Sheet Metal Fabrication Trends: What’s Next?

The Sheet Metal Fabrication industry has seen significant growth in jobs and technology over the past several years. In-fact manufacturing, in general, has seen positive growth over the past year.

The State of Metal

As a whole, metal manufacturing is in good shape, although recent government intervention does cause some concern about the future as steel and aluminum prices have surged at record rates. Shops are busy and demand for work is up.


Automation has helped simplify all forms of metal fabrication. The industry as a whole is thinking in new ways about merging worker productivity and automation.

Tube Laser Technology

Tube laser technology introduces several significant advantages over traditional manufacturing and fabrication processes. Tube lasers increase the ability to produce more intricate cuts, increase fabrication speed, save on downstream assembly and can reduce costs while improving quality.

3D Printing

Things are looking exciting for the metal industry as metal fabrication businesses are starting to invest in 3D printing technology. Metal 3D printing differs from traditional steel fabrication processes as it involves the stamping of metals to produce a required design. The evolution of 3D printing has gone from a product development tool to a full-blown industrial and manufacturing tool.

Industry Outlook

There are currently 12.3 million manufacturing jobs in the U.S., and the metal fabrication industry ranks third in providing manufacturing jobs in the U.S. The global metal fabrication market is expected to exceed $21 billion over the next five years. The metal fab industry includes all forms of fabrication: tube laser, metal cutting, metal forming, CNC fabrication, welding, punching, metal finishing and more. There are a number of opportunities for growth, as long as we are willing to adapt to rising metal fabrication trends.

In addition to these metal fabrication trends, there are also some challenges facing the industry. The supply of skilled labor is not keeping pace with the rapid growth our industry is experiencing. Automation may provide a partial solution, but manufacturers have to innovate to continue adding capacity without adding as many new hires. The Sheet Metal Fabrication industry has a very promising future. We are excited to be a leader in the industry.