By definition, the metalworking industry is a supplier to other links in the production chain of items such as custom-made machinery, consumer goods, and metal tools.
Metalworking encompasses manufacturing activities that produce industrial machines and tools that supply parts to other related industries, with metal and iron alloys being their basic input for use in productive capital goods.
The importance of the metalworking industry lies in the fact that it provides machinery and inputs to most economic activities for their reproduction. These include the manufacturing industry, construction, automotive, mining, agriculture, as well as many others.
What is Metalworking?
It is impossible to experience life without feeling the benefits of metalworking. For example, we wake up on comfortable mattresses at the same time every morning and, throughout the day, we use our cellphones. These are just two small examples of how products that employ metalworking impact our day to day.
Firstly, mattresses are manufactured on giant mass production lines. These lines occupy the basic principles of mechanics to a great extent. The manufacturing of this product is accomplished by using industrial blades to cut the mattress materials and steel needles to sew the fabric. The process also utilizes mechanisms that are made of gears, pulleys, shafts, and bushings that put the industry in motion. All of these things are products of metalworking.
When considering the cell phone, we encounter another instance in which metalworking is essential for the manufacturer of the product. This is the case starting with the assembly of a cell phone in mass, to the use of the metal mold that serves as a crucible for plastic injection.
Because of its ubiquitous nature, metalworking is the basis of most industrial activities.
What is the goal of the metalworking industry?
The goal of the metalworking industry is to transform raw materials from metals into sheets, wires, and plates, etc. This is to have things such as spare parts, auto-parts for vehicles, radio receivers, nuts among others as a final product. These items are used in a great diversity of sectors such as water, gas, heating, automotive, aeronautical industry, to name a few.
The metalworking industry is distinguished by the high complexity of its processes that require high precision from its craftsmen. Among the expert tradesmen in the industry are turners, rectifiers, milling machine operators, die makers, casters, numerical control operators (CNC), welders, forgers, among many other specialized individuals.
The metalworking industry is dedicated to the use of products obtained from metallurgical processes for the manufacture of parts, pieces, or finished products such as machinery, equipment, or tools
Metalworking industry: Components
This is the technique of obtaining and treating metals from metallic minerals. It encompasses the production of alloys and the quality control of the processes. Metallurgy is responsible for obtaining, treating and changing, or melting metals. Through it, these elements that are found in nature are analyzed and serve as the raw material for the manufacture of countless goods.
Iron and steel industry
The iron and steel industries are an area of metallurgy that is responsible for iron technologies. This includes its production, and that of alloys, which are produced mainly from carbon.
Processes involved in the metalworking industry
- Conventional machining is the process in which material is removed by the direct contact between tool and workpiece.
- Turning (or spinning) is a type of metalworking process that involves the use of a rotating machine, typically a CNC lathe, to deform metal over a pre-shaped mold.
A set of machines and tools that allow machining, threading, cutting, boring, turning, roughing, and grooving parts geometrically by revolution is called a lathe.
These machine tools operate by rotating the part to be machined (clamped in the head or also called Chuck fixed between the centering points) while one or more cutting tools are pushed in a regulated forward movement against the surface of the part, cutting the chip in accordance with the appropriate machining technology conditions. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the lathe has become an important basic machine in the industrial machining process.
A lathe is a machine tool that rotates a workpiece about an axis of rotation to perform various operations such as cutting, sanding, knurling, drilling, deformation, facing, and turning, with tools that are applied to the workpiece to create an object with symmetry about that axis. Examples of objects that can be produced on a lathe include screws, candlesticks, gun barrels, cue sticks, table legs, bowls, baseball bats, musical instruments (especially woodwind instruments), crankshafts, and much more.
A milling machine is a machine tool that is used to carry out machining work by chip removal through the movement of a rotary tool with several cutting edges called a milling cutter. Milling covers a wide variety of different operations and machines, on scales from small individual parts to large, heavy-duty gang milling operations. It is one of the most commonly used processes for machining custom parts to precise tolerances.
The basic concept of the drill is that it is a tool where most of the holes that are made in parts in mechanical workshops are machined. Additionally, The drill is considered to be a rotating machine tool, in which external tools can be inserted to perform a variety of different functions. Although mainly bits are employed to make holes or perforations within the materials, it can be used by putting discs and wire brushes to do the function of sanding and/or roughing.
Water jet cutting is a process of a mechanical nature, by means of which it is possible to cut any material, making a jet of water impact it at high speed. This action produces the desired finish. Waterjet machines cut all types of metals: hardened tool steel, aluminum, titanium, and a host of exotic metals that prove difficult to cut with other tools or processes. Cutting with a waterjet produces a smooth edge with no burn marks, cracking or excess burrs. In addition, since waterjet is a cold cutting method, there are no heat-affected zones.
Shapeshift process: Hot or cold-formed.
Casting is the process of manufacturing parts in a foundry. Casting is commonly done using metal but also can be done with plastic. This operation consists of melting material and introducing it into a cavity, called a mold, where it solidifies. Some of the metal casting processes and materials used in ancient times are still in use today.
There are numerous reliable and effective metal casting materials that are used for industrial purposes. The most commonly used resources are gray iron, ductile iron, aluminum, steel, copper, and zinc.
Forging is defined as a metal forming technique in which the shape of metals is changed by applications of compressive forces. For applying the compressive force to the steel or any other metals, the forging hammers, forging presses, ring rollers, etc. are used. Forging is a unique process that tends to imbue the final product with uncommon strength-the inevitable result of being pounded, pressed, rolled or upset into an existing form.
The steel that comes out of the steelmaking blast furnace is converted into crude steel melted into large and heavy ingots that later have to be rolled to be able to convert the steel into the multiple types of commercial profiles that exist according to their uses
Tools for that are used in the metalworking industry
Included among the tools for metalworking and machining are:
- Tangential and circular profile tools.
- Brushes for locksmithing
- Blades for petrochemicals
- Blades for the rubber and textile industries
- Blades for cutting metal tubes
- Rollers for laminating and forming metal tubes
- Circular and flat blades for sheet metal cutting.
Metalworking Industry Technology
There are hundreds of varieties of metal cutting machines and tools. They range in size from small machines that are mounted on workbenches to huge production machines weighing several tons and are used in the modern metalworking industry. System integration and automation in manufacturing are the present and the future of the metalworking industry.
Many technological advances have been applied to the manufacture of tools and tooling for machining both in conventional tools and in special and precision tools with increasing solutions that contribute to optimizing manufacturing processes.
Today starting with tools, through to measurement systems that are increasingly more precise, such as three-dimensional laser machines and all systems integrated with CNC machining – give companies the best machining “weapons” for functionality and precise performance. These technologies are aimed at modernizing the metalworking industry and increasing customer satisfaction.