Metal processing is the foundation of metal production and involves a variety of fabrication methods from stamping and pressing to bending, cutting, and roll forming. Every metal production method includes some form of metal processing that is designed to reshape a piece of flat metal into a configuration to fit a specific application.
A necessary part of the creation of long-lasting products is metal processing, which is used to engineer and create parts and components for easy use and fabrication. The long list of metal processes includes methods that can harden a metal for long lasting use to ones that soften a metal to make it more pliable. Each type of process has been tested and proven capable of producing the exact dimensions necessary for the final product.
Aluminum anodizing is a hardening process used to thicken the oxidized layer of aluminum. One of the reasons that aluminum is such a popular metal is its natural oxidization when exposed to air. The layer of oxide protects the metal surface from corrosion, rust, and wear. Hardening the surface of aluminum by anodization increases its resistance and strengthens it.
An added feature of the anodizing of aluminum is the ability to enhance it with color. The process of anodizing is an electrolytic surface treatment that hardens the metal but also increases its non-conductivity and creates a porous surface for colorization.
A fascinating development in metal processing is electrical discharge machining (EDM) that uses electrical energy to cut, drill, etch, and machine metals. EDM is an extremely accurate machining process that is used by CNC machines to produce complex geometries and precise detailing. The beauty of EDM is its flexibility since it can be used on hard and solid surface but is adaptable to perform delicate and precision machining of soft materials.
There are a wide variety of methods used to protect metals from environmental factors and stress that can cause wear and damage. Some of the processes used to provide protection include painting, coating, and certain powdered materials. A unique form of metal protection is electroless nickel plating that places a layer of nickel alloy on metal using nickel phosphorous or nickel boron, which is deposited on the substrate.
To create the nickel layer, the workpiece is placed in a water solution containing nickel salt and a phosphorus agent. The mixture of the chemicals places an even coating of nickel on the workpiece. The process happens chemically without need for electricity or other form of stimulus.
In this age of electronic equipment, devices, and systems, it is important to protect them from interference from external electromagnetic signals that can disrupt their operation or damage their performance. Random electromagnetic interference (EMI) can come from a variety of sources, which can be manmade or a natural phenomenon. The effects of such interference can result in disruption of service, loss of data, or complete system failure.
EMI shielding is a form of mechanical device designed to protect against EMI interference. It is fabricated from metals that are shaped and configured to fit the housings, enclosures, and casings of electronic equipment. The varieties of metal differ according to the needs of the application and the type of protection required.
One of the most common methods for processing metals is heat treatment, which alters the atomic structure of a metal to change its physical, chemical, and mechanical properties. To accomplish the transformation, the metal is put through a series of heating and cooling processes to change the behavioral properties and characteristics.
To enhance the life span of metals and ensure their proper performance, they are treated with a variety of coatings, which are thin layers of a material that are applied to the substrate. There are many varieties of coatings that include powders, paints, and metals. Aside from offering added protection, metal coatings can improve the aesthetic value by tinting and adding texture.
Aluminum anodizing is a surface hardening process in which electrolytic passivation is used to thicken the layer of oxide that naturally occurs on aluminum alloys.
Used to increase corrosion and wear resistance, anodizing can be performed on a variety of metals, such as titanium anodizing; however, amongst anodizers, aluminum is typically the metal of choice since it is naturally prone to corrosion due to alloying elements such as copper and iron. Learn more about aluminum anodizing.
EDM, an abbreviation of electrical discharge machining, is a specialized tooling method that uses electrical energy to cut, drill, etch and machine metal parts.
Electrical discharge machining is one of the most accurate types of machining processes as it is able to achieve complex geometries and details especially when using CNC EDM machines to control the process. EDM cutting and drilling is also suitable to be used for both hard materials and extremely delicate materials which are difficult to machine with conventional cutting methods. Learn more about edm.
Electroless nickel (EN) plating is an auto-catalytic chemical reaction that results in a layer of nickel alloy, typically nickel-phosphorus or nickel-boron, to be deposited onto a solid substrate like a metal or plastic workpiece.
A reducing agent, such as hydrated sodium hypophosphite, is crucial to the electroless nickel plating process because it reacts with the metal ions and allows for the nickel to be deposited. Learn more about electroless nickel plating.
View a full list of Electroless Nickel Plating Manufacturers
Tape is an adhesive product used to bind and fasten. In general, tape consists of a backing material and an adhesive material that is coated on it. To create tape, tape suppliers use a process that reflects this; during the process called coating, manufacturers apply adhesive to the backing, or carrier, material. Typically, the backing material is a fairly thin and flexible one, like cloth, paper tissue, film or even metal foil.
To apply the coating, manufacturers use one of three common methods: hot-melt coating, water-based coating and solvent coating. During hot-melt coating, adhesive is heated to its melting point, then applied onto the backing material while it is still liquid. Once it has cooled, the coating process is done. Next, water-based coating uses solutions that are made when adhesive is mixed with water, forming small, suspended globs of one liquid inside the other (emulsions). To finish, the emulsion is coated on. During solvent coating, tape suppliers use a solvent to dissolve the adhesive and leave behind a relatively non-viscous liquid. Once they have done this, they coat the liquid onto the backing material. Then, to finish, they remove the solvent residue by sending the tape through a heated oven. Learn more about emi shielding.
Heat treating is any of several methods for altering the atomic structure of a metal or other crystalline structure in order to instill beneficial physical, chemical and mechanical properties, such as strength or ductility.
These production and manufacturing techniques utilize systematic heating and chilling to modify the behavioral properties of industrial materials. Learn more about heat treating.
Coating services refer to various processes that are used to apply a thin layer of material onto another material, which is often referred to as the substrate.
There are many different purposes that coatings can serve, but the primary two reasons to coat a substrate are to protect the substrate from environmental conditions, corrosion and wear-and-tear. Coating can also give any desired aesthetic characteristics such as color, tint, scent and texture to the substrate that it does not already possess. Learn more about coating services.