What are the most common types of sheet metal?

There are many types of metals and alloys that come in the form of sheets and are used in manufacturing processes. The right choice of material for a fabrication depends largely on its final application. Important factors to be considered include formability, weldability, corrosion resistance, strength, weight, and cost. Materials widely used to manufacture precision sheet metal include:

Common Types of Sheet Metal

1. Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel

Although there are numerous grades to choose from, in this paper we will highlight the top three that are commonly found in precision sheet metal fabrication:

  • The austenitic stainless steels of the 300 series contain high levels of chromium and nickel but contain little carbon. As the most widely used grade of stainless steel, they are known for their formability and corrosion resistance.

  • Ferritic stainless steel contains 11-30% chromium but little or no nickel, and is magnetic and not heat-treatable. It is usually used in decorative applications or non-structural uses, such as in seawater applications, where corrosion resistance is needed or where aesthetics are a primary concern. It is most commonly found in the stainless steel 400 series.

  • Martensitic steel - A group of chromium steels that do not typically contain nickel, they are both corrosion resistant and hardenable via heat treatment to a wide range of hardness and strength levels.

2. Cold Rolled Steel (CRS)

Cold rolling is a further processing stage for hot rolled steel which achieves a smooth finish and maintains tighter tolerances during forming.  CRS comes in both 1008 and 1018 alloys.

3. Pre-Plated Steel

Stainless steel materials that are either hot-dipped galvanized or galvanealled; that is galvanized and then annealed.

The galvanization process involves coating steel with zinc to prevent rust and corrosion.  An annealing process alters the microstructure of a material in order to change its mechanical or electrical properties, reducing the hardness and increasing ductility for simpler fabrication.

4. Aluminium

Aluminium sheet metal offers excellent strength to weight ratio and corrosion resistance, making it a popular choice in a wide range of manufacturing sectors. In addition to having exceptional corrosion resistance, Grade 1100 has magnificent workability, as well as good thermal and electrical conductivity. The material is often used for transmission or power grid lines. Alloy 3003 is frequently used for general applications because of its moderate strength and good corrosion resistance.

Workability. Commonly found in heat exchangers and cooking utensils. 5052 and 6061 are common grades found in metal fabrication. 5052 is the most widely used alloy because it is among the strongest alloys, but it is also formable, weldable, and corrosion-resistant. A solid structural alloy, grade 6061, is most frequently used in extrusions or for high-strength parts, such as truck and marine frames.

5. Copper/Brass

Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. The copper content allows brass to form a protective oxide layer (patina) on its surface, which prevents further corrosion. Brasses with lower zinc content can be easily cold worked and welded. Architectural or other consumer-facing products often display this type of patina, creating a highly desirable aesthetic appearance.

Omnidex Laser offers custom sheet metal fabrication at Premier Products

Premier Products of Omnidex Laser provides sheet metal fabrication services to customers for over 18 years. Among the materials we fabricate are aluminium, copper, stainless steel, steel, and high-strength alloys, and we offer a full spectrum of custom fabrication services. Our finishing, manufacturing, and packaging design assistance, as well as inspection services, helps us deliver high-quality finished products.

Get in touch with us or request a quote today to learn more about our sheet metal fabrication capabilities and to work with us on your next project.