Manufacturing processes can be used for producing petrochemicals, rail and marine components, telecoms, consumer and commercial devices, farming, aviation, automotive, durable goods, and the automotive industry. All of these depend on metal-formed parts.
One of the crucial manufacturing processes in contemporary engineering is forming. A wide variety of daily items are made using forming operations or processes. Metal forming is a fabrication method that utilises metal sheets or tubing to produce structural parts and components. A metal workpiece can be bent or deformed to a desired geometric shape. Metal forming is the cornerstone of modern industrial manufacturing and a crucial industry.
Did you know? Every year, hundreds of millions of tonnes of material are used in metal-forming processes, accounting for 15% to 20% of the GDP of industrialised countries.
Fundamentals of the Metal Forming Process
Metal forming has been a manufacturing process to shape metal materials into various products, components, or parts. It involves applying a combination of forces, such as compression, tension and bending, to deform the metal material to the desired shape. Metal forming comprises presses, hammers, rollers, extruders, and dies. The equipment varies depending on the type of metal forming process and the size and shape of the material.
What Are the Metal Forming Processes?
Metal is subjected to a certain amount of stress during forming. Stress causes it to undergo plastic deformation or to change geometrically into a fashioned portion or part of a part for industrial use. The metal only loses its form during the procedure, not its mass.
To ensure success, metals must possess the required mechanical properties, such as the capacity to stretch, compress, or bend.
When the material's mechanical characteristics are insufficient, splits, creases or other defects usually appear in the formed part. Currently, the market for metal-forming machine processes is moderately fragmented due to the existence of metal-forming machine tool manufacturers who release cutting-edge inventions to provide excellent products to end-user industries.
Types of Metal Forming Process
There are two divisions in the metal-forming process.
1. Bulk-forming and
2. Sheet-forming Processes
While sheet-forming is further broken down into bending, deep/cup drawing, and shearing, bulk-forming is further broken down into rolling, forging, extrusion, and wire or rod drawing.
Because many different metal-forming techniques are used in various contexts, they are generally grouped by force.
There are numerous subcategories within metal forming techniques, such as casting, forging, stamping, press blanking, and roll forming. The choice of approach depends on the substance as well as the goal.
Below, we'll go into detail about the various metal-forming procedures.
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The Mesopotamian era is believed to be when the metal casting process first became popular. Liquid metal is poured into a hollow mould during casting, allowing it to harden and take shape.
The casting process can create intricate, complex parts best suited to smaller runs. Numerous alloys, including special ones, can be used in this process. Metal casting is utilised in almost every industry imaginable in some capacity.
Casting is used to make things like:
- Heavy machinery
Forging is a very different method of metal forming. Metal can be shaped into the desired shape using forging by applying localised compressive forces. Various metals can be forged by hammering, pressing, and rolling to shape the metal.
Alloy steel, stainless steel, aluminium, brass, copper, and carbon steel are typical metals used in forging. The kind of forging that occurs is frequently classified by the temperature at which the metal is forged. Forging is the preferred method for creating long-lasting, high-strength, hard parts. High-tonnage presses are needed for the process, and there are few to no additional fabrication steps.
Gears, drill bits, axle beams, landing gear, and many other items are produced using the metal forging process in the healthcare, aviation, and automotive sectors.
Another popular technique for forming metal today is stamping. A coil or flat metal sheet is first fed into a stamping press to begin the process. The metal is then stamped or cut out into the desired shape using a tool and die.
Metal stamping is a broad term that encompasses many different processes, such as coining, embossing, blanking, bending, and flanging. Although sheet metal is the most common material for metal stamping, other materials, like polystyrene, may also be used. Stamping is the best method for producing parts in large quantities and parts with fixed dimensions. It is perfect for quickly producing complex parts and calls for a high-tonnage press.
Among other industries, electrical, construction, device and hardware manufacturers use metal stamping for production. Engines, parts for aircraft, power tools, and electronics are just a few examples of parts that can be made using them.
4. Press Braking
Another metal-forming procedure that bends sheet metal to a specific angle is press braking. A punch and a die squeeze the metal into the desired shape.
Press braking is the best option for producing products with straightforward bend patterns and shorter, smaller runs. The labour-intensive nature of press braking makes it more expensive than other metal stamping methods.
This metal-forming method is best for creating hollow structures and complicated cross-sections. This process is simple to use in various industries, including design, farming, hotel management, shipping, and transportation, because the dies used are reasonably priced.
6. Roll Forming
Another technique for shaping metal is called roll forming, which uses metal strips to form cross-sections as they pass through a drum roller. High-strength metals can be shaped using this method, which is excellent for mass production. Roll forming allows the inline addition of embossing and punched features. Roll forming is used in the automotive, solar, energy, building, aviation, HVAC, tube and pipe, and fenestration industries.
One of the most crucial steps in production is turning raw materials into finished parts and components. Metal forming is one of the world's most frequently used production processes. Metal is plastically deformed during the metal-forming process using forces more significant than the material's yield strength. The manufacturing engineer must select the proper materials and equipment to meet the ever-increasing needs of various industries while keeping production costs and energy consumption minimal.
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