Metal processing: what types are there and what are their applications? - Shandong Jiugang Tisco Steel Co., Ltd.

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Metal processing: what types are there and what are their applications?

Metals are present in every corner of our lives, no matter how insignificant it may seem. They play a vital role in the way we live: our work, our personal lives …… from our home comforts (household appliances, chairs, sofas, kitchen utensils ……) to our social well-being (street lighting, bus stop seats, medical equipment ……) , metals are the fundamental elements of our lives and metalworking is the basic process that makes them a reality.

What is metalworking?
Metalworking involves the process of physically, chemically or biologically transforming these elements so that they can be used for assembly in the manufacturing process. For example, the structure of a car requires metal that has undergone a machining process, which is often produced in specialised factories like Ferros Planes before being sent to a car assembly plant, or the structure of street furniture, such as lamp posts, benches or railings, which require the use of metal that has been galvanised to ensure its resistance to external elements, such as heat or rain.

Metal fabrication, metal working and metal processing are often confused, but in fact they refer to different things and may be included in each other.

Metal fabrication, machining and metal working: the differences
For example, fabrication may refer to the production of the original metal parts (such as coils or sheets), but some also include the subsequent machining process, as it also refers to a part of these parts after the initial production process.
Metalworking, on the other hand, as we have explained in previous articles, is a set of industrial processes of material removal (cutting, marking, pressing, drilling, etc.) carried out on a raw material that has already undergone a previous manufacturing process (blank) in order to make it conform to the necessary shape and size requirements in the manufacturing plant of the final product.

Machining in turn can include machining processes, but can also include other processes that do not involve material removal, or even the addition of modifications such as galvanising or plating, welding or rolling.

The processes involved in metalworking are therefore complex and varied, requiring different skills and machinery, and having very different costs, regulations and applications. Some of the most common situations and their applications are detailed below.

Processes that may involve metalworking
Metal cutting is one of the most common processes used in metalworking. It involves separating a portion of metal into halves, thirds or smaller parts. Usually this process is carried out when the metal does not yet have any specific shape, before further processing such as machining. Machines capable of carrying out this metal processing can range from band saws or radial saws to lasers and other high-tech machines, depending on requirements such as cutting accuracy, delivery times or budgets.

Metal bending is one of the most complex processes in metalworking and involves the plastic deformation of a metal surface to give it a shape at a certain angle. Unlike other processes, bending requires facilities with very special high-tech equipment, given the complexity of the process, and in fact bending is often replaced by joining two metal sheets that already have the required angle.

Welding is, together with cutting, one of the most popular processing processes in the metalworking industry. It refers to the joining of two separate metal parts (which can be sheets, panels, bars, tubes, etc.) after melting the material and applying a filler material that has a lower melting point than the parts to be joined, in order to achieve a bath of molten material (called a weld pool) that hardens on cooling. Pressure can be added to this process, as well as heat, to join the two parts together. Many energy sources can be used for the application of heat, such as lasers, electron beams, gas flames, etc. Fusion or thermoplastic welding is usually carried out as a result of direct contact with a hot tool or a hot gas.

Machining is a process that is frequently mentioned in this blog. It is a process that seeks to remove portions of a metal part (chip) to achieve the desired shape, size, etc., requirements of a metal part for use in the final production of a product. There is also non-chipping machining, although there is no consensus that this is machining, to which many necessarily attribute the removal of material, and many refer to it as metal forming. Machining processes include cutting (although we have listed it separately in this list, it can also be considered as a machining process because there is often chip removal), milling, turning, drilling, etc., which include machinery such as milling cutters, lathes, drills, saws, etc.

A process (which can be subsumed under machining as there is little chip removal) consisting of a cutting operation along a straight line between two cutting edges, generally used to reduce large sheets of metal to smaller sections for subsequent pressing processes. The machine used in this process is the shearing machine. The basic action of shearing is to lower the shear blade onto the machine table to fracture or break the material in a controlled manner. The equivalent of shearing when produced cold is guillotining.

Marking or stamping
This is a process within metal processing that consists of making a puncture in the metal without actually piercing it, in order to form letters, engravings or others, such as relief engraving on wood or marble, in a superficial manner (an example of this is coins).

Casting is one of the oldest metal transformation processes, where molten metal (melted and liquefied) is poured into a mould of a specific shape and allowed to solidify. It is a very flexible process within metal processing, allowing for a wide range of complex shapes, but it must be followed by other transformation processes such as bending, cutting or stamping. Metals that commonly undergo casting processes include steel, iron, gold, copper, silver and magnesium.



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