Using steel fabrication or other metals in your production facility, repair shop, or other such location usually means having to reduce the metal. This can mean creating holes of various shapes and sizes in the metal, for air circulation, to disperse weight and so on. There are several ways to do this and some are more expensive than others and more efficient than others. If you’re in charge of deciding on the equipment you want to invest in for your facility to do the metal reduction in-house, you might need to consider each type of metal reduction process so you know the right equipment to buy. Note the following.
Blanking is one of the most efficient processes for metal reduction. This refers to actually removing the metal in the shape of the needed hole, rather than just bending it out. Blanking processes cut out the shape of the hole needed in the metal through the use of lasers or other forms of cutting.
This process can be very efficient as it doesn’t leave rough or distorted edges that need to be flattened or otherwise addressed for the metal to be useable. The metal that is removed or blanked can also be melted down and reused in other processes, so there is less waste involved. While blanking machinery can be expensive, it can also offer the best and most efficient cut or reduction in metal.
2. Bending or punching
Bending or punching is commonly used for creating shapes in metal. When using a punch press of any sort, there is no metal remnant, so you don’t need to collect and then reuse the metal removed from the original piece, if your facility doesn’t have the means to handle that process. However, with punching or bending, the metal that is punched through the shape formed must be flattened on the underside. This can be done by having the metal pass over rollers after being bent or punched. This can slow down the process significantly and also adds layers to the underside of the metal.
3. Shearing and notching
Shearing and notching are different than cutting holes or shapes in metal, as shears and notches are very thin. This can be done with a laser cutter that quickly cuts through the metal and which then also sears the edges so that they’re not as rough and rugged. Blades can also do this cutting and notching but they may need to be heated and may wear down quickly, depending on the strength of metal and depth of the cut.