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Methods for Forming Sheet Metal

Thursday, April 30, 2009
Since the dawning of ancient civilizations, people have sought out ways to make life easier. Even humans today attempt to find ways to complete more work in a shorter amount of time. Ancient people had the same desire and thus tools were developed to aide in the completion of daily tasks. With the discovery of metal ore, and the process of applying heat to extract the metal from the ore, the complexity of tools significantly increased. Even today tools constantly become increasingly complex with new advances in engineering. Throughout the years of progress, increasing demand prompted the development of more efficient and precise ways of manipulating metal. Modern metalworkers use a variety of different metal forming machinery to reshape metal into varies parts and components.

Different shapes and forms of metals may require the application of different methods in order to shape the metal into something intended and useful. For example, specific processes are typically used to form sheet metal. Rollforming is an example of one such process that is typically used to shape sheet metal.

The art of sheet metal forming refers to the variety of ways used to shape sheet metal into a variety of forms. For example, sheet metal is used to make automobile panels and aluminum cans. Machinery has been developed to bend the sheet metal into new forms. An important word to know when discussing the forming of sheet metal is the word ductility. Ductility refers to the ability of the sheet metal to allow itself to be manipulated without fracturing. In other words, the level of ductility of the metal is the level to which pressure can be applied to reshape the metal without the metal breaking. Examples of highly ductile metals include silver, gold, copper and aluminum. These metals can be easily shaped without cracking or breaking.

Once the level of the metals ductility has been determined, its use can also be decided. Once a person decides what to use the metal for, the forming process can begin. Bending, drawing and the roll form process are all examples of methods for shaping sheet metal.

Roll forming refers to the process of continually bending a piece of sheet metal until the desired cross-section profile is obtained. Basically, each roll forming stand is developed to bend a small section of the metal. This allows each stand to be responsible for an incremental part of the bend. A roll forming machine consists of several stands. The metal is fed through the roll forming machine and gradually bent consecutively by each stand. Roll form is an ideal method to apply when shaping sheet metal because it is long and can be easily formed by passing through the stands.

The art of metal forming has come a long way since discovered in ancient times. The roll form method is an example of the type of complexity involved with shaping sheet metal. As technology continues to advance, one can also expect to see advances in rollforming techniques.

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