Sheet metal is made of metals that through an industrial procedure to make it flat and thin. It is the element of metalworking. Almost all kind of metalwork starts from a sheet metal because it is easy to form.
Generally, if a metal plate is thinner than 0.25 inch, it would be recognized as a sheet metal. If it is thicker than 0.25 inch (6 mm), it would be called metal plate or structural steel.
In general, metals that can be formed as sheet metal should have the features of easy to form, strong enough not to collapse when forming, good malleability, and can be formed under pressure.
As examples, the most commonly mused metal that are formed as sheet metal are steel, galvanized iron, tinned iron, stainless steel, titanium, cooper, copper alloy, aluminum, and aluminum alloy.
Sheet metal itself is with the feature of long durable, high strength, nonflammable, good malleability, formable, and can be mass produced in a big quantity. Moreover, it can be easily formed and cut when processing.
Due to these advantages, sheet metal is popular in even every manufacturing industries. Now, in our everyday life, sheet metal is almost everywhere. In other words, it can be recognized a part of our life.
Sheet metal looks smooth and thin, it is amazing to make metals as such. Since their features, they are welcome by manufacturers.
When the raw material become a favorite sheet metal, it might be processed in the techniques below:
Bending is a manufacturing process of using a V-shaped, or U-shaped, or a channel to shape the straight metal sheet into the shape the manufacturers need.
Curing is a processing skill that used to remove sharp edges. Through this processing skill, the sharp edge of metal sheets or plates would become a ring-shaped smooth edge.
Moreover, this processing skill also increases the moment of inertia near the curled end and enhance its strength. Thus, the increase of the moment of inertia can make the sheet metal able to against the impact from outside.
Decambering is the metalworking process of removing horizontal bend from strip shaped materials. Through this process, the sheet metal would become flat and level. However, it might hurt the edges of the sheet metal and make them deform.
● Deep Drawing
In this progress, the sheet metal would be pressed into a die by machines to make the form as a tank or box. This kind of progressing technique is used to make automotive fuel tanks, kitchen sinks, two-piece aluminum cans, etc.
● Hemming and Seaming
Hemming means folding the edge of the sheet metal onto itself. By this progress, the edge of the sheet metal would be stronger.
Seaming is a technique to folding metal sheets together to form a bigger one.
This is a process that similar to deep drawing. However, hydroforming is using pressure to press onto the metal sheet. It would change the shape of the sheet metal, but the length will be the same.
When hydroforming, the sheet metal will be extended to fit the die or module. Thus, sheet metal would be formed to the required shape.
Ironing is a forming process that using heats to form the sheet metal. It can be combined with deep drawing to produce a uniform wall thickness part with greater height-to-diameter ratio.
● Press Brake Forming
This is a forming process that make the sheet metal an angle by pressure and dies. Usually, press brake forming is used to form acute angles.
This is a forming progress that forms the sheet metal into the required shapes by pressure and dies.
This is a progress to make the thickness of sheet metal thinner or more average.
This is a progress of making metal sheets into the shape of hollowed tubes.
Stamping is a series of forming progress that using pressure to form a sheet metal, it includes punching, blanking, embossing, bending, flanging, and coining.
It is a forming progress that using an English wheel, as known as wheeling machine, to make metal sheets curve.
Sheet metal can be used in almost all kinds of industries due to its features. The features that make them be favored by the industries are mainly durable, high strength, non-poisonous, easy to get, and low cost.
For example, high strength is the priority for transportation manufacturers while choosing the raw material since the body parts of vehicles, planes, and ships should be strong enough to against impacts from outside.
For food processing industries, it is important that the containers carry their products should be durable, strong enough, and the most important, non-poisonous. Thus, they can ensure the food sent out from their factories can be guaranteed safe.
Below are products made of sheet metal. Most of them can be seen ordinarily in our everyday life.
● Parts of Transportations
Sheet metal can be made as roofs or decoration for buildings, fuselages and wings of airplanes, body parts of automobile and truck, and ships.
Since the sheet metal can be formed easily and have longer lifespan, some artisans likes to use metals as the material for their works.
In food processing industries, sheet metal, especially stainless steel sheet and aluminum sheet, is used to make containers of food.
● Electronic Devices
Sheet metal which contains high magnetic permeability can be made as the conductor in electronic devices such as motors and machines.
● Medical Equipment and Instruments
Medical equipment, instruments, devices, and supplies should be clear and stainless. Therefore, stainless steel sheet metal are usually used to form tools that might be used in hospitals.
● Military Use
In the very past, soldiers need to wear armor to protect themselves in the war. This kind of armor are usually made by thicker sheet metals. Moreover, horse tack that used by cavalrymen are also made of sheet metals.
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