Steel fabrication has come a long way in recent decades, maximizing strength while pushing the upper limits of recyclability. We can spend all day talking about the positives of structural steel, but one byproduct of our fabrication is here and nearly impossible to avoid — burrs. These minor imperfections may generate serious problems later on, which is why it’s essential to find the right contractors for the job.

Sanilac Steel is here to serve as Michigan’s trusted structural steel fabricators, relying on our decades in the industry and modern equipment to ensure our clients benefit from fast, efficient steel services.

Keep reading to learn more about burrs and the deburring process, and be sure to contact us for a project quote!

What is a Burr?

As you might have been able to guess, a burr is the rough material left over from machining a metal component. Beyond metal work, burrs consists of the remnants left behind on the surface from shearing operations. It can help to imagine this process by cutting fabric; despite the sharpness of your scissors, small threads will likely be left behind from the shearing. These threads, or imperfections, are the resulting burrs.

When it comes to steel fabrication, metal burrs can prove to be problematic. Extensive material cutting can result in a lot of remnants, which can get lodged into different areas with other burrs to create a serious challenge in removing all extraneous material. If you cut your metal with inferior tools, burring may be a normal part of the process.

Technology Helps

One benefit of advancing technology is the ability to reduce waste and mistakes. Modern fabrication equipment helps to streamline the shearing process while also eliminating minor mistakes. Whether the burr is noticeable in size or microscopic in nature, small differences can impact the safety and effectiveness of your steel products.

Beyond the precision of your fabrication process, you can also benefit from a range of deburring processes to ensure your metal surfaces are ready for use:

  • Manual deburring — This common method of removing burrs requires an individual to manually smooth and deburr the surface. Tools and sandpaper can be deployed to create the right finish.
  • Grinding — We can vibrate, roller, or sandblast the burrs for a smooth and seamless finish. Grinders may not offer the level of precision your project demands.
  • Thermal deburring — This dynamic method relies on a gas explosion to push all existing burrs away from the product. If done incorrectly, however, this method can result in damages and subsequent corrosion.
  • Freezing — Steel can become brittle in freezing temperatures, which is where this method comes in handy. Once frozen, your steel fabricators will deploy a pellet spray to remove the burrs.
  • High-pressure water — As you can likely infer, this process relies on a strong water impact to clean away any burrs present.
  • Chemical deburring — Companies invest in this technology to remove burrs cleanly from intricate parts without impacting the material’s integrity. Chemicals can dissolve small burrs in a precise, controlled manner.

Safety Matters

While we are all required to wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) on the jobsite, the truth is that metal burrs can be problematic even when wearing gloves. Tiny shards of metal can become slivers and penetrate through the gloves and into the skin. One of your workers may sustain an injury when handling structural steel components, requiring first aid ranging from simple cleanups to professional stitches. Steel burrs can also prove to be a hassle to clean up in a safe manner, as airborne contaminants can cause irritation.

Small imperfections may lead to problems later on, which is why many companies focus on deburring somewhere throughout the process (many clients include deburring in their plans to promote clean finishes).

Precision is Important

In order to provide the correct product exactly as ordered, your structural steel fabrication team will need to complete the deburring process without impacting the structural or dimensional integrity of said material. Sanilac Steel’s structural steel fabricators strive to deburr all of our parts and products in a precise manner, relying on our proven processes to deliver a timely, affordable result. Failure to properly deburr your components can result in a failure to meet dimensional requirements, and may also add a new burr to correct.

While these metal nuisances cause only minor disruptions, it’s essential to seek perfection throughout the process to maximize safety and efficiency. Sanilac Steel is here to help, relying on our skills and expertise to provide clean, precise results for every project.

Need Steel Fabrication Services?

No matter your project’s size or scope, our structural steel fabricators in Michigan are here and ready to help! Sanilac Steel has been in business since 1967, and over the decades, we’ve continued to improve our process and training procedures to streamline all of our steel services. From structural steel design to fabrication, erection, and more, you can trust our company to provide an ideal outcome.

Contact us today for your project quote. We look forward to working with you!