In 2018, the sheet metal industry was valued at 265 billion. Experts predict that the sheet metal industry will experience a compound annual growth rate of 5% by 2025.
Metal part leveling continues to play an essential role in the development of the sheet metal industry.
When manufacturers form and cut metal, the final result is not always perfectly flat due to stresses within the material.
That's where sheet metal parts leveling comes in.
Leveling can bend metal via a series of work rolls that create and maintain evenness. As a sheet metal part passes through a series of rolls, the rolls must be as close to each other as possible. If the rolls aren't close to each other, the leveling process will be less efficient as the parts will spring back to their original form.
Along with space, utilizing alternate rolls is a strategy that sheet metal parts leveling technology utilizes to improve leveling results. Most manufacturers use machines that contain a minimum of five different rolls to achieve a final product with ideal evenness.
This is a watered-down explanation of what goes into sheet metal parts leveling as various factors will influence a manufacturers' process.
Factors to Consider When Leveling Sheet Metal
When manufacturers evaluate how to level materials such as sheet metal efficiently, they're going to look around for the best leveler device.
You might be wondering how manufacturers go about this process.
First, manufacturers will identify what they want to achieve through leveling and how they will help their customers. Perhaps you're a manufacturer who wants to focus on aiding welders as welding is a vital fabrication process that benefits from using pre-leveled parts.
Once a manufacturer nails down its target customers, additional preliminary evaluations include:
- The specific types of sheet metal parts being processed
- Size needs for a machine
- Sheet metal criteria
The tasks a manufacturer will have to perform helps narrow down what kinds of features are needed within a leveling machine. A criteria example could be that a customer needs a final product that maintains the part's edges.
If you're a manufacturer that'll be part leveling for different types of customers, try to narrow your focus to your customer base's main application area.
Once a manufacturer develops a target for their leveling services, trials must evaluate the efficiency of the technology.
The Value of Trial in Part Leveling
When you perform part leveling trials, you can find which defects are easier or more challenging to solve and gain insight into the machinery's inner workings. Make sure to evaluate the final product from the trials to see if you succeeded in your goals or possibly overlooked essential elements of the process.
The trial phase can allow manufacturers to evaluate how leveling will be integrated into and link with other sheet metal processes such as handling.
One of the most critical aspects of part leveling is how user-friendly the machinery is. The goal is to utilize technology that's not only efficient but easy to learn. When you combine user-friendliness with efficiency, you'll maximize your workflow.
Essential features of modern part leveling technology can consist of:
- Maintenance schedules
- Tool storage
- Barcode scanners
- Auto-suggestions for settings
Once you understand how the machinery you're using works, consider looking into providing training seminars for your manufacturing facility staff.
Now that we've covered some important factors to consider in the planning phase of leveling sheet metal, it's time to examine the various leveling methods.
Sheet Metal Parts Leveling Methods
The hammer and flame method is the most straightforward and time-consuming method of leveling sheet metal parts. Since the hammer and flame strategy takes a high level of time and skill to complete, it is best utilized for smaller amounts of work.
Using a straightening press to level metal parts involves supporting the part at two points and pressing the material into a large die to form a flat shape. Straightening presses aren't a one and done process. A rinse-and-repeat approach is warranted for straightening presses to achieve flatness. Similar to the hammer and flame approach of leveling, using a straightening press is more time consuming and should be limited to small batches.
Rolling machines are known for their straightforward approach that uses three offset rollers to achieve flatness over several reiterations. It would help if you didn't use a rolling machine for leveling parts that contain more complicated metal defects as this method doesn't focus on precision work.
Simple Roller Leveling
Roller leveling involves the use of multiple rollers—usually at least seven. The rollers are large in diameter and are spaced far apart. Manufacturers tend to look down on simple roller leveling due to the high operating costs and limited quality.
One perk of precision levelers is that the rollers are closely spaced together. When levelers are closer together, they offer higher bending resistance levels from the part's pressure and more precision.
Sheet metal parts that go through a precision leveling process are less likely to contain stresses that can create unusable products for customers. Precision levelers are more time-efficient than simple roller leveling and rolling machines. When you're able to develop adequately leveled products in a time-friendly manner, you're on the right track.
Dane Manufacturing serves as an example of a company that utilizes cutting-edge technology to provide customers with precise levels and stress-free materials.
We do it through the use of the Kohler Peak Performer Machinery.
Top-Tier Metal Part Leveling: Dane Manufacturing
Instead of embarking on time-consuming metal rework processes, let Dane Manufacturing aid your downstream process.
Automotive engineering, housing construction, mechanical engineering, and steel service centers are a few examples of industries that benefit from Dane Manufacturing's use of Kohler Peak Performer machines.
The superior leveling quality that Kohler Peak Performers provide is achieved through small roller diameters, ideal roller spacing, and extra-wide supporting rollers.
The Kohler Peak Performer can handle sheets up to 16 mm while not compromising on precision.
Dane Manufacturing is proud to use technology that continues to support and grow the sheet metal industry.