Sheet metal is formed with the help of an industrial manufacturing process by working metal into pieces that are thin and flat. Sheet metal is a convenient way of metal working and can be cut and bent into various shapes and sizes. In fact, practically every producer in Australia relies in some way on parts, structures, specialised components, and devices which have been created directly from sheet metal.
From large structural supports to sensitive digitised assemblies, sheet metal plays a key role.
What metal is used to manufacture sheet metal?
The two most common materials used for sheet metal are stainless steel and aluminium. Most people know of stainless-steel grades 304, 316, and 410. While 304 is the most commonly known grade, it’s not available in sheet form. Instead, 316 and 410 grades are made into sheet metal because they are more powerful and resistant than 304. Aluminium also has several grades – 1100-H14, 3003-H14, 5052-H32 and 6061-T6 – with each grade being stronger than the other and used in different applications such as machinery, equipment, and weapons.
Sheet metal forming processes
The sheet metal forming process is done when the metal is cold on a press, with the parts created in between 2 die. The uppermost die is known as a punch. The following steps occur:
This step involves bending the sheet metal to create metal components. The dies help to bend smaller lengths of metal whereas press brakes are used for longer lengths. The metal may also be bent several times through a set of rollers when more complex shapes need to be created.
Roll forming involves a succession of bending operations being carried out on the sheet metal. Several roll forming stations feed the roll forming lines on which the sheet metal is present. A roller die is located on both sides of the metal sheet and these can be at different angles of the sheet. The process of feeding the metal sheet through the roller dies bends and deforms the metal.
This involves revolving the sheet metal at great speed while it’s pressed against a headstock spindle which is attached before the procedure takes place. A special tool is used to apply pressure to the metal in order to achieve the required shape of the metal.
During this process the metal is put into the die but not clamped. The first step of this procedure is referred to as cupping. A pressure pad is used to hold a blank on the die which the punch below moves and delivers into a cavity. The metal is then physically bent and drawn over the edge of the cavity until a cup is formed. Meanwhile any wrinkles are removed by the pressure pad. Repeating the process creates deeper products.
In this procedure a blank holder clamps the metal round its circumference which causes it to change shape according to its thickness. The holder delivers the metal into the cavity that’s present in the die and when it’s stretched it becomes thinner.
Once a product has been formed using these processes it may then be finished with powder coatings, paint, silk screening and other surface treatments that are custom made. This provides further strength and resistance to corrosion.
To find out more about the sheet metal fabrication process or the benefits of certain products or procedures please call the experts at Metro Steel on 07 3204 1000.