Shaping and bending metal is a key part of the manufacturing or engineering process for many businesses. While it’s a widely used process there are still problems which can arise. Later we’ll take a look at some of the most common defects which occur and solutions which are available. But first, let us understand how metal is bent and shaped in the first place.
The science of metal
Metal in its natural form is generally hard with a shiny lustre to it when polished. It conducts both heat and electricity well and can be either a raw chemical element in its own right or an alloy, a mix of more than one type of raw metal. It’s widely used in industry because of its malleable properties. It can be hammered, shaped or bent in many different ways, but it can also be melted and poured into moulds and then cooled to be left with an extremely strong, resilient finished product.
Generally, nowadays, bending machines are used in place of manual processes. These machines are much more efficient at mass producing finished products. While machines can help to reduce the number of injuries sustained by operators, they are still dangerous if not used correctly and the Health and Safety Executive has prepared some guidance. Even operated correctly, things can go wrong in the bending process, so let’s take a look at some common defects and potential solutions.
Common defects when using bending machines
Four of the most common defects which occur are cracking, scraping, hole deformation and uneven thickness of the material.
Cracks appearing at the bends can be caused if the radius set for the bend is too small or if the grain of the metal is running in the wrong direction. To resolve these issues you can adjust the radius of the bend or, in the case of a problem with the grain, change the layout of the blank.
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Scraping occurs when raw materials aren’t smooth or you haven’t allowed sufficient clearance for the bend. To rectify you can make adjustments to clearance and ensure the smoothness of raw materials.
So, while defects can occur, they are generally easily put right with a few tweaks and adjustments.