet metal fabrication is coming from a number of sectors, including large-scale industries like automotive, aerospace and construction; right down to everyday item manufacturers such as those who make household products.

With an eye on cost and waste, more is being asked of the sheet metal fabrication industry by its clients to improve operational efficiencies and ensure the lifespan of the products it produces.

 How will advancements in technology change sheet metal fabrication?

There are a number of advancements heading our way here at sheet metal fabrication companies like FEM in Sheffield. So with our finger on the pulse of all things ‘sheet metal fabrication’, here is a look at some of the main technologies which are soon to, or already starting to, support the way we deliver high standards:

Automated Machinery

So the use of automated machinery has already been around a good while thanks to the advancements brought by Industry 3.0. But how and when it is used is becoming more advanced, with the tasks automated machinery can perform increasing in their complexity, and the technology itself faster and cheaper to run.

Cyber Security

As technology improves and is integrated into the fabrication of sheet metal, so too does an increased risk of cyber attack.

Automation (above) and digitization (below) mean that hacked technology can expose private data and sensitive information.

Therefore the future advancements of sheet metal fabrication must keep pace with enhanced cyber security.

As most breaches are a result of human error, keeping our team trained on cyber security is something we are really passionate about at FEM.


While there is no call for robotics to replace the skill and experience of a highly-trained sheet metal fabrication worker like those at FEM, the future for our industry will no doubt see the introduction of repetitive, un-skilled jobs, and those that are high-risk, handed over to ‘Co-Bots’ in years to come. This will free up time for our human team to concentrate on areas of production that require thought and expertise; such as bespoke sheet metal fabrication.

3D Printing

The current cost of 3D printing for steel fabrication is too high for most companies in the industry to buy and maintain the machines.

But as those with larger budgets have proved – like NASA – using 3D in the fabrication industry can be practical and flexible. So it’s likely that 3D printing will become a viable production tool in the metal fabrication industry in the future.

Digitization of data

Allowing data to be collected and stored has been transformative for many industries, and it will continue to improve efficiencies in sheet metal fabrication.

The digitization of data means information can be accessed by individuals anywhere, anytime and in real time. Thus allowing different areas of the business to communicate and utilize data quickly.

As this technology allows industries like ours to do more, processes will become increasingly equipped with data storing sensors.

Collecting, measuring and analyzing that data has already, and will continue to have, huge effects on the productivity, efficiency and transparency for sheet metal fabrication companies around the world.

So how will Industry 4.0 change the future of sheet metal fabrication?

Here at FEM, we don’t predict that the wants of our customers will change in the future; they will still seek quality sheet metal fabrication delivered to time and within budget.

However, how we meet those demands is likely to change:

  1. Technology will expand the realm of projects we can undertake.
  2. Efficiencies will reduce the time fabrication projects take to deliver.
  3. Reductions in cost brought on by new technology will be passed on to the client.

For us, new technologies that will enter the sheet metal fabrication industry, like automation, will allow us to be more flexible, fast and scale our production. With a reduction in waste, we can be more sustainable too.

Why use a bespoke fabrication company like FEM for fabrication projects?

 Using a business which specialises in custom metal fabrication services like FEM can be hugely beneficial to the outcome of your project. Want to know more? Have a read of our blog post here. Whether it’s a new staircase or a raised platform, it should answer your FAQs about bespoke metal fabrication.

Alternatively, call us direct on 01909 774 836. Our team loves to find solutions to all metal fabrication problems, and give you bespoke ideas and a tailor-made quote for sheet metal fabrication near you.