While metal welding and fabrication tend to be used interchangeably, there are some differences between the two verbs. Fabrication is a more general term that refers to turning a piece of metal into a project, whereas welding can exist as a component within that overall project.
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If you're looking to protect and visually enhance sheet metal parts' surfaces, you might consider sheet metal powder coating.
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.
Product fulfillment revolves around the practice of pick pack ship (PPS)
Punching is one of the most developed yet misunderstood metal fabrication processes.
By removing scrap metal from a unit of raw metal, punching:
Cuts large panels
Forms complex shapes
Using modern metal punching technology, manufacturers can quickly create holes and shapes to meet the market’s demand for specific products.
Metal manufacturers misunderstanding how metal punching technology works can lead to lower quality products and decreased throughput. Knowledge gaps related to metal punching are usually derived from the fact that there are numerous functions and variables within modern punching technology.
This post will serve to shed light on sheet metal punching—one of the most common materials punched by manufacturers.
We’re going to examine the history of metal punching to understand better how the industry’s technology has evolved.
History of Sheet Metal Punching
Metalwork is an ancient art form. As advancements in metal manufacturing occurred, metal workers quickly became valued members of society due to the durable materials they could produce. The first sheets of metal produced were very thin and came from materials that included gold and silver.
Workers would hammer gold and silver materials with stones to produce thin metal sheets. Once the sheets were formed, it became easier to make jewelry, armor, and other useful items. The introduction of the rolling mill was vital for metal production as output increased drastically.
The Rolling Mill Evolves
While sketches of a rolling mill prototype date back to 1480 drawings from Leonardo Da Vinci—the first reports of rolling steel occurred during the 17th century.
The first rolling mills formed thin sheets of metal, while the 18th century led the forming of more complicated metal shapes that included:
Early 19th-century rolling mills consisted of a sturdy cast iron cage with two steel cylinders and a screw adjustment feature. Rolling mills in the early 1800s are reasonably comparable to the mill designs that exist today.
The industrial revolution leaned heavily on the use of rolling mills as a means to meet enormous supply demand. Beginning with a hydraulic wheel, rolling mills soon became powered by steam engines, then finally an electric motor. Like cars, the electric motors on rolling mills evolved to utilize more cylinders for more efficient power.
A high number of small adjustments since Leonardo Da Vinci’s 15th-century drawings have led to the rolling press processing a stunning 90% of industrial metals.
Once metal manufacturers could roll a quality piece of metal, they could then start working, cutting, and forming the metal.
Initial metal punching work dates back to 1847 when road bridge builders needed metal materials with strategically placed holes.
The somewhat quick progress of sheet metal cutting from nibbling machines to oxy-hydrogen torches led to more modern cutting techniques such as:
Modern Sheet Metal Punching
It’s an understatement to say that the history of metal punching is action-packed. Comparing modern sheet metal technology to this initial rolling press reflects the remarkable engineering work that humans are capable of.
Let’s paint a picture of how sheet metal punching operates today.
What Types of Metal Punching Are There?
Modern metal punching machinery can adapt to different metal forms. Brass, copper, aluminum, iron, stainless steel, and certain alloys are all examples of metals that are commonly punched today.
Steel punching is in high demand, while aluminum is commonly punched due to its low resistance. Iron contains one of the highest resistances to punching and requires specific tools. Copper is often punched as the material possesses high levels of flexibility.
Back in the day, metal punching was performed manually. The evolution of metal punching technology has paved the way for manufacturers to punch metal with automatic controls.
Dane Manufacturing Automatic Punching
Dane Manufacturing is an example of a sheet metal manufacturer that utilizes modern punching technology to increase throughput and meet market demand.
MultiTool Punching Capabilities
The MultiTool is a prime example of a technology that helps streamline Dane Manufacturing’s punching work. A vital strength of the MultiTool is the machine’s ability to process sheet metal parts with several small punching operations and large lot sizes.
Are you a manufacturer who wants to learn about reducing cycle times, getting your products on the market faster, and lowering your operating costs?
Dane Manufacturing Blog:
With much of the US and world abroad lifting restrictions for individuals and business to return to normalcy of life and operations, it will be time for manufacturers to start reducing the implementation of once unlikely contingency plans, and re-engage with forecasting, capital expenditures, and perhaps most importantly - innovation. At the time of this article, it is unknown how the federal (and/or state) government or agencies within will incentivize manufacturers to implement new technologies in their organizations to further the pursuit of greater efficiency and ultimately greater profitability, but it seems reasonable to assume that (additional) incentives in the form of grants or tax credits will exist sometime in the near future.
Friday May 1, 2020, Dane Manufacturing Inc., Author – Nicholas Stuhr
Advent Design Corporation is an ISO 9001-certified, award-winning company that provides businesses with custom engineering solutions. Located in the Historic Mill of Bristol, PA, Advent provides an array of services aimed at helping U.S. manufacturers become more competitive in a global economy. It is the breadth of services — all focused on the unique needs of manufacturing — that differentiates Advent Design from other engineering companies, custom equipment builders, product development firms, and contract manufacturers. Each individual service the business offers is designed to complement and enhance each of the other services that Advent Design provides. The company has approximately 125 employees.
Each new year brings about a period of reflection, where one can think back on the path that the previous year took us on. The coming year represents an even larger opportunity for reflection as the world enters a new decade. Reflection provides an opportunity to learn and improve and extends beyond just an individual, but also to industries and businesses. As a U.S. manufacturing enthusiast, I’m looking back over the past 10 years and how manufacturing has changed, evolved and innovated so that I can continue to support that evolution.
Leaders and managers have been dealing with this epic battle since the first person sold a product and someone else had to get that product to the customer. Operations (or finance, logistics, marketing, etc) thinks sales is living the easy life wine and dining clients and making hoards of money. Sales thinks operations could care less and never reads the damn order especially the extra "notes" that says "don't deliver before 10 AM." Both sides are just "waiting" for the other side to screw up so they can run to their leaders inside their silos and claim victory that they are the better army. Many of these armies have seasoned "bus drivers" just waiting to roll over their enemy when any opportunity presents itself. As this battle rages on over the years the casualties pile up. The challenge is many of the leaders of these armies don't even realize the amount of losses that are really occurring during these internal battles.