Introduction to Aluminum Sheet Metal Fabrication

Views: 4     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2023-07-11      Origin: Site

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Sheet metal is a plate made by rolling semi-finished products obtained from casting liquid metal called slabs. Usually, it is packaged in the form of rolls of different thicknesses and lengths to be more easily transportable.


Its characteristics vary according to use, so that you can find plates of different thicknesses, sizes, qualities, and types. Moreover, each customer can also choose the plates based on the composition. For example, iron is widely used, but other clients prefer zinc and aluminum.


Beyond the differences between one sheet and another, each sheet is carefully worked by professionals in the sector using specific machinery.


Sheet metal fabrication is a complex manufacturing process that involves the creation of various products and components from flat metal sheets. This process is widely used in automotive, aerospace, electronics, and construction industries, where precise and efficient metal shaping is required.


There are three most important phases of sheet metal working: sheet cutting, notching, and bending; Let's take a closer look at them.


sheet metal fabrication2



Sheet Metal Cutting


Sheet cutting is essential to the sheet metal transformation process, regardless of the material used. Sheets are usually a standard size. Sometimes, they may be too large to use in specific jobs.

For this reason, the sheets must be cut according to the required dimensions, which can only be done by professionals in the sector. The cut can be done by laser or shears, using special machine tools capable of guiding the blades on the sheet to obtain the best result.

Whichever method is used for cutting, the sheets will not show breaks or signs of wear, as with manual engraving.


Notch


Notching is the process of cutting the corners of the sheet metal to obtain a sheet with one or more right angles. To carry out this operation, expert hands and a notching machine are required.

The latter is particularly sophisticated. It allows you to cut the corners precisely with the right length and gradation. With the help of a qualified operator, it will be sufficient to insert the measurements inside the notching machine to obtain the notching of the desired sheet.


Folding


The process of folding sheet metal involves working with specialized machines and computers that drive efficiency, speed, and precision in the task. The process begins when the operator feeds in the metrics for bending the metal, including force or pressure, angle and width of the sheet metal.  What follows next is the cutting process to allow for notching.


Assembling


The next step involves preparing all components in readiness for assembly into the final product. Parts are welded leveraging diverse techniques such as tungsten inert gas and metal inert gas welding. Joints are fastened with screws and rivets, and adhesives are used where appropriate.


Finishing


The last step in aluminum sheet metal fabrication is finishing and involves procedures that revolve around enhancing the elegance and visual appeal of the sheet metal.  These include but are not limited to grinding, sanding rough edges, painting and smoothing rough edges. Based on client needs, this could be the stage that also involves powder coating, galvanizing and other processes that positively impact longevity and robustness of function.


Throughout the entire sheet metal fabrication process, precise measurements, skilled craftsmanship, and advanced machinery are essential to achieve high-quality products. Advanced computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software have significantly improved the efficiency and accuracy of sheet metal fabrication by enabling precise design, simulation, and automation of the manufacturing processes. As technology advances, sheet metal fabrication techniques will likely become even more sophisticated, further expanding their applications across various industries.


Other types of sheet metal processing


Other types of sheet metal work are punching, welding, and calendering. Punching is a particular cutting technology, an excellent alternative to the laser, allowing more versatile processes and time savings on large runs. Welding is when two or more sheets are joined. It can take place with or without the use of filler metal and under the action of heat.

Finally, the term calendering refers to a sheet metal deformation process that allows obtaining conical or cylindrical shapes based on the type of semi-finished product to be obtained.

In all cases, these are processes that only specialists in the sheet metal processing sector can carry out with optimal results, thanks to experience and the use of special machinery.