Automotive Assembly Requires That Metal Parts Arrive on Time

Auto assembly operations rely on hundreds of 3rd party vendors to manufacture and ship thousands of different parts often to one location. Material management and supply chain management are integral parts of a successful assembly line operation. Just in Time inventory systems were introduced many years ago and transformed how automobiles were made. This article will help you understand the supply c26hain from the metal stampers perspective.

In the 1960s, the Japanese took a first step toward a perfect manufacturing world by introducing Just-In-Time (JIT) manufacturing. The intent of JIT is to enlist the cooperation of all links in the supply chain to make manufacturing more efficient and cost-effective. Nowhere is this concept more visible today than in the US automobile industry.

The JIT Methodology Requires More Than Just a Leap of Faith

US automotive assembly plants operate on the premise that components will arrive on time. Arriving late could cause an interruption or even a stoppage of the assembly line. Arriving early requires the company to store, track and pay for components that they don’t yet need. Making JIT manufacturing work successfully requires commitments to be made and kept by all suppliers in all supply chains. Even one supplier missing a scheduled delivery could cause an avalanche of delays or even shutdowns.

On-Time Delivery of Stamped Metal Components Keeps the Assembly Line Moving

Today, automobiles are designed to include complex stamped components which requires progressive metal stamping. This is a multistep operation where a blank coil of metal is stamped using a series of die stations that punch, bend, form, and eventually cut this blank into fully formed metal parts. This can be done by moving the item through a multiple stamping stations or by specialized equipment that can complete the multiple stamping operations with a single setup. Regardless of how the multiple steps are performed, the real hero here is the stamping die maker who interprets the part specifications, manufactures the necessary dies and recommends setup procedures.

Stamped Metal Components Must Be Cost-Effective

The challenge facing metal stampers is to deliver stamped components at a fair price and on the agreed schedule. The obstacles to overcome are equipment setup charges and long lead times. On a per piece basis, equipment setup charges can be reduced with high quantities of long run stamping. This may require the supplier to inventory a quantity of completed stampings until it is time to ship them. Most progressive metal stamping companies that serve the automobile industry are larger organizations with some serious metal stamping equipment and inventory capacity. Although the best partners can work together to minimize the need to inventory parts and deliver parts just in time for the assembly process to ramp up.

Metal Stamping for Kitchen, Laundry and HVAC Equipment

The process of transforming flat metal sheets into various shapes by placing them on a tool and die surface in a stamping press is called metal stamping or pressing. Custom metal stamping is employed when making a variety of appliances in kitchens, laundry and the HVAC equipment for homes.

What Are the Various Types of Metal Stamping Presses?

Stamping presses can be hydraulic or mechanical. The types of metal forming can include punching, embossing, cutting, blanking, coining, flanging and bending through a machine press, performed through multi-step or single-step operations. Typically, cold metal sheets of carbon steel are used for stamping. Some additional metal types can range from stainless steel, aluminum, brass, and a substrate called Inconel.

What Components Are Created by Stamped Metal?

Metal stamping companies in Philadelphia are producing a number of products and components that are used throughout the appliance manufacturing industry. A few of the metal components used in manufacturing of appliances are clamps, springs, washers, metal plates, bracketry, ground straps, and fan systems. Long run stamping often takes place on a progressive die press and is used to complete multiple metal forming tasks in a single pass through the press. Here are some products made with the help of progressive metal stamping:

  • Brackets and brushing for door and instrument panels
  • Heat sinks and shields with various specifications and imprints
  • Wire forms, such as terminals, rings, links, fasteners, hooks and springs
  • Assemblies
  • Lead frames for microchip management and electronics

What Are Some Sheet Metal Stamping Applications in the Appliance Industry?

Here are a few of the products made with sheet metal stamping in commercial and domestic appliances:

  • Washers and dryers
  • Stoves and ovens
  • Outdoor kitchens
  • Refrigeration systems
  • Dishwashers and waste disposal units in sinks
  • Pool and spa pumps
  • Garage door and security systems
  • HVAC units and water heaters
  • Thermostats and temperature control units
  • Irrigation and filtration systems

What Types of Metal Stamping Are Currently Available?

Depending on product design, its uniqueness, specifications, development stage and needs, and the production time frame, most metal stamping companies in Pennsylvania offer two types of metal stamping:

  • Long run stamping, also known as progressive stamping and deep drawn long run stamping, is most commonly used and can produce bulk orders at high rates of 800 or more units per minute. It is a fast and cost-efficient method for large volumes, provided the number of units can even out tooling costs.
  • Short run stamping is ideal for the vetting or testing phase of design and development as it does not require a lot of monetary investment. It offers fast turnaround periods and low tooling costs.

Metal Spinning Aluminum for Light Fixtures

The light fixtures in your home, serve more than just a practical function. They add to the aesthetic beauty and character of the home. A metal light fixture is more than just a shield to direct the focus of a light; it can be a work of art. This is particularly true when the fixture is produced via the process of aluminum spinning. Lighting fixtures such as wall sconces, pendants, and recessed lighting fixtures can all be produced by a metal spinning artesian, and when the spinning is done by hand, it elevates the manufacturing process to an art form.

What Is Metal Spinning?

Metal spinning is the process of changing the shape of a metal by spinning it on a lathe. However, it is different from more conventional methods of metal turning or wood turning in that the shaping process does not involve removing material. Rather, it is a process more analogous to shaping clay on a potter’s wheel. In aluminum spinning, the raw the metal, usually configured as a tube or disc, is placed on the lathe and shaped around a mold. This results in a new, rounded, symmetrical shape.

Why Is Aluminum Used?

Aluminum offers many advantages both for the metal spinner and the purchaser of the fixture. For the spinner, aluminum is a lightweight and malleable material that is one of the easiest metals to work with. For the purchaser, aluminum light fixtures are cost effective and durable due to aluminum’s resistance to corrosion. For both the spinner and the purchaser, the different alloys of aluminum offer different options to make each piece unique and distinctive. Aluminum spinning offers advantages over stainless steel or copper, both of which are more difficult for the spinner to work with and more expensive for the purchaser to buy. Certain aluminum alloys can mimic some of the properties of stainless steel for a much better price.

What Are the Different Metal Spinning Techniques?

In the past, metal spinning was only done manually. Nowadays it can also be performed via computer-assisted automation. A computer numerical controlled (CNC) lathe efficiently produces a more uniform thickness and is good for producing a larger quantity of components.The skill and craftsmanship is still required when using CNC controlled lathes although the automation does make things easier for the more novice metal spinner to do some of the projects asked of a custom metal spinning company. Each light fixture produced via aluminum spinning by hand is a unique masterpiece.

In a world where the warmth and homey comfort of incandescent lights are being replaced with more energy-efficient led lights, homeowners are looking for charming and unique lighting fixtures to keep each house feeling like a home. Metal spinning for light fixtures meets that need, and a custom metal spinning company is the best place to turn for unique aluminum spinning solutions.

The Essentials of Designing and Manufacturing Pressure Vessels

Pressure vessels are designed to contain a volume of fluids or gas in a relatively small space under extreme pressures. They are used in applications ranging from oil extraction to nuclear reactors. No matter how sophisticated the use needs to be, making pressure vessels involves some metal spinning and rolling to get the vessel to have symmetrical cap ends. In fact, the essentials of designing and manufacturing pressure vessels are remarkably similar for any application. Let’s take a look at this video,

Balancing Strength and Practicality

Compressed fluids exert a large amount of strain on their containers. The constant challenge of manufacturing pressure containers is how to balance the strength of the materials with practical constraints such as expansion and weight of fluids under pressure.

Designing strong vessels is addressed in two ways: using strong materials and making the container in a way that the strain is minimized. For the first consideration, steel is the most common solution. It is strong and relatively abundant, making it ideal for manufacturing pressure vessels.

To minimize the strain exerted on the vessel, the solution is conceptually simple when using a round sphere. However, this is often not as simple to engineer. While high-end, specialized pressure vessels can be meticulously manufactured to be perfectly spherical, the majority of applications call for a more tank like solution.

Cylindrical vessels with spherical, “dished,” heads at either end is the most popular way of overcoming this challenge. This design is robust while still being economical to manufacture.

Manufacturing Dished Heads

Making the heads for pressure vessels requires two major steps: creating a mold or metal spinning mandrel and the next step is molding the flat piece of sheet metal around the mold using the process of sheet metal spinning. The first part of this requires the mechanical design to be help the metal spinning manufacturer to create the mold. Most spinning companies start with a block of maple wood for the mold making. The design is programmed into a CNC spinning lathe and machined to the inside dimensions of the metal head.

Following this, the steel can be shaped using a metal spinning machine and an experienced craftsman. The flat sheet metal material is locked into the lathe and the operator get’s the speed up to 750 – 900 rpm’s. At these speeds, the spinning tools are applied at specific angles and force to elongate the sheet metal around the mold’s shape. Once the head ends are shaped, a welder can cut holes for the pressure vessel fluid flow pipes and these are added according to spec and the cap ends can now be added to the pressure vessel body.

When roll forming metal for vessels, the steel material needs to be precut to size prior to entering the roll forming machine. The cap ends that were manufacturers using sheet metal spinning will require good strong welds to prevent any leakage of fluid that will be under pressure. The welding of fixtures and valves to the pressure vessel requires a skilled hand. These weld points will be under the most stress.

The Benefits of Metal Spinning for Equipment Manufacturing

Equipment manufacturing often requires metal components with exact specifications, tight tolerances and often expensive materials. If you need copper or brass parts that are symmetrical in shape, metal spinning can be a cost effective option. Metal spinning is a technique for forming complex, symmetrical, 3-dimensional shapes from sheet metal disks. The spinning disk is shaped either manually or by a CNC lathe, which allows for easy customization. Metal spinning is a perfect solution for producing components in a wide range of industries such as:

  • Electrical
  • Cookware
  • Architectural
  • Lighting
  • Manufacturing equipment

Metal spinning has a number of benefits compared to other fabrication techniques. Not only is it ideal for custom, complex forms, spun components are seamless, stronger and often less expensive to produce.

1. Perfect for Complex Forms

Because components are formed by stretching metal on a high speed lathe using CNC control systems, they can be shaped to your exact specifications and can assume nearly any form that is axially symmetrical. Pressure vessels for example require good conductive metals to be shaped into spheres with depth and without seams. Therefore, copper spinning is the manufacturing process recommended for pressure vessels. Heating techniques are used to neck down or close off forms when cold techniques aren’t possible. If you’re working on a prototype and need to make minor alterations, this can be done quickly and easily.

2. Stronger Parts

The spinning process actually realigns the grain of the metal, which improves the tensile strength. That means you can use a lighter gauge material to do the same job as a heavier component fabricated by a different method. Each component is created from a single disc of metal so that there are no seams in the final product. The lack of seams makes a component made by spinning capable of withstanding greater pressure from inside or outside. This is why fire extinguishers, oxyacetylene tanks and other pressurized canisters are usually made using the metal spinning technique.

3. Less Expensive

Metal spinning is one of the most affordable techniques for producing custom metal components. This is primarily due to low-cost tooling and lack of waste material during the spinning process. Because of the flexibility of CNC technology, design changes can usually be implemented without additional costs to the client. Most custom metal forming manufacturers embrace sheet metal spinning as a viable alternative to metal stamping with dies and power presses when clients are looking for circular shapes.

If you need decorative reflective metals for your metal parts, copper spinning, brass spinning or another process called hydroforming sheet metal may be the perfect solution. Consult with a custom metal spinning company in Pennsylvania to find out if metal spinning is the right technique for your next metal part.

Spun Sheet Metal for Beauty and Functionality

What do clay and metal have in common? Both can be spun to make useful and decorative items. While clay can be spun in the comfort of a studio, sheet metal spinning is an advanced technique offered by various metalworkers and manufacturers. There are many kinds of metal that can be spun and the process is very flexible. A metal spinning service is useful for retail products, industries that require vessels and ornamental architecture. Here are some great spun metal products.

Musical Instruments

A symmetrical shape often creates a beautiful musical tone, as with gongs, cymbals and these handbells. These metal instruments require seamless designs to produce a high quality sound with no vibrations out of place. Brass and copper bells are also finished to have a polished shine to go along with their melodic sound. If you need multiple bells of different sizes and shapes, it is simple task to change the tool shape and angle to suit this need. A craftsman can design multiple bells that have the same style and often works closely with a metal spinning service on the intricacies of the design and metal quality.

Kitchen Appliances

When you look around your kitchen, there are many symmetric pieces hanging from the pot rack, being used as utensils to ladle soup, cut pizza and sauté vegetables. A stove top drip pan, for example, is a round disc that is molded to fit the range slot with a hole drilled in later for the heating element to pass through. Many other food preparation items are made to spec via the services of a custom metal spinning company. Other appliances, such as blenders, microwaves and refrigerators, also use small, symmetric parts that you’ll only know are there if you’re involved in manufacturing or repairing of such items.

Decorative Metals

Metal is a common decorative material in rustic and modern lighting units. A metal bowl can be spun from a bronze sheet of metal that would look great on your dining table with some flowers, or fruit. Recessed lighting fixtures, hanging pendant lights and symmetrical wall sconces often use the metal spinning process to produce their shapes. For artists, a spun metal plate makes for a unique canvas to paint or etch. Small metal discs are great for windchimes and it is not unusual for iron alloys to be spun for railings and room dividers.

Sheet metal spinning starts off with a metal blank cut to a round shape that is flat and then contoured on a spinning press moving at high rpms. A custom metal spinning company often starts with a CAD drawing provided by the client and they work together to select metal types and grades appropriate for the task. This gallery shows some examples of items created by a metal spinning service and the machines involved in the job.

How Are High Pressure Vessels for Compressed Gas Made?

If you are a buyer of pressurized gas for your business, you may be curious about how a commercial metal forming company produces high pressure vessels suitable for containing compressed gas. There are several steps involved in making pressure vessels that can withstand up to 1000 times more pressure than other more basic containers that may be used for storing dry goods under normal pressure.

Heat Treated Metal and Chemical Baths

Metals such as the steel alloy chromoly are often used for high-pressure vessels. These metals are initially treated at a temperature near 1300 degrees Fahrenheit for 36 hours before being immersed in the first of a series of chemical baths intended to allow the metal to flex and be capable of safely storing compressed gas. Once dried, the metal is moved over a hydroforming press to be formed into the shape outlined by the designer. Often there is a deep draw die that is made based upon the specifications provided by the client.

A Series of Presses

Several different types of powerful presses are used to shape compressed gas vessels. A mandrel pressor hydroforming sheet metal press applies up to 800 tons of force before another type of press may be used to continue refining the vessel shape with up to 150 tons of force while using a coolant to prevent overheating. Several presses may be employed to stretch the metal until the closed bottom end of the vessel is shaped and reinforced.

Finishing the Top and Exterior

In order for a commercial metal forming company to complete a pressure vessel, it is necessary to create a leak-proof neck and valve connection. First, a band saw is used to slice off the top of the container following pressing. A torch then heats the edge to more than 1500 degrees Fahrenheit for 90 minutes before the vessel is returned to yet another chemical bath for several minutes. The vessel is finally reheated to a slightly lower temperature around 1200 degrees Fahrenheit for 90 minutes before being left to cool for several hours. The surface is smoothed by shot blasting and the finished container is tested by being filled with and submerged in water.

All of the transitions between extreme heat and cooling involved in the production of a high-pressure vessel temper the metal and allow it to flex enough to safely contain pressurized gases. There are several major types of pressured vessels that that can be created by shaping deep drawn aluminum, specialty alloys and carbon steel. There are only a handful of hydroforming companies in USA that specialize in making pressure vessels for the compressed gas market.