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Why waste metal?
It’s the obvious conundrum; you need to cut production costs, but cannot afford to sacrifice the quality of your components and you are already operating as efficiently as possible.
Although there’s not much you can do about the cost of the metal you use, how about considering production methods that could allow you to use less of the same?
Would you believe it if we told you that for many traditional metal machining methods, where a part is milled from a block of metal, over 80 percent of the original material is normally scrapped during production? This is an amazing figure, especially when set in the context of concepts such as depletion of natural resources and sustainability.
Although the scrap can be recycled, giving you some money back, it’s still a wasteful process in more ways than one. More importantly, you’re buying and stockholding more material than necessary before you can make each part and, of course, before you can bill your customer and get paid!
But there are alternatives.
For example, precision cold forming is a manufacturing technique that can save around 90 percent of metal waste, compared with traditional machining techniques, as less metal is needed to begin with. This is because the part is extruded at high pressure from a relatively small blank or billet of metal, creating a component part which may even offer superior internal surface finishes and mechanical characteristics.
This miraculous transformation happens because during cold forming the grain structure is forced to follow the contours of the component. This strengthens the part, as opposed to the varied grain structures common with traditional methods. All things considered you may end up with an inherently stronger part, as well as one with improved machinability (for the essential final touches) and of course durability - all benefits that your customers will love, offering you therefore an additional advantage over the competition.
Many materials can be cold formed, including copper, brass, aluminium, steel and now even stainless steel - all at ambient temperatures. With clever tooling, complex internal shapes can also be produced, which are almost impossible to achieve through more traditional methods.
So with cold forming you can reduce waste, offer parts with improved qualities, save time and even benefit the environment as no expensive cooling or heating is required. Amazingly there are only a few true cold forming experts out there, but companies like Dawson Shanahan can produce parts that are accurate to within a few microns, for use in sectors such as aerospace, automotive, power generation and medical.
Precision cold forming is an ideal technique for parts that need to be produced in low and high volumes, so why waste precious time and metal?