A number of industries benefit from the use of punched metal sheets. The sheet metal industry serves a large number of organizations. Some common uses include car bodies, aircraft wings, medical table and roofs on buildings.
The First Steps
The process begins with preparation by using a crucible to melt metal. Once melted, the liquefied metal is transferred to a rectangular mold. At this point, the item sits and cools before further processing. Once cooled, the ingot, or metal block, is submerged into chemicals in a process known as pickling. This process is intended to clean the metal. At this point the block begins the process of being smoothed and flattened through rolling, annealing.
The sheets are established into a number of thickness. Thin sheets are known as foil or leaf while thicker sheets are known as plates. In order to measure thickness, the tem gauge is used – the thicker the metal, the smaller the gauge. A variety of metals can be used to form aluminum sheets including aluminum, brass, titanium, nickel, tin, and copper.
Forming items out of punched metal sheets is a fairly quick process. Sheet metal workers, known as tin bashers, perform the necessary tasks. There are a number of items and processes used to develop the desired form.
One of these processes is known as drawing. This is when metal is stretched over a form or die. The process is deep drawing is used to make items with a specific thickness such as fuel tanks, aluminum cans and kitchen sinks. Once the metal has been drawn it can then be worked with. Usually it is expanded, cut or stamped to form a specific pattern.
Another method used is known as hydroforming. This process utilizes hydrostatic pressure in order to achieve the desired product. It is also a common practice to use small rounded metal tools to work the metal into shape.
Punch and Die Process
With a punch and die approach, metal is mounted into a press. As the press holds the metal firmly in place, the metal is moved into the shape and thickness intended. With continuous advances in technology more uses for punched metal sheets can be found. As well as new techniques that can lead to increasingly innovative ways for effectively forming these products.