Which industries rely on metal fabrication?

Metal fabrication is the backbone of many industries due to its ability to create products with precision. This can either be done through bespoke fabrication or on a large scale. Regardless, skilled workers and cutting-edge automation ensures that work is completed to a high level of precision. Quality can be furthered with finishing processes and measures to meet industry regulation. 

While many industries use metal fabrication on occasion, for some it is a vital service. In this, blog we’ll be discussing the industries that currently rely on metal fabrications. 


Metal fabrication industries 

Steel fabrication work products can serve many purposes dictated by the materials used. For instance, where electrical components require conductive materials, it is often best to be housed within a material that is not. Through modern fabrication tools and technologies, companies can access products of varying sizes too.  

The list of industries that make use of metal fabrication services is large and ever growing. So, instead of featuring all of them, here are the top 3 industries relying on metal fabrication in their day-to-day operations. 


Demand for steel fabrication is primarily driven by the construction industry. As a result, metal fabricators are experienced at working with architects and building engineers to provide structural steel fabrication services. Here, fabricators use their materials knowledge to provide recommendations on what will achieve the best results for the business. 

Large scale construction projects require fabricated steel beams, where smaller structures night require specialist metal support structures. Many government construction initiatives will also involve metal fabrication. From train tracks, to cabling, to bridges, to signage, structural steel features heavily in everyday life. 


As an industry centred around highly technical products, aerospace requires precision engineering and precise metal fabrication. Demands are shared by commercial flying and military companies, both of which are significant. Bespoke metal fabrication services can prove particularly useful, as it enables the testing of prototypes. 

Where repairs and replacement parts are needed, they must fit seamlessly within the existing structure. This means metal fabrication is constantly used by the aerospace industry, even when new products are not being created.


Practically all forms of transportation contain large amounts of metal fabricated components. For example, the body panels of cars, buses, trams, and trains are typically created using sheet metal fabrication. This is because it’s light weight and malleable. Also on these vehicles are poles, seats, gears, pipes, and more, all made from fabricated metal. 

Many parts utilised by the transport industry are made from aluminium to save weight and improve efficiency. Steel and steel alloys are then used in areas that are likely to be subjected to kinetic forces or high temperature. Lastly, copper fabrication features heavily on internal electrical components. This ensures the functionality of on-board computers, signals, lighting, and more. 


Expert metal fabrication work 

As a family run business that’s been operating since the 1980’s, FEM have partnered with companies in a wide range of industries. We provide metal fabrication, maintenance, and engineering services to help you get the best results from your metal products. Our 30,000 sq/ft facility gives us the capacity to meet your specifications and keep your project running to schedule. Contact us today. 

What standards need to be met in metal fabrication?

Metal fabrication is a big part of our society and everyday life, which means there needs to be standards in place. To ensure the safety of any metal fabrication projects being produced. This is especially the case for structural steel fabricated products which are deemed as “safety critical”. In this guide, we’ll be looking at the main standards that need to be met in metal fabrication. So, you can make sure you’re getting the best possible quality work for your bespoke steel fabrication projects that is fully compliant. 


History of metal standards 

In 1989 the Construction Products Directive (CPD) implemented a framework across the EU. That was designed to maintain the integrity of buildings and construction works. Following this in 2014, it was made a legal requirement through the CPD that any companies that manufactured or supplied steel products had to follow the terms of the BSEN 1090 standard. As well as making sure that the products are accurately CE marked. 

Another important standard when it comes to the manufacturing process of high-quality metal fabrication is the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). This is a representative body from various industries around the world that establish and implement regulatory guidelines. The most common standard for metal workers to adhere to is the ISO 9001. Read on to learn more about BS EN 1090 and ISO 9001 below.


What is BSEN 1090 and why is it important? 

The BSEN 1090 standard is made up of three parts that are designed to improve metal fabrication and the assembly of steel structures. 

  • EN 1090-1 – CE Marking sets out the terms to be followed for assessing and verifying a product or service. 
  • EN 1090-2 – outlines the requirements for manufacturing and assembling steel structures. 
  • EN 1090-3 – outlines the requirements for manufacturing and assembling aluminium structures. 

BSEN 1090 is important because it sets a bar for compliance, traceability, and verification across all stages of the fabrication process. The standard looks at the following factors: 

  • Auditing 
  • Quality control and product testing 
  • Material certification and suitable storage 
  • Equipment set up and calibration 
  • Accurate documents and records 
  • Staff training, testing, and qualification 
  • Consumable certification and control 
  • Product marking/identification 
  • Controlling products that don’t conform

Demonstrating welding competence 

To comply with BSEN 1090 standards, all welders are required to be fully qualified with welder approval test certificates. That are relevant to the type of welding being completed as well as adhering to BSEN 9606-1. Approval certificates are issued by an external test body and are valid for a maximum of three years. In addition, welders will have checks every 6 months to show that their welds are consistently being produced to the required standard. 


Why is ISO important in metal fabrication? 

ISO has a similar aim to BSEN 1090 as it is in place to make sure that fabrication projects are handled and managed, with the upmost safety and in compliance with the relevant industry. By having ISO in place, fabricators have a clear benchmark to reach and a high level of quality to achieve with every project they complete. 

For example, if an order needs duplicates of different shapes, materials, and cuts. The ISO standards are a valuable resource in helping them to come out precise and identical. This is because each standard in the ISO includes detailed instructions and drawings for workers to follow. 

Adhering to ISO standards ensures that every piece is alike, which informs the standard for each type of that particular product. When manufacturers don’t have to create their own standards and they’re already implemented, the fabrication process will be much smoother and easier no matter what project a company works on. 

ISO 9001 supports managers and staff to work more efficiently by: 

  • Identifying the right manager 
  • Dividing the processes into smaller steps and sequences to follow 
  • Putting the workers into teams 
  • The manager assigning the steps and sequences to the appropriate teams or individuals



If you’re searching steel fabricators near me and want a company who produces high quality products in accordance with the relevant standards, FEM can help. All our work is completed following the most up to date health and safety legislation, full risk assessments, and method statements. Customer satisfaction and the quality of our work are our highest priorities. Contact us today to discuss your specific fabrication needs and see how our specialist services can benefit you. 



Is metal fabrication sustainable?

Metal fabrication is one of the premier manufacturing processes used in sectors all over the world. Companies can use various types of metal fabrication to produce vital parts and components. Due to these widespread applications, the industry has the potential to significantly influence the environmental impact of a range of manufacturing. 

In this blog, we’ll be examining whether the metal fabrication industry is currently sustainable and if not, what can be done to make the process more sustainable. 


What’s involved in metal fabrication? 

Metal fabrication is a process that has the potential to consist of many different stages. These vary depending on the technicality and scope of the project. Therefore, companies in some industries may require bespoke metal fabrication that uses more or less of these stages than others to meet their needs. 

  • Cutting – can be achieved using a variety of methods, including machining, water jet, shearing, laser cutting and more. 
  • Forming – can include one or more of the following: bending, stamping, drilling, folding. 
  • Assembling – the workpiece is joined together, either through screwing, riveting, or welding. 
  • Finishing – products and components are treated with protective coatings. This could be a glaze, a powder, or a specialised type of paint. 

Sustainability issues arise due to the energy needed to change the shape of the metal. Even cold forming processes involve extreme force, which is typically generated by electricity-powered machinery. Also, some of the steps listed above are less sustainable than others. For example, welding operations can produce harmful gases such as carbon monoxide and ozone. 

Materials are also a consideration. Stronger materials are typically more difficult to form and assemble, thereby requiring greater energy input. Additionally, finishing may only be required for certain products. This step can produce environmentally harmful waste gases. 


Sustainability measures for metal fabrication 

Sustainability in metal fabrication means securing the present and future of the industry while protecting the environment.  


Unfortunately, waste products are inevitable during metal fabrication. However, companies can be more sustainable by ensuring waste is disposed of safely. Measures that increase manufacturing efficiency are also likely to coincide with a reduction in waste. 

Recyclable materials 

Focusing on highly reusable materials can reduce the environmental impact of the metal fabrication process. Steel, for instance, is one of the most recycled materials in the world because its metallurgic properties are maintained. On the other hand, metals like aluminium possess qualities that are environmentally friendly. 

Long lasting products 

Producing products with long lifecycles removes the need for repair. This means metal fabrication services are required less often. 

Renewable energy 

Any of the energy supplied to metal fabrication facilities and equipment can be created by renewable sources. While this won’t prevent the effects of potentially damaging processes such as welding, it will help make cutting and forming more sustainable. 


Metal fabricators near me 

Some of FEMs core values are integrity, honesty, loyalty, and efficiency. This means we aim to complete your work to the best of our ability, in consideration of your needs. This includes how we can make your project as sustainable as possible. We are experienced metal fabricators based in Sheffield, the home of UK steel. Contact us today for a free quote. 

Different types of steel beams and their applications

Steel beams are an essential part of the construction industry, providing the required support for a structure to be built. However, there isn’t simply one type of beam that is universally used for all types of projects. There are several different types of steel beams in a range of shapes and sizes with each one being more suited to specific applications. In this article, we’ll be exploring these types of beams, their design and manufacturing by structural steel fabricators, and how they are used in construction projects. 


Steel beam types and their uses 

Some of the most common types of steel beams include:

I beams/universal beams 

These beams are the most common type of steel beams used in construction. To create an I beam, the composition of the flanges (flat surfaces) and the web (vertical support) are hot rolled, and their shape resembles an I, hence the name. The steel columns are connected to the universal beams to carry the loads. They feature a higher stiffness in the vertical direction and the height of the section is greater than the width. 

H beams and W beams 

Similar to I beams, H beams feature a specific shape, but are typically heavier and longer. They have a H shaped cross section and often have equal thicknesses between the web and flange. W beams are commonly referred to as wide flange beams. They have straight and larger flanges that take the shape of a W. Like with I beams these steel beams are used for general construction projects rather than having dedicated uses. 

Plate girder 

A plate girder is a specific type of steel beam that is mostly used in the construction of bridges and railway lines. They are easily customisable which makes them ideal for bespoke projects with strict requirements. Plate girders are created by two flanges and the web being welded together. The design of these girders is not the same as other types of beams. Welding is extremely important as three plates are connected to form a plate girder. So, it has to be completed precisely ensuring high durability and strength. 

Gantry girder 

The gantry is a beam mechanical system that enables transfer of material from one location to another during a construction project. Gantry beams are identified as special types of beams. A system like this can be categorised based on the purpose of its use. For example, in ports they can be used to lift containers or in factories they are used to move goods from one area to another.

There can be further distribution of weight along the beam of a gantry as needed. The design of a gantry girder is often more complex than other types. Small and medium scale gantries can be made from hot rolled sections, but larger scale and more heavily loaded gantries could be used as plate girders.

Composite beams 

Composite beams bring together two or more different materials and are often more efficient steel beams that are used in construction structures. One example of composite beams is a steel beam that has been combined with the slab or a concrete beam. A composite beam of a steel beam and a slab is made by having shear studs welded to the steel beam which is then embedded in the concrete. 

Hollow steel sections 

Hollow sections are steel profiles with tubular style cross sections. The shapes can be rectangular, square, or circular depending on their intended use. Rectangular and circular hollow sections are particularly efficient in relation to local failures. So, whilst universal beams are sometimes more at risk of local buckling, a rectangular section is more resistant to it. Also, they are available in different sections, but aren’t produced by connecting steel plates like plate girders. 


Where can I find steel beam fabricators near me? 

If you have a project that requires bespoke, quality crafted steel beams, the team at FEM are on hand to support you. Our structural steel fabricators have many years of hands-on experience in metal fabrication to support your needs and fully meet the requirements of your project. No matter how big or small your bespoke steel fabrication is intended to be. Contact us today to discuss your needs and learn more about how our fabrication services can benefit you. 

What is the structural steel fabrication process?

Structural steel fabrication refers to the steps involved to turn simple steel materials into reliable and resilient structural products. There are several important and complex parts of the structural steel fabrication process. That ensure the final products are created to the highest possible standard. In this article we will be looking at the process in more detail, so you can develop a greater insight into the work that will be required for your structural steel projects.


Main steps in the structural steel fabrication process 

Design and preparation

Preparation and planning are the foundation of any structural steel fabrication project. Before any fabrication work can start, there will be drawings and ideas created of what the finished product will look like. Along with the elements required to make that happen. It will also need to be decided whether any custom steel parts will have to be created for the project. Or if standard steel components will work. As the process goes on, blueprint drawings will become more refined until a final design is settled upon. With all the necessary details established for the structural steel fabricators to work with.

Cutting and drilling the steel

Often carried out with a CNC machine, steel needs to be cut to the correct length. Then accurate holes are drilled into the metal to the specifications of the project. Steel cutting can be achieved using laser cutting, circular saw, waterjet, or plasma cutting machines. If any of the pieces are cut or drilled incorrectly, they won’t fit together. And fabricators would have to start again with a new piece of steel.

Bending and welding

Some steel components may need to be bent into a specific shape using a press brake or bending roller machine. Once the steel has been cut, drilled, and bent in the required way. The pieces will then need to be welded together. There are multiple different approaches that can be taken with welding including MIG and TIG. Welding can be carried out by hand or using a machine, but however it is done it needs to follow strict quality management conditions. In order to be certified under BSEN 287.

Quality check

Completing a quality check is essential to make sure that the finished product meets all the established specifications from the planning stage. The check can include visual and dimensional inspections as well as mechanical testing. Welded parts need to be tested to ensure that they don’t have any hidden cracks or defects.

Cleaning and painting

After a quality check is completed the structural steel product needs to be cleaned, and a decision made on any protective coatings or paints. That should be applied that will benefit it in its real-world application. Multiple cleaning methods can be used to get rid of anything that has gotten stuck on the surface during the other parts of the process.  

Examples include surface rusting and blasting machine treatment which ensure the steel is completely ready for painting. Anti-rust paints are very beneficial in withstanding severe weather conditions and general corrosion resistance. Steel structures typically have 1 layer of anti-rust paint and 2 layers of normal paint or coating. This can be fire resistant depending on the requirements of the structure.

Product delivery

The last stage of the process is to deliver the finished product safely and securely to the requested destination of the client. At FEM, we work with a well-established, specialist haulage company who move products across Europe.  


Benefits of structural steel fabrication

Structural steel fabrication offers several benefits in construction and many other projects and industries. These include: 

  • Strength and durability – structural steel is renowned as one of the strongest metals with the added benefit of weighing up to a third less compared to other metals. Its strength also means it has impressive durability, which is key to a structural project.  
  • Environmentally friendly – steel can be endlessly reused and recycled, making it very beneficial to the environment. Additionally, producing steel doesn’t demand as much energy and creates less carbon dioxide, so it is not damaging to create. 
  • Malleability – structural steel is malleable, meaning it can easily be manipulated into any complex shape that is required for a project. Not only that but steel is an alloy, so the properties of the metal can be tweaked depending on its specific needs.  
  • Low maintenance – steel doesn’t need as much maintenance in comparison to similar metal materials. It can easily be repaired if there is any damage, and its properties ensure its overall longevity. 
  • Visual aesthetic – steel can create a sleek and modern look and be adapted to suit certain appearance requirements.  
  • Affordability – steel is one of the most valuable and utilised metals in the fabrication industry due to the level of quality you get for a very affordable price.  
  • Prefabrication – prefabrication can save a lot of time on a project and unlike other metals, steel can easily be prefabricated before final assembly on-site. For efficient fast tracking of a project structural steel can be beneficial for prefabrication.



If you’re looking for high quality, reliable structural steel, or general metal fabrication services the team at FEM are here to help. We’re a family-run business that specialises in helping clients with bespoke fabrication projects across a wide range of industries and applications. Contact us today to discuss your requirements and get a free quote from our fabrication specialists.