4 Common Types of Metal Manufacturing
For your metal component supply chain to be efficient and effective, it is critical to select the correct metal manufacturing process. Here, we describe the four most common types of metal manufacturing to help you make the right choice for your product and market.
Forming refers to a breadth of processes, including rolling, bending, forging and drawing, characteristic. The metal (generally sheet metal) is mechanically manipulated into a desired shape. Forming is a quick and inexpensive process that requires minimal lead-time. Forming makes a wonderful option for early-stage, short-run designs subject to change. It is also ideal for flat products with curves, such as housings, covers and pans.
Machining, sometimes called material removal, refers to a fabrication method that removes a portion of material. Cutting, shearing, punching and stamping are all examples of machining. Computer-programmed machines control the process. Due to relatively high production costs, machining is primarily used for low-volume runs of complex-shaped parts, or as a secondary process on existing parts. Machined products include gears, bearings, clutches, screws and nuts.
Casting enables producting items of a complex shape that would be difficult to produce by other methods. It is most suitable for high-volume production due to its high tooling costs (piece costs are quite low). The casting process involves pouring liquid metal into a hollow mold cavity, allowing the metal to solidify, and ejecting the hardened part from the mold. Examples of cast products include engine blocks, pistons and wheels.
Joining, by hand or by machine, is one of the last steps in the metal manufacturing process. Joining includes welding, brazing, soldering, adhesives and mechanical joining using fasteners such as rivets or pins. Manufacturers use the joining process when a product cannot be made as one piece. It is well-suited for times when it is less expensive to transport individual components for assembly at the destination. Products created by joining include fencing, railing and cooking equipment.
Additional Notes on Metal Manufacturing
Metal parts will nearly always be more expensive to manufacture than plastic parts. Depending on the process used, it may slightly higher or significantly higher.
In addition to the four primary types of metal processing described, others include EDM, wire EDM, water jetting and powder processing.
Revotech’s extensive experience in metal manufacturing can save you time and money. Contact us if you need help with a project. We look forward to helping you with your product and process decisions.