Sheet metal fabrication is the production of metals with different shapes. In order to achieve these shapes, the sheet metals need to undergo cutting and bending.
When it comes to metal compotents with a certain uniform wall thickness, sheet metal fabrication is proven to be more cost-effective compared to CNC machining.
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When to use Sheet Metal?
Sheet metal fabrication is known to be a very flexible process. For this reason, a lot of companies prefer it because it can be used in a wide range of industries such as HVAC (heating, ventilation, and airconditioning), aerospace, construction, automotive, consumer goods, energy sectors, robotics, and electronics. The list can go on and on and it's because everywhere we go, there is always a need for different industrial products from metal.
Metal is known to be an excellent material used for almost every industry due to its strength and lifespan. Generally speaking, products made from sheet metal require less production time because they are easier and/or faster to produce. Therefore, they are less expensive compared to products made from additive manufacturing or casting.
Pros of Sheet Metal
One remarkable characteristic of metals is its ability to resist high temperatures. This is because metals typically have a higher melting-point compared to other materials, and are less likely to deteriorate in extreme temperatures.
When compared to their plastic counterparts, metal grades prove to be sturdier, harder, stronger, and less prone to breakage or damage.
There are a handful process from which metal can be produced, such as: casting, chipping, deep drawing forging, soldering, and welding.
Furthermore, metal is generally a good choice because it is usually cost efficient, especially when producing high-volume of products and also in long-term production runs.
Cons of Sheet Metal
One disadvantage of sheet metal fabrication is its secondary operations. Once metal is fabricated, it is not yet ready for use and still needs to go post-fabrication processes. These processes which include finishing, painting and deburring can be costly and time-consuming.
Another thing that you might want to know about metals is its design limitations. When molten, metal becomes viscous. There are some metals which when molten, have a consistency that prevents them from being a good material for crafting highly complex shapes or geometries.
Cutting feature ± .00787’’ (0.2)
Bend angle ± 1.0°
Bend to edge +/- 0.010” (0.254)
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During the prehistoric times (fourth-fifth millennium), metal working already existed.
In another part of the history, when cavalry who use plate armour were still a thing, sheet metal working started to become a highly valued skill.