It may seem that sheet steel fabrication and ironworks have similar jobs, both are classed as highly skilled trades, but both have different skill sets and utilize different tools and materials. Usually, ironwork is more structural and sheet metal fabrication is more functional.
An ironworks or iron works is a building site where iron Is smelted and where heavy iron and steel products are made. An integrated ironworks in the 19thcentury usually included one or more blast furnaces and a number of pudding furnaces or a foundry with or without other kinds of ironworks.
There are three main types of ironworkers:
- Structural ironworkers erect the framework of bridges, buildings, stadiums, amusement park rides, bank vaults and other large scale industrial metal projects according to engineer blueprints.
- Ornamental ironworkers, or finishers, are responsible for the more architectural metal elements such as window frames, stairways, catwalks, railings, fencing, gates and building entranceways. This ironwork requires a high skill in arc welding.
- Reinforcing ironworkers, or rodbusters, is to strengthen structures. These are the workers who place a tie rebar, and reinforce concrete footings, slabs, bridge frame work and building structures.
SHEET METAL FABRICATIONS
These skilled tradesmen frequently work in metal fabrication shops or at manufacturing plants and specialise in fabrication, installation or maintenance, but may also perform tasks in all three areas. There is a long list of fabrications that can be produced by sheet metal workers, including roofs and rain gutters, heating and cooling systems, handrails, and more. When fabricating using sheet metal you have to take into consideration the thickness, tensile strength, manufacturing method and quality. There are as many types of sheet metal as there are types of metal, most commonly used ones are aluminium, steel, stainless steel, zinc, copper and a variety of alloys.