Metal rolling and bending are highly specialized, multi-faceted processes that almost all metal products will undergo at some point in their fabrication and choosing a fabricator to make this happen is a decision that should be carefully considered. Not all fabricators or formers will produce exceptionally high quality metal forms simply because they say they can. It takes a combination of the right tools and the most skilled fabricators to successfully form metal into a wide range of circular forms for a diverse range of applications. When the right combination is found, metal rolling can increase production rates and provide close control over the fabrication process.
Three Key Elements of Metal Bending
- A keen knowledge of Bending Direction can help protect sheet metal strength. When metal is rolled and stretched thinner and longer in a particular direction, it develops a natural “grain.” This grain has a significant impact on the nature and strength of the metal. Sheet metal fabricators must be able to identify the direction of the produced grain and counteract any defects that might develop if the metal is formed or rolled in the wrong direction. Working with the natural grain and natural ductility of the metal in the appropriate manner will help maintain its strength. In fact, the direction of the grain on a piece of rolled metal will have a direct impact on the type and degree of inside bend radius.
- Trust the math; the ratios and proportions of the Inside Bend Radius matter. Yes, contrary to belief, understanding the math is crucial to successful sheet metal bending or rolling. The minimum inside bend radius is directly proportionate to the thickness of the metal being formed. The thicker the material, the greater the radius. Calculating the proper inside bend radius is a key step in crafting a strong product every time. Every type of metal will have its own unique capabilities and ratios assigned for bending. Then, the next step is to identify which tool is the proper tool to complete the bend appropriately without compromising its structural integrity. It takes a highly skilled, exceptionally trained fabricator to understand those unique specifications and produce optimal results every time.
- Not all metals bend the same. Always consider individual metal elasticity. Bending metal is a skill. Anticipating how the metal will bend under pressure can be challenging. One thing is certain however; metal is elastic. Yes, that’s right. Metal will tend to bend back toward its original shape when being bent. This is a fabrication problem that great formers will be able to overcome, however. By knowing exactly how much to over-bend the sheet or plate beyond the intended final radius, formers can compensate for the “spring back” of the metal, ensuring that the desired radius is reached in the end.
The repeated process of rolling and bending sheet metal to varying thicknesses and lengths can put the metal under intense pressure that could create potential problems or defects in the metal. Part of the fabrication process involves identifying these concerns and knowing how to effectively correct them, all without compromising the integrity of the plate or slab. Formers and fabricators must take many different factors into consideration:
- The size and thickness of the workpiece
- The materials being bent
- The number of bends being introduced to the part
- Finished part tolerances
- Production rates
- Proximity of multiple bends to each other
The fabricators at Swanton Welding have been expertly rolling, bending, and welding sheet metal since 1956. Whether you’re in need of Large storage tanks, custom ductwork, shells or cones, cyclones, arcs, handrails, rolled beams and angles or tapered chutes, Swanton Welding has the full capabilities to finish your project with ease. Contact us today to request a free quote and discover all of the services that we offer.