It’s no doubt that sheet metal is the essential material in applications for numerous industries and fields. Before such a sheet metal being processed to become the finished products with a variety of shapes and forms, it’s generally a thin sheet or panel in a flat form as the original material for convenient transportation and storage. So for the industries using such a type of material, sheet metal forming and other fabrication processes are the common and important parts, and how to do the sheet metal forming and shaping is determined by the application on request.

Sheet metal comes with tensility, ductility, and formability, these features are suitable and beneficial for fabrication processes, so it’s extensively used. Sheet metal is malleable for flexibly manipulation, and it’s durable enough to preserve well structural integrity. Sheet metal shaping is achieved by multiple methods and different types of facilities. In this article, we will discuss some sheet metal forming processes and some other relative information about it.

6 Common Sheet Metal Forming (Shaping) Processes | TBK Metal

6 Types Of Sheet Metal Forming Processes

For a large amount of purposes of sheet metal, there are a wide range of processes for forming stainless steel sheet and aluminium sheet sheet metal that can be applied by using machines and mechanical tools, which are driven by electricity, manual power, pneumatics or hydraulics. The forming options mainly depends on the the desired qualities and applications. And what processing methods to be applied are also determined by the cost and order quantity, and other determining factors. Here are several common process methods of sheet metal forming for you to know which is the proper one for your requirements.

Bending

This sheet metal forming process is generally applied to bend the sheet metal to an angular shape, so It’s also known as press braking or folding. Bending is typically performed when the sheet metal is laid on a die block, and a punch presses down onto the material. The desired shape is formed by applying bending force that is up to the point of deformation, and the metal piece is prevented from recovering to its original form. We make parts and accessories with bending shapes such as angle connectors, L-profiles and V-profiles by applying this process.

Stamping

Stamping is a forming type that place the metal sheet into a press, which is performed by the stamping tool called a die, This process is a perfect way to transform sheet metal into a component or part with a specific shape. The stamping tool performs a pressure with huge force into the sheet metal. The degree of pressure is measure in tons. Sheet metal stamping process is usually done with a cold-forming method, it doesn’t use heat except for some specified needs. The processed metal pieces come out with heat due to the interaction force between the material and tool.

Roll Forming

Roll forming processes the sheet metal shaping method with a series of bending operations. The sheet metal is transferred through a group of rollers, which is called roll forming line or roller die that are positioned above and below the material, at an angle or along the sides, etc. The metal sheet bends and plastically deforms to become the desired shape when it is pushed through the roller group. The forming efficiency depends on the bending radius, sheet thickness, and number o roller groups. The roll forming can be performed to cooperate with other processes such as shearing or punching.

Curling

Sheet metal curling is the process to make the edge of the sheet with a circular roll, which can provide the sheet metal edge with a high strength. Sheet metal often comes with burrs at the edges, so curling process can eliminate the edge sharp and rugs to ensure safety for handling. The edge of sheet metal can be processed by curling to remove its burrs.

Spinning

Spinning is process for forming a sheet metal to become a part with cylindrical shape, it’s also named as spin forming. One side of a sheet metal is subjected to forces when it’s rotating. The rollers press the round-shape sheet metal against the die with round shape when it is rotating at a high speed. With this process, the sheet can be formed to the rotationally symmetric shape with hollow, such as cone, hemisphere, or cylinder. They can be widely used for numerous applications such as satellite antennas, musical instruments, cook pots, wheel hub cover, and so on.

Stretching

This forming process is performed with a stretch press, when a piece of sheet metal is firmly gripped along its edges by gripping jaws. is for stretching and bending the sheet metal to make the large contoured components. All gripping jaws are fixed on a carriage that is generally driven by hydraulic and pneumatic power. The edges of the sheet metal are gripped tightly when the form die is driven into it, and it plastically deforms into a specified shape once the tensile forces increase.

What Is Sheet Metal Forming

Sheet metal forming includes a series of metal processes in which force is used to pieces of flat metal sheet, such as bending, folding, curling, stamping, and other forming methods, the flat sheet can deform into a variety of shapes and forms. However, sheet metal forming changes the shape and adds some properties and values for specified applications and purposes, this process can be applied to make a wide range of different metal products such as decorative metal panels, appliance enclosures, furniture parts, and components and parts for many industries.

Sheet metal forming is a high-speed process, which provides efficiency that is higher than other material types, so it’s very suitable for large batch production. Generally speaking, components or products made of fabricated sheet metal come with precision and dimensional stability as the thickness of metal sheet essentially has no change, or the slight change is acceptable in most applications or cases. So fabricated sheet metal products commonly have precise tolerance, clear surface, and durability.

Which Industries Use Sheet Metal Shaping

In the forming process and application, there are a difference between sheet metal and plate metal. The thickness of sheet metal is between 0.5mm and 6mm, and plate metal are the thicker metal piece that is more than 6mm. Sheet metal is usually applied for decorative metal products, and components and parts for furniture, appliances, machines, cars, trans, cans, etc. And plate metal is commonly used for large or oversize parts and components such as turbines, boilers, ships, aircraft, bridge, and construction.

Benefits of Using Sheet Metal Forming

There are some benefits of sheet metal shaping when you are using that to make your own products. It can help you achieve to various purposes and some practical utilities, as metal is extremely flexible for manufacturing, it can allow you to get various options of different shapes and styles. No matter which methods of process is used, all the things they do are to change the shapes and forms get improvements of properties and value, and there no loss or waste on process, as metal is a recyclable material, so it’s widely used in most industries.

Durability & Strength

Sheet metal shaping process provides durability and high strength, and the finished parts and components generally have the ability to withstand strong impact and pressure and are much better than other material. Additionally, metal sheet products with surface finishes all come with resistance to corrosion, wear, and moisture, they can always keep in good condition as time goes on.

Malleability

Formed sheet metal also has malleability. With the fine machine, the sheet metal can be form into a wide range of shapes, and both structural integrity and durability of it can always be retained. Sheet metal is not easy to crack or break when it’s being stretched and compressed. With the sheet metal forming process, metal’s bendability is flexible and allows fabricator to bend the sheet in a unique shape. Unlike the die-casting process, you don’t need to pay much for the mold to get a bespoke shape and form. Generally speaking, the malleability of sheet metal forming allows us to efficiently & effectively achieve specific or high demand features.

Easy Maintenance

Sheet metals can be easily maintained and repaired, and something wrong can be discovered easily. And the damage generally can be easily repaired in simple method. And it’s easy to get a new part to replace the damaged one without changing its structural integrity.

Safety

One of the biggest benefits of forming sheet metal for the interior uses of architectural projects is that it’s safe and stable. Metal sheet is good in fireproofing to eliminate your worry about the lighting effects that may cause to fire accident. People stay in the building don’t need to worry about the stormy weather, as buildings enclosure with metal material are earthed to prevent lighting strike.

Cost-Effectiveness

Compare with other metal processes like die casting, costs for sheet metal forming and other fabrication methods can be much lower. There are more processing costs and material waste for die casting industry, so many manufacturers move to sheet metal fabrication from their die-casting. In addition to considering the cost of material for your business, we need to evaluate the longevity and lifespan the material will have. Though you initially drive the cost low, but much more potential extra cost will come for repairing or replacement due to the inferior-quality material uses. Sheet metal featured with durability and strength can make your business more cost-effective and efficient.

Sustainability

Metal is a natural resource with strategic environmental and economic significance. When the existing metal products are scrapped or no longer used, you don’t need to dispose it as they can be recycled and made other things that is useful. So far, metal is one of the most sustainable options for various applications. Compare with other industries, such as plastic and chemical, metal product manufacturing is much more sustainable.

What To Consider When Forming Sheet Metal

When sheet metal is formed and shaped, the force is used evenly and selectively. Rounding bending machines, press brakes and embossing machines can achieve different types of shapes, The deformation degree is determined by the forming force degree. In the press brake, the sheet metal is pressed with a certain force. A force with an even strength is used in the opposite direction. The interaction force between two parts need to be strong enough, so that the metal sheet is permanently formed. For this, the force used have to be stronger than the degree of resilience force. The degree of force has to be applied to the extent that the metal sheet can withstand.

The metal type and its tensile strength also need to be taken into consideration. The forming force need to be controlled under the tensile strength to prevent breakage and crack to the metallic material. To analyze the forming force required, you need to have an idea about the edging length, which increases proportionally to the applied length. Additionally, the bending angle, the rolling direction, the sheet thickness and some factors required need to be considered. The bending radius required depends on the thickness of metal sheet. If the tool is lower than the minimum bending radius, the sheet can crack to be damaged.

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