D+M Metal Products has both the experience and the expertise to produce a large variety of large weldments for our clients. We’ve highlighted some of our weldment projects before on this blog, specifically our sculpture work, but here we will define what large weldments are and what challenges are involved in steel weldment fabrication services.
What Are Large Weldments?
D+M Metal Products fabricates any number of weldment units by welding one-half to one-inch-thick plate steel or metal pieces together into one weldment assembly. We do a broad spectrum of work with steel, alloy, and metal, and our engineers are proficient at weldment assembly design. They translate designs into CNC machine code, then the components are cut out and welded together. Many industries need large, heavy metal weldments, including the fork truck, AGV, pallet manufacturing equipment, and other heavy equipment industries.
Challenges of Large Weldments
Fabricating large weldments can be a complex and unforgiving task. Do it wrong the first time, and fixing it will be costly for the shop and result in delays. The weldments that go into large pieces of equipment often weigh thousands of pounds, for example the bucket on an earthmover. Some parts or components are even larger, but no matter how large they are and how much stress they may place on other parts of the structures they are attached to, they need to fit and to hold up over time.
Parts can also move as they are welded. “A very large metal part heats up as it is welded, and as the part heats up, it begins to shrink. That’s why it’s important to include slip planes in large-fixture design. The slip planes are incorporated into fixture designs to allow for some movement of the part. In some instances, the part can move as much as 0.197 inches during welding.” This means the fixture must hold the parts securely and accommodate these parts’ movements as they absorb the heat and twist or bend. Again, only an experienced welder has the knowledge to predict and accomplish this type of welding.
After a fixture is fabricated, it must be tested. This must be done right the first time as multiple retakes are not a viable option for large weldments, and the fixture must be perfect before it is shipped to the customer. When the fixture is right, it has to be disassembled for delivery, shipped, and then reassembled when it reaches the customer. Shipping is challenging, often requiring special permits and accommodations, but it needs to be done with care and efficiency so the customer is not waiting too long for delivery.
All of the above challenges are ones we understand and handle regularly for our clients. Some of the weldment projects D+M Metal Products fabricates include:
- Heavy frames
- Machine housings
- Construction equipment
- Material handling equipment
- Transportation equipment
- Mining machinery components
- Agricultural equipment
- Motor bases
- Other custom projects
If your company needs weldment design or fabrication done, please contact us at 616-784-0601. We would be happy to talk to you about any special requirements your weldment projects need and how we can accommodate them.