You might not have heard of panel benders as devices such as press brakes are more prevalent within the sheet metal world.
How sheet metal parts are assembled goes a long way in defining a metal manufacturer. Correctly assembled products are the foundation of a metal manufacturer. If a product is assembled poorly, the longevity and functionality of the product are immediately compromised.
There are several assembly methods practiced by manufacturers. The reason why there isn't one go-to assembly method lies in the idea that having many assembly practices to choose from allows manufacturers the flexibility to implement procedures that are conducive to specific parts varying in size, function, budget, etc.
Let's examine the various assembly methods commonly utilized by manufacturers.
Method #1: Mechanical Assembly
Mechanical assembly makes use of various hardware or fasteners to join and assemble multiple parts. If you're looking for a metal assembly strategy that provides flexibility, look no further than the mechanical assembly. Since you're utilizing removable hardware or fasteners such as nuts and screws, you'll have the ability to remove and reinstall the hardware.
Experts recommend mechanical assembly for:
- Watertight assemblies
- Box assemblies
Method #2: Weld Assembly
The goal of weld assembly is to fuse two pieces to create one product. Manufacturers use weld assembly techniques for products that need permanent structure and strength. If you're working on projects that require robust and structural assemblies, consider weld assembly.
Welding is all around us and has been around for centuries in different forms. Half of all products manufactured in the United States require some form of welding. Part of the reason why so many products go through welding is linked to the fact that size doesn't hinder parts' ability to be welded.
It's easy to take welding for granted and overlook how the assembly process impacts our lives. The cell phones we're continually using probably experienced a form of welding, while the homes we live indefinitely did.
Welding continues to evolve as it's practiced in a variety of environments. You might only envision welding as occurring in a dark and damp garage. What's impressive is that welding can be performed indoors, in outer space, and even underwater!
Why weld underwater?
Underwater welding is most useful for structures that aren't able to be removed from the water. Prominent fields such as medical technology continue to benefit from welding as technology improves, and practices are refined.
Method #3: Spot Weld Assembly
Spot weld assembly gets the job done if you're looking for a less permanent and less expensive form of assembly than standard welding. You'll find that manufacturers commonly use spot weld assembly to join two pieces of sheet metal.
Spot weld assembly is associated with different advantages and disadvantages. During spot weld assembly, the electrodes have to reach both sides of the metals pieces coming together. Many spot welding machines can only handle a certain level of thickness in a metal. If the metal is too thick, the electrodes might not reach both sides of the metal pieces being joined due to limited movement in the majority of electrode holders.
Electrode sizes and shapes directly correspond to the strength and size of the weld. A spot weld can fail if the current isn't strong enough, hot enough, or the metal isn't held together from a lack of force. One common complaint about spot weld assembly is the metal's occasional lower resistance to corrosion.
The main advantage of spot welding is the fact that the practice isn't time-consuming and can be performed without special training or experience. Spot welding can be seen as safer than other welding forms since there isn't an open flame.
You'll often see automated systems spot weld in factories due to the simple nature of the practice. Multiple sheets can be joined together at the same time with spot welding, and sheets as thin as ¼ inch can be worked.
Method #4: Rivet Assembly
The rivet assembly is interesting because it has a similar strength to welding, but is cheaper.
Why not just use rivet assembly in place of welding?
The strength of the rivet assembly is slightly lower than welding. Robust and structural assemblies benefit most from rivet assembly along with assemblies that experience varying temperatures and pressure.
Riveting has a long and storied history that dates back to Ancient Egypt when the assembly practice was used to fix handles to clay jars. When Ancient Rome rose to prominence, so did riveting. It becomes easier to see the integral role that rivet assembly has played in history as prominent historical groups such as Vikings attached planks to their signature longboats using rivets.
When we fast forward in history, riveting became a staple of the modern assembly when it became the go-to method for creating buildings, metal tools, and cars. Iconic structures such as the Eiffel tower were constructed with over 2.5 million rivets.
Understanding how famous structures like the Eiffel tower were built helps foster an appreciation for assembly methods such as riveting.
Method #5: Brazing and Soldering
Brazing and soldering use a filler metal that's melted to a specific temperature to bond two components. Manufacturers often use brazing and soldering to maintain an assembled product's strength after bonding two different materials.
Common parts assembled through brazing and soldering include:
- Electronic parts
Modern Metal Parts Assembly
Mass production and the robotic age have leaned heavily on the various parts assembly processes listed above. When it comes to sheet metal parts assembly, it's all about increasing efficiency and productivity. Those mentioned increases are achieved through the continual evolution of assembly technology along with the refinement of practices.
Dane Manufacturing's understanding of metal parts assembly helps us focus and streamline our practices.
During the pre-paint phase of parts assembly, our dynamic assembly team combines their skill sets to ensure high-quality levels in the products we provide. The post-paint stage prides itself on supplying exceptional finished goods assembly that's complemented by packaging preparation. We offer OEM (original equipment manufacturer) services if you need a custom part assembled.
When it comes to metal parts assembly, Dane Manufacturing has you covered from start to finish.