Sheet metal forming is a major fabrication process followed by many sectors of industry. It is a process of making metal into thin and flat pieces. Sheet metals are formed by applying force to a metal piece to change its thickness or shape. The force deforms the material enabling it to bend or stretch into different shapes without failing or breaking. Sheet metals are used to make many everyday objects such as cook wear, hub caps, satellite dishes, musical instruments, airplane wings, car bodies and many more. Iron sheet metal materials with good magnetic permeability are used in electric machines and transformers. Many different alloys and metal can be used for metal forming. Aluminum sheets; brass, steel, copper, tin, nickel, titanium sheets; besides platinum gold and silver are most commonly used for this process.
Sheet Metal Forming Processes
This is a process that can be achieved by different methods. Following are the most common methods used:
- Bending: force is applied to the sheet metal to bend it at a desired angle so as to get a desired shape. Small bent parts are used as brackets, longer ones can be used as large enclosure or chassis.
- Roll forming: sheet metal is progressively shaped through a succession of bending operations by feeding sheet metal stock through a series of roll stations. This process is employed to fabricate tracks, panels, shelving and others.
- Spinning: where a sheet metal disc is spun at high speeds to a mold to achieve the desired shape. Hubcaps, cookware, rocket nose cones, musical instruments and satellite dishes are fabricated by this sheet metal forming process.
- Deep drawing: sheet metal is pushed downward forcing it into a die cavity in the shape of the desired part. Aluminum sheets and brass, copper and mild steel sheets are used to make automotive bodies and fuel tanks, cups, kitchen sinks and the like by this process.
- Stretch forming: sheet metal piece is bent and stretched simultaneously over a mold to form larger parts. It is done on a stretch press by securing sheet metal piece with the help of gripping jaws. Commonly used metals in this process are aluminum sheets, titanium and steel. Door panels in vehicles, enclosures and window frames are fabricated using this process.
In this modern age, processes like these are very common in producing products we buy and use today. These processes are also constantly getting enhanced as humanity search for more greener and efficient ways in manufacturing products. Hence, it’s always a good idea to know how your cookware or vehicle is made.