rfq@prestigemetals.com || 262-891-3888

What Is the Difference Between Sheet & Plate Steel?

Prestige SM Director

Steel is an alloy of iron that has enhanced chemical and physical properties. The most commonly found steels are alloyed with between 0.2 percent and 2.15 percent of carbon, but some steels can be found that are alloyed with other materials like tungsten, chromium, vanadium and manganese. Steel has been used since ancient times but it was produced inefficiently and expensively until the mid 19th Century, when the Bessemer process was invented. Since then, steel has been mass produced in many forms, including metal foil, plate metal and sheet metal.

Metal Foil

Metal foil is a very thin sheet of metal that has been hammered or rolled flat. Metal foils can be made from any type of metal, although the most commonly found foils are aluminum foil and gold foil. Aluminum foil typically has a thickness of .03mm, although any sheet of metal with a thickness of less than 0.2mm is considered a foil.

Sheet Metal

Sheet metal is any metal that is thicker than a foil and thinner than 6mm, the thickness of a metal plate. Sheet metal is often used for building structures that do not require durability. It is also often corrugated or diamonded for additional strength without increasing weight. Corrugation is the creasing of the metal at regular intervals to form ridges, and diamonding is the addition of diamond ridges that add structure to the metal.

Plate Metal

Plate metal is any sheet of metal with a thickness of 6mm or more. Plate metal is used in applications where durability is more important than saving weight. It is used in automobiles where durability is required to pass crash testing.

The Difference

The only difference between sheet and plate steel is the gauge (thickness) of the metal. They both have very different uses, depending on the varying durability and weight requirements for different projects.

Original Source

The Benefits of Laser Cutting

Prestige SM Director

The idea of design for manufacturing (DFM) isn’t really new. For decades, manufacturers have sought to make the manufacturing process easier and more efficient by verifying that a design can actually be manufactured early on in the development process, saving time and money, and speeding up time to market for new products while also ensuring optimum productivity.

Most DFM efforts have focused on simplicity; that is, attempting to reduce the complexity of designs to prevent complications in the manufacturing process. As a general rule, the more complex a design, the more difficult it is to manufacture — and with difficulty, comes costs. However, the development of new technologies such as laser cutting have made the manufacturing of more complex products easier. Rather than simplifying the products themselves, laser cutters have simplified the process of manufacturing products simpler, thus allowing for greater complexity in less time — and increased innovation.

The Benefits of Laser Cutting in General

In general, laser cutting does offer some substantial benefits to the manufacturing process. For starters, laser cutters can be customized to cut nearly any material of any thickness to exact specifications. It’s fast, accurate, and can be quickly and easily adjusted to meet the changing needs of the market or a specific product. It’s also a cleaner process than most cutting options, as it requires little to no secondary cleanup.

Of course, there are some drawbacks, as it does use more power than other types of cutters and does require more training to do properly, as poorly adjusted lasers can burn materials or fail to cut them cleanly. And while laser cutting does typically cost more than other types of processes, such as wet cutting, the benefits often far outweigh those costs.

In terms of design for manufacturing, laser-cutting technology can have a beneficial effect on any product. Cost and quality are two major influences on the marketability of any product, and laser cutting allows for high-quality components at a lower cost overall, therefore making it possible to offer a more affordable, better quality product. Laser cutting also allows more flexibility in the manufacturing process. A laser operates with a heat intensity that is several times hotter than the sun, making it possible to cleanly and accurately cut virtually any material, from the strongest alloy all the way down to the thinnest polymers. This flexibility contributes to design for manufacturing process, as engineers aren’t limited in the scope of materials they can use. Rather than having to choose materials based only on their cost or availability, manufacturers can choose the exact materials that are best for the job.

Laser cutting also allows for more creativity in product development processes. Lasers aren’t bound by geometry, so parts do not have to conform to the capabilities of the laser cutter. Because the laser itself never actually touches the part being cut, materials can be oriented in any fashion, which allows them to be cut in any shape or form. In many cases, the precision cuts made by the lasers require little to no post-cut processing, which also speeds up the manufacturing process.

A Few Considerations

While laser cutting is a useful tool when it comes to design for manufacturing, there are a few things that engineers need to consider.

The first is the possibility of over-engineering. Often, an engineer who understands the capabilities of a laser cutter will design parts or products with exceptionally tight tolerances. While there are times when a 5/1000th of an inch tolerance is necessary, often a 1/16th of an inch tolerance is adequate. The tighter tolerance will increase the cost and production time of a product, and potentially lead to waste.

Choosing the right materials is another consideration. Again, just because a laser can cut a material doesn’t mean that material is right for a particular project. Designing for manufacturability means ensuring that the design can actually be brought to life. Choosing the right materials can mean the difference between a design that can be manufactured and one that cannot.

Laser cutting is just one technology that is beneficial to the design for manufacturing process. However, it’s become a vitally important one, and has helped many products reach market more quickly and with less cost.

 Original Source

Growing demand drives global laser cutting machine market

Prestige SM Director

Analysts forecast the global laser cutting machine market to grow at a CAGR of close to 9% from 2016-2020.

London – Technavio’s newest research study covers the present scenario and growth prospects of the global laser cutting machine market for 2016-2020. To calculate the market size, the report considers the revenue generated from sales of laser cutting machines.

Technavio heavy industry analysts highlight the following three factors that are contributing to the growth of the global laser cutting machine market:

  • Need for automation
  • Growing demand from end-user industries
  • Increasing need to develop superior-quality products
  • Need for automation

Companies are increasingly resorting to automation as a way of meeting the anticipated quality standards that have been necessitated due to globalization.

Investments in the global process automation market are increasing and projected to touch $120 billion by 2019, a growth rate of more than 6%. The growth is specifically related to sectors such as technology, software, hardware, services, and the communication protocol used in automation.

According to Anju Ajaykumar, a lead analyst at Technavio for engineering tools, “Many companies implement process automation to enhance their productivity and increase profit margins. The use of automation in ports is a recent trend in the market. For example, the automation of Rotterdam port has resulted in effective management of the largest port in Europe. Other ports have also adopted automation with the aim of controlling their losses and regulating resources.”

Growing demand from end-user industries
Industrial outputs that had taken a hit in many countries following the global economic recession of 2008 are showing signs of a slow recovery. Industrial sectors in which automation is employed on a full scale such as medical devicesautomotiveaerospace and defense, electrical and electronics, industrial machinery, and renewable energy are showing signs of positive growth, which is reflected in the stabilized manufacturing purchasing managers’ indices (PMIs).

Growing air traffic is spurring the commercial aviation sector to higher growth. The global aerospace market is expected to reach $352.5 billion by 2023. In this industry, the commercial aerospace sector is projected to show a robust CAGR of 8% during the forecast period. The commercial aerospace sector is driven by factors such as increasing aircraft size, high replacement rate, technological advances, and growing number of high net worth individuals (HNI).

Similarly, with the global automotive industry in a better condition now than it was five years ago, this sector is being driven by the rising demand for vehicles in emerging economies such as India, Indonesia, and Brazil. But due to the economic instability in the US and more recently in China, the sector may take some more time to recover its profit margins to pre-crisis levels. It is expected that profit margins will grow by almost 50% by the end of the forecast period.

Increasing need to develop superior-quality products
The manufacturing scenario is different from what it used to be even a decade ago. With advances in technology and innovation, it is possible to produce parts quickly, efficiently, and at lower costs. “One such advanced technology is laser cutting that uses advanced equipment and machines to produce parts at record speeds in industrial manufacturing while simultaneously saving on costs,” says Anju.

Despite the deployment of several high-quality machining centers and other such machines, the use of the right cutting tools for machining components is a prime factor that determines the quality of the products manufactured.

With the use of laser cutting, it is possible to cut a variety of materials including metallic, non-metallic, and synthetic materials of varying thickness. During the process, a laser beam is used to cut the material precisely. Depending on the particular material, lasers can be produced through vaporization, thermal stress cracking, melt and blow, cold cutting, or other methods. It is also possible to manipulate the laser with a multitude of reflective surfaces. Precision is the most important quality offered by the lasers. A laser cut part is more accurate, and has smoother edges. Since there is less operator involvement in laser cutting, the possibilities of human error are also less. Another economic advantage of laser cutting is the less time required for the process compared to conventional cutting.

Original Source

How Is Sheet Metal Made?

Prestige SM Director

Melting

Sheet metal can be made from a variety of different metals including aluminum, steel, copper, brass, nickel, tin, sterling silver and titanium. No matter what type of metal is used, the first step is to melt the metal in a container called a crucible.

Pouring

When the metal is completely melted, it is poured out of the crucible and into a rectangular mold. The metal must be kept hot as it is poured into the mold so that it does not begin to harden outside of the mold.

Pickling

When the metal has cooled completely, it is taken out of the mold. We now have a rectangular block of metal known as an ingot. The ingot is then dipped into a mixture of chemicals to be cleaned; a process known as pickling.

Rolling

Once the ingot has been cleaned, it is put through a press. The press consists of two large rollers that thin out the metal. The press rollers are then moved closer together and the metal is run through again. Ingots may have to be run through the press several times before they reach the desired thickness.

Annealing

As the ingot is run through the press the metal will become increasingly harder. It may be necessary to anneal the metal several times throughout the rolling process. Annealing the metal consists of heating it up and then pickling it again. During the annealing process the metal is only made warm-it is not melted again.

Shipping

After the metal reaches the desired thickness, it is either shipped flat or rolled into a coil. Finished sheet metal is anywhere from .05 millimeters to 15 centimeters thick.

Original Source

Copyright 2019 Prestige Metal Products, Inc.