With another year gone past it means it’s time to look towards the future. The world of sheet metal fabrication has changed a lot over the years, from techniques to sheet metal machinery upgrades and improvements. In today’s blog, we’re going to be having a look at some of the upcoming trends that will most likely be shaping 2019 in the sheet metal fabrication world – and it seems to be looking quite optimistic.
Firstly, you’re probably wondering what technology such as blockchain has to do with metal fabrication. And they don’t really have much in common at a first glance. But the potential is there. Blockchain technology is essentially like a digital ledger. It is distributed throughout a network but cannot be copied. It only has one owner who is able to update it at will. Every update creates a block. It is most popularly known as the foundation of cryptocurrency.
Now, how does it relate to the metal fabrication industry? Well, it has less to do with the physical fabrication side and more to do with the business side. Blockchain technology can essentially make it easier to track guidelines and conditions that need to be met within the individual parts of a contract. This is an efficient way of getting through terms but also identifying and resolving issues in a timelier manner
Blockchain technology can also be used by metal fabricators to verify and validate vendors’ parts in the manufacturing process. It’ll also make it possible to track the DNA of the production process.
Steel and aluminium demands
Thanks to constant surges in areas such as automotive, aerospace and construction (amongst others), the price for steel and aluminium are going to rise thanks to this demand increase. What will ensue will be raw materials going up for sale at volatile costs and everyone wanting a piece of it – which in turn will drive the prices up higher. With more of these materials being in demand, it means that more virgin steel and aluminium
The good news though, is that there have been new developments and advances in CO2 reduction technology. The new process uses inert anodes instead of carbon-rich anodes which leads to the production of oxygen instead of carbon dioxide. This will also further the production of aluminium in the future if it is more cost-effective and has a less harmful impact on the environment.
Though as a society we’re not completely there yet – especially not the metal fabrication industry – artificial intelligence is something that is on the horizon. In a few years’ time there will be AI machines that will be improving the efficiency and productivity of sheet metal machinery and the fabrication of sheet metal. Whether they’ll be performing the actual fabrication or simply advising on how improvements can be made – artificial intelligence technology will have a big impact on the sheet metal fabrication world in the not too distant future.
This technology is so widely available now that the wonder of it has died down quite a lot since its inception. We mentioned it in our blog on trends for 2018 last year and it’s still as relevant now as it was back then. It is becoming more cost-effective and accessible for businesses to take on 3D printing and begin to create remarkable things with it. It is also a viable method for metal fabrication, as we mentioned last year.
The sheet metal fabrication industry continues to throw out jobs that need filling with the problem not being that the jobs are disappearing, but that people aren’t qualified enough to do them. In an earlier blog, we wrote that welding in particular is one of these jobs. In fact, it could very well be the job that this applies to the most.
The primary age bracket for welders seem to be above the age of 35. In Australia, it was found that a lot of welders are being outsourced from overseas to work on domestic jobs because our own workers fail the tests. The problem being that a lot of them don’t finish the adequate studies and are offered lower grade jobs before they graduate – which they take.
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