Some metals, such as bronze and brass, are pliable enough to be molded into thin sheets. They can be rolled, hammered, or pressed to produce materials that are needed for various industrial and structural applications. The process of forming sheet metals into functional items may seem obvious, but in truth, it’s more complicated than it looks.
There are a number of metalworking processes that involve sheet metal, each of which yields products of unique purpose and quality. This diversity of processes helps address issues arising from the differences in properties of metals. Here are some of the most common metalworking processes sheet metal products have to go through before they are delivered to sheet metal suppliers across the country.
Most sheet formation techniques start off by preparing a strip of metal. Sometimes, the process of forming the strip is not very smooth so much so that camber is left on certain parts of the output. To eliminate this defect and produce a smoother and finer surface, the strip is either flattened or leveled until the strip relaxes straight. After becoming uneven as excess volume is pushed to the sides, the edge is either cut or smoothened.
As soon as a sheet metal blank is formed through any of the typical sheet forming techniques, further work has to be done to achieve a shape and, sometimes, dimension needed for specific applications. Deep drawing is the method that can be used in this situation. It involves the use of a forming die with a punch. The metal blank is placed on the die and the punch above it. The punch is pushed down the metal blank at adequate speed to achieve the desired fold and depth.
This process works much like deep drawing except the result has a bigger height-to-diameter ratio. Additionally, the metal blank significantly thins as the punch pushes it down the die. The best example of a product that has undergone the ironing process is a beverage can. Having more height than deep drawn sheet metal, a beverage can is considerably thin because the metal blank stretches as the punch presses it down.
One of the most popular metalworking processes, rolling involves the use of one or more pairs of rolls held by steel mills. A metal stock is passed through these rolls to reduce its thickness. A lot of manufacturers prefer this method because the sheet produced usually comes with a smooth surface. Before being fed into the rolls, the workpiece is heated first. The process is called “hot rolling” if the metal stock is above its recrystallization temperature, and “cold rolling” if the metal stock is below its recrystallization temperature.
Sometimes, a sheet metal doesn’t need to be plain and impermeable. In some applications, such as fence and walkways, it needs to have holes of regular patterns. To achieve this, a rolled sheet is cut and stretched until it expands to the desired width and thickness. Expanded metals are much tougher and stronger than regular wire mesh, which is formed through a different process.
These are only some of the metalworking processes that involve the use of sheet metal or produce sheet metal, itself. Other more complex methods are usually employed for forming parts of intricate machine and structural designs. For instance, manufacturing unique components of an HVAC system may involve more than one metalworking process on sheet metal, including blanking, embossing, bending, flanging, and coining. Together, they comprise a more advanced method, called stamping.
Most sheet metal supplies you’ll find in any of your preferred sheet metal suppliers have been manufactured through the above-mentioned processes. However, it is important to note that not all of them are made from high-grade materials. If you need sheet metal of superior quality for your project, make sure that it is provided by a leading supplier like Rotax Metals.
Deep Drawing, autoform.com