Metals are all around us. The house we live in, the buildings we work in, the cars we drive, the tables, we use, the chairs we sit on, even our smartphone, tablet, and laptop, all of these devices and objects have metals embedded in them in one way or the other.
These metals are found in the earth’s crust, mountains, stones, and many other minerals. They are mined, refined, combined, reshaped, and then used as a raw material in different objects.
These objects are then supplied to companies who manufacture the finished products that become available for us to use in our everyday life.
But how are these metals formed into the final products? In this blog, we have discussed metal forming – a branch of metallurgy that deals with reshaping metals in their solid-state.
What is Metal Forming?
Metal forming is a subset of metal fabrication. It involves reshaping refined metal crust into a particular form that can be used to shape the product.
Manufacturing companies receive metal in rock form – they don’t have a particular shape. They are cut and then formed into cylinders. These cylinders are then supplied to other manufacturers or reshaped into a final shape.
Metal forming is different from metal melting. In metal melting, pieces of metals are melted to create objects. In metal forming, the metal is not melted. It remains solid during the whole process. It ensures that any potential hazards of handling molten metal are avoided.
How is Metal Formed? Cold vs. Hot Metal Forming
There are two ways to form metals into desired shapes:
- Hot metal forming
- Cold metal forming
The hot metal forming process involves burning the metal 60% above its melting point, converting it into a shape, and then cooling it down. Since the metal is burnt above the melting point, it is a lot easier to mold it in any shape.
The cold metal forming process includes reshaping the metal while it is at room temperature or slightly higher. During cold metal forming, the metal is pressed between the two dies until it takes the desired shape.
Metal Forming Process
The metal forming process is segmented into many types. In this blog, we discuss different types of process that are employed for metal formation. These processes are:
In metal forging, the metal is pressed between two dies that compress it to give it a particular shape. This pressed metal can then be sold to a company that cuts the metal and create molds, or it can be passed through an extrusion test.
In extrusion, the metal is pushed through an extrusion tunnel. This tunnel pushes the metal into a particular shape. The extrusion process is used to create cylindrical shapes.
Similarly, extrusion can also be used to create steel beams that we use in the construction of our houses. The extrusion process is also used in many other places.
Similarly, another metal forming process is the rolling process. This process is also used to make construction beams, trays, metal sheets, and other objects that we use in our everyday life.
The concept of rolling metal is similar to rolling a dough – to make it into a plain sheet. However, two rollers (top and bottom) are used instead of one – to spread the metal across the surface. Rolling can be carried out in both hot and cold conditions.
Another way of metal forming is through the metal drawing process. Unlike metal extrusion, in drawing, you are pulling the metal from a cylindrical surface. Drawing is used to create long pipes.
There are different sizes of pipes, and metal drawing dies that can be adjusted according to each size. Some examples of drawing in metal forming include long tubes, pipes, wires, plastics, glass, metal bars.
Applications of Metal Forming
Metal forming has many applications. They are used to create aircraft bodies. Since aircraft have a cylindrical tube that is intact, the drawing process is used to create such type of cylindrical bodies.
Similarly, metals made through the forging process are used to create metal sheets. These sheets can be molded to create car body parts, cutlery, utensils, and much more.
There are many other ways of bending metal, depending on the shape. These methods of bending the metal include channel bending, U-bending, offset bending, tube formation, and others.
Metal Forming Machines
Metal forming requires multiple machines that can be 12ft long. If you are trying to set up your metal forming business, you need CNC metal forming machines. Most of these are available on websites like Alibaba and Tradekey.
The process of metal forming is an elaborate topic. In this blog, we have covered the introduction of metal forming. If you need to learn more about metal forming, then let us know in the comments below.