Steel channels are strips of steel that have been formed into a channel. A channel is a rectangular tube, though many companies that manufacture channels offer open and closed varieties. An open channel is a rectangular tube that is missing one of its sides. It closely resembles a boxy U. Metal channels of all shapes, sizes, and compositions are used for applications ranging across every industrial and commercial context.
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Applications of Steel Channels
Construction, architecture, furniture design and manufacturing, medical technology design, transportation equipment manufacturing and many more processes and operations incorporate steel channels into products. A channel’s intended application determines what construction material is used to make it. Aluminum channels, for example, can be used for commercial and light industrial uses. Steel is used to make channels that are used for demanding applications. Aluminum would not be a suitable construction material for many supports and guide rails. Steel guarantees continued durability and strength, and it can be engineered to be corrosion-resistant if necessary.
Manufacturing Process of Steel Channels
There are many processes by which steel and other metal channels can be produced. The most basic method of steel channel fabrication is roll forming. Roll forming produces a high volume of uniform metal products without applying heat. Because roll forming is not a heat treatment process, it can be used to process metals that have been cured, finished, polished or otherwise treated without changing or damaging their surface properties. Depending on the surface properties, treatments may need to be applied to rollers, but otherwise roll forming is the simplest way to change the shape of treated metals without altering surface properties.
A roll former works by taking a stock of metal and passing it through a long series of rollers. The first set of rollers is configured to fit tightly around the contours of the incoming metal stock. After the first set, each subsequent set of rollers changes slightly in configuration until the last set, which is an outline of the final shape the metal is intended to take. When the metal emerges from the last rollers, it has taken its channel shape and is ready to be cut and shipped to customers.
Flexible Roll Forming Options
Companies around the world must determine what kind of manufacturing techniques to use for their businesses and products. For many years, most metal channels have been manufactured using the roll forming process. Roll forming is ideal for steel channels and other metal channels because it can manipulate the metal while it is cold without damaging or weakening the metal. The result is a stronger, more durable metal channel that can be used in a variety of functions, including construction frames, automotive bodies, supports, and many others.
One option that not all roll forming companies offer is the ability to offer a continuous clot with inturned lips. This offers the ability to make attachments to the channel at any point. This is highly beneficial in construction uses because it allows a stock part to have the flexibility and precise applications of a custom part. This can save the user thousands of dollars and a lot of time used in creating customized steel channel parts.
The manufacturing method used to include the attachments at any point does not add much expense or time to the manufacturing process. Many roll forming manufacturers can add this feature to any manufactured channel products to benefit the customers in additional ways. With just a little extra effort, it is possible to make any channel more versatile, flexible, and cost-effective in a wide range of applications.
Notable Types of Steel Channels
U channels are the most basic type of steel channel. They consist of a base and two legs of equal length. A J channel also has a web and two legs, but one leg is longer, like the letter J. Many other channel configurations exist to accommodate the many uses for channels across industry and commerce.