Manufacturers in many industries rely on thin sheet metal to make their products. From automotive, construction, equestrian, to aerospace, thin sheet metal is a primary material in the production process. And this is why the global sheet metal market is projected to grow at an average rate of 4.09% up to 2022. The many benefits of using thin sheet metal account for the continuous growth and increased utility in manufacturing operations.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of using thin sheet metal.
1. There Is a Wide Variety of Thin Metal Strips to Choose From
Sheet metal exists in an extensive range of alloys such as Carbon Steel, Stainless Steel, Copper Brass, and thin Aluminum strips. With the many different alloys of sheet metal, you can choose the one that suits your needs best. The different metal compositions have varying qualities and properties that you can leverage to improve your products and manufacturing operations.
The strength, aesthetics, and rust resistance of sheet metal are some of the top qualities manufacturers consider. For instance, stainless steel is heavily utilized in the construction industry because of its flexibility, strength, visual appeal, and resistance to high corrosion. Similarly, the automotive industry utilizes aluminum sheets when making vehicles because of its light weight. The fact that sheet metal is available in many different forms increases its utility and versatility in manufacturing operations.
2.Thin Sheet Metal Can Be Cut-To-Length and Customized to Fit Your Exact Needs
A good sheet metal supplier can cut your sheet metal as per your precise specifications. As such, you can give specific measurements for the width and length of your sheet metal, and your supplier will deliver. A good supplier should provide custom slit-to-width and cut-to-length sheet metal as per your detailed specifications. This goes a long way in boosting the production rate of your manufacturing operations by reducing engineering errors.
Studies have found out that manufacturers spend 30-50% of their productive time correcting errors in their products, of which 24% are design errors. When you have your metal sheet supplied in exact quantities and measurements, it will be easy to avoid design errors in your manufacturing process.
3. Thin Sheet Metal Allows Manufacturers to Finish Products Using Different Methods
Products made from thin sheet metal can utilize standard finishing techniques such as abrasive sandblasting, powder coating, brushing, plating and polishing. Depending on the type of sheet metal you utilize, you may finish your products to protect them from corrosion or for aesthetics purposes. Since thin sheet metal can bend into different shapes and sizes, you can design your products so it’s easy to apply your ideal finishing technique.
4. Thin Sheet Metal is Durable
The different alloys of sheet metal available allow you to choose the type of sheet metal that can withstand tough operating conditions. If your products are used in tough outdoor conditions, you may choose stainless steel because it’s resistant to corrosion. For your electrical components, such as motors and wiring, you may utilize copper because it has excellent electrical conductivity. Whatever your purpose is, you’ll find an alloy of sheet metal that will give your products long service life.
5. Thin Sheet Metal Creates Employment and Benefits the Economy
Today, sheet metal contributes $30 billion in revenue to the U.S. economy. There are more than 138,900 sheet metal workers who earn a living from working in the thin sheet metal industry. Most manufacturers utilize sheet metal in their operations. The availability of sheet metal makes it more affordable for manufacturers. In the long run, using sheet metal will not only boost your manufacturing operations, but it will also significantly contribute to the U.S. economy.
If you’re not already using thin sheet metal in your manufacturing operations, the above benefits should make you consider sheet metal. Not only is thin sheet metal readily available in many forms, but it’s also affordable and durable. You can purchase thin sheet metal in bulk or small quantities from a sheet metal supplier near you.
Sheet metal is one of the most common metal forms used in metalworking applications. This is because it is strong, lightweight, and non-corrosive. Its market has particularly expanded over the years with analysts predicting growth of 4.09% between the years 2018 and 2022 globally. Despite its many applications, its lightweight construction makes it prone to deformation. Knowing how to modify and strengthen thin metal strips enhances their performance for any application, including body repairs, restoration, or rebuilding projects. Here are techniques used to strengthen thin metal strips.
1. Bending the Edges
Bending the edges of the panels reduces the risk of the sheet deforming and enhances its structural integrity. This is because most of the damage sustained on the thin steel sheet happens on the outer edges. Once the edges bend, the rigidity and thickness of the vulnerable areas increase, eliminating the risk of deformation.
Note, the extent of the bend depends on the metal’s minimum bend radius. As such, excessive bends may cause the sheet metal to crack instead of strengthening it. There are several ways of bending sheet metal. The simplest involves clamping the stainless steel metal on a table and using your weight to bend it over. Alternatively, you can use a body hammer and the edge of a dolly to fold the metal to create a firmer bend. However, if you want to make crisper bends and have a little more control, a metal brake should come in handy. The type of metal brake used determines the size and the thickness of the metal you can bend. High-quality metal brakes are designed to handle 20- and 18- gauge thin metal strips easily.
2. Creating Structural Grooved Seams
This technique is most effective when you want to create a round shape on metals such as copper and brass. Creating ribs or groove designs into the sheet metal increases strength significantly while adding to the design of the panel. This is because the stretched metal on those areas hold tension better and improves its structural rigidity.
You can use a hammer and brass, wooden, or plastic chisel, or a panel beater bag to make the grooves. Bead rollers also make excellent tools for adding grooved seams, and large tools like the Pullmax come in handy.
3. Creating Hemmed Edges
This method is similar to bending in that it adds more strength and resilience to thin aluminum strips. The process still involves bending the sheet metal panels at the edge, but this time you determine the size of the bend depending on the project requirements. A small piece of wire is used to improve the final look for the panels while enhancing the metal’s rigidity.
4. Stretching the Metal Profile
Stretching the profile of thin metal strips improves their strength significantly. The process changes the shape of the metal and creates a curve or bulge on the panel. You can use a regular hammer, a power hammer, or an English wheel designed for creating compound curves. While the metal sheet stretches regardless of the tool used, you can determine the degree of the stretch based on the amount of work and the time invested in the project.
5. Punching Holes on the Metal Sheet
Normally, punching holes on a metal panel reduces its strength, but if you’re stretching it into the edge of the hole, the material is strengthened. Creating a grooved seam or bead around the hole strengthens the sheet metal. Sheet designers use hammers to punch holes, but tools such as the small draw-through punch-flare have been developed to make work easier.
A combination of these methods should strengthen thin metal strips while creating attractive designs for a range of applications. You also need a handful of metal fabrication tools on hand for the best results.