Aluminum is a widely used metal in the manufacturing industry. It is used in buildings all sorts of material, from small items like soda cans to mighty airplanes. It is a soft metal alloy that makes shaping and mass production easier.
Out of all metals, Aluminum has the benefit of being the most lightweight. If compared with metals like copper, Aluminum wires can pass more current with a broader cross-section with two times lesser weight. That is why Aluminum wires are used in overhead power lines.
Aluminum Stamping- a brief intro
But, how does a metal turn into soda cans or airplanes?
The answer is aluminum stamping. It is a branch of the standard process of metal stamping, where machines are used to shape and create different objects from raw metal. This article sheds light on the most critical questions related to Aluminum stamping.
What is Deep Drawing?
Drawing is a complex mechanical process in which the Aluminum product is shaped. It involves punching the metal into a mold. Long, tube-like parts are often made with this procedure. Deep drawing is followed by re-drawing or draws reductions.
Drawing and stretching are not the same processes. Deep drawing places the surface area inflow, whereas stretching increases the surface area of metal. Aluminum may stretch a bit during deep drawing, but careful engineering can limit this from happening.
What are the standard grades of Aluminum used in stamping?
This silvery-white metal is available in various grades, based on usage. Common stamping Aluminum grades are:
|2024 & 7075||Aircraft and screw machines|
|3003||Hardware and cooking ware|
|6061 & 6063||Architectural structures and aerospace parts|
Depending on your requirements, the company will help you finalize the best grade. Make sure that you check with a couple of companies before making a final decision.
Can I replace a steel part with the Aluminum part?
The properties of other metals like iron and steel vary physically and mechanically. If your team gives you a go-through for putting an Aluminum part, use the following precautions:
- Aluminum has low strain sensitivity. Any piece may be prone to fracture in the initial process. Lower the hold-down pressure to avoid this common mistake
- Any blanking tool used for Aluminum stamping should be sharp, to avoid to reduce edge splitting
- Springback is higher for Aluminum compared to steel and other metals, check with your manufacturer
How to prevent Aluminum from galling?
Friction between the Aluminum metal sheet and tools causes galling. Take all the compulsory precautions to limit this friction and chances of galling. After being exposed to air, Aluminum builds an oxide on its surface, which makes it sensitive to punches.
The best way to avoid this is by applying a good quality lubricant on the surface. The lubricant must be applied in a way that a fine coating is always covering the metal surface during punching. Manufacturers either coat the punches or the surface of the metal.
Another factor that increases the risk of galling is the shape of punches. If the radii of the tools are not adjusted, they can tear off grains off the Aluminum surface. Your alloy must have a small grain size and must fit well with no room to stay loose. Laser cutting is a new technology that can produce shapes and edges of the tools just as desired.
How do I select a radius?
Three types of radii have a direct effect on the metal’s flow:
- Die entry
Die entry radius is the most important of all. It bends and unbends metal during the formation process, so this radius will directly affect wrinkling and other damages. In the case of Aluminum, the radii must be adjusted higher than other metals.
Punch radius affects the stretching of metal, and profile radius is the outside profile of a shell. These sizes control metal flow. Bend radii of your tools for Aluminum must be three times that of steel for similar formability.
Which press is right for my product?
Keep in mind that the press is one of the most critical elements in Aluminum stamping. Wrong choice and hasty decisions can deform or damage your metal, and add to your carefully curated cost. Experienced companies will tell you that a good press can make or break your sheet.
Hydraulic presses are ideal for deep drawing metal sheets because their settings are adjustable. The press will never exceed its forming speed and not damage the metal. Crank-drive Press can lose tough at the bottom of the most critical stroke.
Eyelet or shaft presses are also useful and mostly accurate for Aluminum stamping. Once again, discuss each requirement in detail with your service provider and use their experience.
Aluminum stamping is more complicated than other metals, and only a few companies master this art. Because it is not as resilient as other metals, manufacturers must take all the precautions right from the beginning. You must stay aligned with each step in the process. We hope this guide proved to be useful in answering some of the most important questions regarding Aluminum stamping.