Guide to Sheet Metal Manufacturing
How is Sheet Metal Manufactured?
In order to understand how to design and work with sheet metal, you must be familiar with how sheet metal is produced. Sheet metal is cut into various shapes and sizes from flat and thin pieces. Countless industries rely on a steady supply of sheet metal products, including military and transport markets. Here are some of the basics that will guide you through the sheet metal manufacturing process.
Sheet Grades and Materials
There are several different materials that can be used for sheet metal manufacture. The most common choices include such metals as aluminium and steel. With these metals, there are also different grades involved. Steel is most commonly produced as 304 steel grade. Others include stainless steel 410 and 316.
Aluminium also has popular grades that are used for sheet metal, but they have different attributes. Their look differs from grade to grade, and the strength rises with the grade number. Grades like 1100-H14 will be weaker than grade 3003-H14, for example. Different grades will require different machinery to produce, which is something that is worth noting for a manufacturer.
The Forming Process
To create workable sheet metal, the material first needs to pass under a press. Between the two dies, the parts can be formed according to specifications. The topmost die is called the punch and it helps shape and cool the metal sheet as it passes through. To form the sheet, the metal is bent with the assistance of the presses which guide the sheet metal.
Roll forming is a slightly different process. The metal section that is put inside the machine is worked on through various rolling stations, giving it the desired shape.
The design of the sheet metal is a very important part of the manufacturing process. Creating sheets that are not compatible with other parts is pointless, which is why the design has to be precise and consistent throughout manufacture.
Engineers aim to create sheet metal with high ease of assembly. When developing parts, the sheet metal shape has to be formed in a way that allows for easy construction and application. If the manufacturer produces several different sheet metal designs that go with one another, it's important that they precisely insert with one another.
For the sake of simplicity, interlocking parts are created in a way that allows them to be assembled from one direction. This kind of intuitive design makes the sheets versatile and easy to use for any business that requires them.
Design and Realization
Before a piece of sheet metal can be shaped and included in a blueprint or construction, it needs to be designed to fit specifications. Like many other products, sheet metal starts out on the drawing board. An engineer must draw up a sketch and then create a design that will fit the needs of the client or facility that requires the metal.
Quality workmanship is required to bring quality sheet metal from the drawing board to the end of the production line. Starting off with a good design allows the later parts of manufacture to successfully produce adequate sheet metal. Facilities need to employ high-quality designers so that their sheet metal pieces are up to par. Best companies in sheet metal manufacturing, utilize expert design teams to provide quality designs and prototypes for their sheet metal fabrication. It's a crucial part of the production process that determines how well the sheet metal will turn out.
The manufacturing process for sheet metal often includes working with high temperatures and powerful machinery. Employees working on the floor of the facility are exposed to hazardous working conditions, which is why safety precautions must be taken to ensure that they avoid injury.
Everything from production to the transport of sheet metal can be hazardous. The spinning process that helps give the sheet metal its shape can easily cause injury if employees are not careful. Special tools are required to push the metal between the spindles that shape the sheets. At the same time, employees must stick to safety guidelines to avoid coming into contact with hazardous materials and machinery. Safety gear is also a requirement for avoiding unnecessary injury when working with moving parts.
There are various different ways to shape and utilize sheet metal to fit manufacture needs. The process of creating sheet metal isn’t particularly complex, but it still requires the input and expertise of experienced personnel from start to finish. With the right tools, this process can go along smoothly and create high-quality pieces of sheet metal for the facility and its clients.