Metal Forming Processes: Everything You Need to Know

Metal forming processes is used in a large number of industries having numerous benefits such as affordability, increased productivity, flexibility, and efficiency.

FREMONT, CA: Metal forming is the process of fabricating structural parts and components from metal sheets or tubing. A metal workpiece is bent or deformed to achieve a desired geometric shape during the metal forming process. Metal forming is, in many ways, not only the foundation of modern industrial manufacturing but also a vital industry in its own right. Industrialized nations use hundreds of millions of tons of metal-forming material every year, which contributes 15 percent-20 percent to their GDP.

Through this process, parts can be mass-produced for applications in aerospace, automotive, and durable goods, such as appliances, agriculture, consumer electronics, telecommunications, rail and marine, and petrochemicals. Components derived from metal forming are used in all of them.

Processes for forming metal: During metal forming, metal undergoes plastic deformation, resulting in a geometrically shaped component or partly used in industrial production. Any forming operation must expose the material to tension, compression, or both, i.e., bending. Metal does not lose mass during the process. Metals must also have the necessary mechanical properties, such as the ability to stretch, compress, or bend to ensure success. Splits, creases, or other defects can occur when the material's mechanical properties are insufficient. In metal forming processes, the strength of the material must be balanced with its formability.

Metal forming processes are used in manufacturing industries for mass production. The more repeated methods are bending, stretching and roll forming.

Bending is a flexible metal forming process that uses a brake press or a similar type of press machine. Metal sheets are formed by punch-pressing them over a die block. In reality, the die does not actually strike a hole in the metal sheet but creates a bending force that shapes it.

Another form of metal processing is stretching. In order to form complex or large contoured parts, a workpiece is stretched and bent simultaneously over a die. Radial strain causes the sheet to deform. With this process, large parts can be shaped with smooth surfaces and accurate radius bends.

Metal is commonly formed by deep drawing. The metal sheet is clamped over a cavity-shaped die to form hollow components. It is drawn into the cavity by the motion of the punch. The external shape of the part deforms the tensile strength of the metal sheet.

Through successive sets of rollers, roll-for-ming shapes are metal. Through the machine, pairs of rollers continuously form and bend metal sheets or strips into desired cross-sectional shapes. In this process, the part is gradually formed until the desired cross-section is achieved. Generally, roll forming is used for large production runs or for components with long lengths.

Metals commonly used in metal forming are stainless steel, galvanized steel, aluminum, brass, and copper. Form, function, strength, and mechanical properties will all influence the choice of metal.