Forming sheet metal is instrumental in fabricating and manufacturing parts and components. The process involves reforming a metal while it’s still solid. Specific metals retain plasticity when reshaped without losing structural integrity. Commonly sheet metal is bent, curled, ironed, laser cut, hydro-formed, or punched.
Of course, the process begins with metal choice. This could be steel, aluminium, copper, or any other type of metal depending on the required characteristics of the final product. It typically comes in coil form to start.
The raw metal is then heated until it becomes malleable. Once heated, it’s passed through a series of rollers in a process known as slabbing or rolling. This reduces the thickness of the metal and forms it into sheets.
The metal may be hot rolled (processed at high temperatures) or cold rolled (processed at room temperature) depending on the desired properties. Cold-rolled metal generally has a smoother finish and greater dimensional accuracy.
After rolling, the sheet metal is often annealed. Annealing is a heat treatment process that relieves internal stresses in the metal caused by rolling, and it increases the metal’s malleability for further processing.
The large sheet metal rolls are then cut into smaller pieces according to the desired size and shape for the final product. This can be done using various methods such as shearing, laser cutting, or plasma cutting.
The cut sheet metal is then formed into the desired shape. This could involve bending, stamping, or stretching the metal. This process is usually carried out using press brakes, stamping presses, or other specialized machinery.
Finishing processes enhance the product’s appearance and durability. This could include cleaning, polishing, painting, or coating the metal to protect it from corrosion.
Throughout this process, quality control measures are vital to ensure the sheet metal meets the necessary standards and specifications. This may involve checking the dimensions, strength, and finish of the product at various stages of production.