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BASIC CHARACTERISTICS OF SHEET-METAL FORMING PROCESSES

Sheet-metal parts are usually made by forming material in a cold condition, although
many sheet-metal
parts are formed in a hot condition because the material when heated has a lower
resistance to deformation.
Strips or blanks are very often used as initial materials, and are formed on presses
using appropriate
tools. The shape of a part generally corresponds to the shape of the tool.
Sheet-metal forming processes are used for both serial and mass-production. Their
characteristics are:
high productivity, highly efficient use of material, easy servicing of machines, the
ability to employ workers
with relatively less basic skills, and other advantageous economic aspects. Parts made
from sheet metal
have many attractive qualities: good accuracy of dimension, adequate strength, light
weight, and a broad
range of possible dimensions, - from miniature parts in electronics to the large parts of
airplane structures.
CATEGORIES OF SHEET-METAL FORMING PROCESSES
All sheet-metal forming processes can be divided into two groups: cutting processes shearing, blanking,
punching, notching, piercing, and so on; and plastic deformation processes - bending,
stretch forming,
deep drawing, and various other forming processes.
The first group of processes involves cutting material by subjecting it to shear
stresses usually between
punch and die or between the blades of a shear. The punch and die may be any
shape, and the cutting contour may be open or closed.
Shearing; involves the cutting of flat material forms from sheet, plate or strip. The
process may be
classified by the type of blade or cutter used, whether straight or rotary.
Blanking; involves cutting the material to a closed contour by subjecting it to shear
stresses between
punch and die. In this process, the slug is usually the work part and the remainder is
scrap.
Punching; is the cutting operation by which various shaped holes are sheared in
blanks. In punching,
the sheared slug is discarded, and the material that surrounds the punch is the
component produced.
Parting; consists of cutting the sheet into two or more pieces, or removal of pieces of
scrap of various
shapes from deep drawn pieces. Unlike cutoff, the operation of parting results in some
scrap production.
Lancing; is an operation in which a single line cut is made partway across the work
material. No material
is removed so there is no scrap.
Shaving; is a cutting operation that improves the quality and accuracy of blanked
parts by removing

a thin strip of metal along the edges. Only about 100 microns (0.004 inches) of
material are removed by
shaving.
The second group of processes involves partial or complete plastic deformation of
the work material.
Bending; consists of uniformly straining flat sheets or strips of metal around a linear
axis. Metal on
the outside of the bend is stressed in tension beyond the elastic limit. Metal on the
inside of the bend is
compressed.
Twisting; is the process of straining flat strips of metal around a longitudinal axis.
Curling; forming a rounded, folded-back, or beaded edge on thin metal parts or strips
for the purpose
of stiffening and for providing a smooth, rounded edge.
Deep drawing; forming a flat sheet of metal blank into a cylindrical or box-shaped
part by means of
a punch that forces the blank into a die cavity. Drawing may be performed with or
without a reduction in
the thickness of the metal.
Spinning; is a process of forming work pieces from a circular blank or from a length of
tubing. All
parts produced by spinning are symmetrical about a central axis.
Stretch forming; is producing contoured parts by stretching a metal sheet, strips, or
profile over a
shaped block form.
Necking; is an operation by which the top of a cup may be made smaller than its
body.
Bulging; a process that involves placing a tubular, conical or curvilinear part in a split
female die and
Flanging; is a hole-making process that is performed on flat stock. The term
flanging in this sense
expanding it with, say, a polyurethane plug.
refers to the forming of a flange on a flat part by drawing stock out of a previously
made hole.
CHARACTERISTICS OF SHEET-METAL PARTS AND
THEIR TECHNOLOGICAL PROPERTIES
The designers of products made from sheet metal have a huge responsibility and
liability to invent the
exact design that will result in optimum production considering the complexity of the
technological factors,
the kind and number of operations, the production equipment (machines and tools)
required, the material
expenses, and the quantity and quality of material.
It is necessary to design technical components and operations so as to fulfill the
product specifications
optimally. The design of a part is adequate if it combines the most economical
production with the
most satisfactory quality.

To arrive at the best and most economical product, the following parameters must be
observed: a
process resulting in minimum production of scrap, using standard equipment and
machines wherever possible,
the minimum possible number of operations, and relatively lower-skilled workers.
Generally speaking,
the most important of this factors is cost. That is, the most efficient design should also
have the lowest
possible cost.
To ensure high quality production, avoid issues with quality control, and lower the cost
of the product,
it is necessary to abide by some basic recommendations such as: using a minimal
drawing radius, a
minimal bending radius, and minimal dimensions of punch holes depending on the
material thickness. The
method used to dimension a drawing is also very important and has a great influence
on the quality and
price of a part.

SHEET METAL OPERATION


In todays practical and cost conscious world, sheet metal parts have already replaced
many
expensive cast, forged and machined products. The reason is obviously the relative
cheapness of stamped,
mass produced parts as well as greater control of their technical and aesthetic
parameters. That the world
slowly turned away from heavy, ornate and complicated shapes and replaced them
with functional, simple
and logical forms only enhanced this tendency towards sheet metal products. The
common sheet metal
forming products are metal desks, file cabinets, appliances, car bodies, aircraft
fuselages, mechanical toys
and beverage cans. Sheet forming dates back to 5000 B.C., when household utensils
and jewelry were
made by hammering and stamping gold, silver and copper. Due to its low cost and
generally good strength
and formability characteristics, low carbon steel is the most commonly used sheet
metal. For aircraft and
aerospace applications, the common sheet materials are aluminium and titanium.
In sheet metalworking operations, the cross-section of workpiece does not change
the material is only
subjected to shape changes. The ratio crosssection area/volume is very high. Sheet
metalworking operations are performed on thin (less than 6 mm) sheets, strips or coils
of metal by means of a set of tools called punch and die on machine tools called
stamping presses. They are always performed as cold working operations.
Sheet Metal Characteristics

In sheet metal forming operations certain characteristics of sheet metal play very
important role in
getting good quality desirable products.
Elongation: Because the material is usually being stretched in sheet forming, high
uniform
elongation is desirable for good formability. The true strain at which necking begins is
numerically equal to the strain-hardening exponent n*, thus a high value of n
indicates large
uniform elongation. Necking may be localized or it may be diffuse, depending on the
strain rate
sensitivity m** of the material. The higher the value of m, the more diffuse the neck
becomes;
diffuseness is desirable in sheet metal operations. In addition to uniform elongation
and necking,
the total elongation of the specimen is also a significant factor in the formability of
sheet metals.
Obviously, the total elongation of the material increases with increasing values of both
n and m.
Yield Point Elongation: Low carbon steels exhibit a behaviour called yield point
elongation, one
having upper and lower yield points. This behaviour indicates that, after the material
yields the
sheet stretches farther in certain regions without any increase in the lower yield point,
while other
regions in the sheet have not yet yielded. Aluminium magnesium alloys also exhibit
this
behaviour. This behaviour produces Lueders bands (stretcher strain marks or worms)
on the
sheet. They are elongated depressions on the surface of the sheet, can be found on
the bottom of
the cans used for common household products. They may be objectionable in the final
product,
because coarseness in the surface degrades appearance and causes difficulties in
subsequent
coating and painting operations. The usual method of avoiding these marks is to
eliminate or to
reduce yield point elongation, by reducing the thickness of the sheet 0.5 to 1.5 % by
cold rolling
(temper or skin rolling). Because of strain aging however the yield point elongation
reappears after
a few days at room temperature or after a few hours at higher temperatures.
Anisotropy: An important factor that influences sheet metal forming is anisotropy
(directionality)
of the sheet. There are two types of anisotropy: crystallographic anisotropy (preferred
orientation
of the grains) and mechanical fibering (alignment of impurities, inclusions, and voids
through out
the thickness of the sheet).

Grain size: The coarser the grain, the rougher is the surface appearance. An ASTM
grain size of 7
or finer is preferred for general sheet metal forming operations.
Residual stresses: This is caused by non uniform deformation during forming. It
causes part
distortion when sectioned and can lead to stress corrosion cracking. This is reduced or
eliminated
by stress relieving operations.
Springback: This is caused by elastic recovery of the plastically deformed sheet
after unloading.
Due to this distortion of part and loss of dimensional accuracy happened. It can be
controlled by
techniques such as overbending and bottoming of the punch.
Wrinkling: This happened due to circumferential compressive stresses in the plane
of the sheet
and is controlled by proper tool and die design.
Quality of sheared edges: The edges can be rough, not square, and may contain
cracks, residual
stresses, and a work hardened layer all of which are detrimental to the formability of
the sheet.
The quality can be improved by control of clearance, tool and die design, fine
blanking, shaving,
and lubrication.
Surface condition of sheet: It depends on rolling practices. This is important in
sheet forming as
it can cause tearing and poor surface quality.
Types of Press Working Operations
All sheet metal operations can be grouped into two categories: cutting operations and
forming operations.
Blanking: It is the operation of cutting a flat shape from sheet metal. The article
punched out is
called the blank and is the required product of the operation. The hole and the
material left behind
are discarded as waste. It is usually the first step of series of operations.
Punching or Piercing: It is a cutting operation by which various shaped holes are
made in sheet
metal. Punching is similar to blanking except that in punching the hole is the desired
product, the
material punched out to form the hole being waste.
Notching: This is cutting operation by which metal pieces are cut from the edge of
a sheet, strip or
blank.
Perforating: This is a process by which multiple holes which are very small and
close together are
cut in flat workpiece material.
Trimming: This operation consists of cutting unwanted excess material from the
periphery of a
previously formed product.

Shaving: The edges of a blanked part are generally rough, uneven and unsquare.
Accurate
dimensions of the part are obtained by removing a thin strip of metal along the edges.
Slitting: It refers to the operation of making incomplete holes in a workpiece.
Lancing: This is a cutting operation in which a hole is partially cut and then one side
is bent down
to form a sort of tab. Since no metal is actually removed, there will be no scrap.
Nibbling: This operation is generally substituted for blanking in case of small
quantities of
components having complex shapes. The part is usually moved and guided by hand as
the
continuously operating punch cuts away at the edge of the desired contour.
Bending: In this forming operation sheet metal is uniformly strained around a linear
axis which
lies in the neutral plane and perpendicular to the length wise direction of the sheet.
Drawing: This is a process of forming a flat workpiece into a hollow shape by means
of punch
which causes the blank to flow into a die cavity.
Squeezing: Under this operation the metal is caused to flow to all portions of a die
cavity under
the action of compressive forces.
Coining: It is a forming operation in which a slug is deformed such that the two
sides of the slug
are having two different impressions.
Embossing: It is also a forming operation in which a sheet is deformed such that an
emboss is
formed on one side and a corresponding depression on the other side.

Stresses caused in the metal by the


applied forces

Name of the processes

Shearing

Blanking, piercing, trimming, notching, shearing

Tension and compression

Drawing, redrawing, spinning

Bending(tension and compression)

Forming

Tension

Stretching

Compression

Coining, sizing

Table-I: Sheet metal processes

Principle of Shearing Action


In the fabrication of a sheet metal part a suitable intermediate flat shape or blank is
first cut from a
strip of sheet metal. Shearing operations are conventionally subdivided into (1)
shearing, which employs
general purpose shearing machines and usually cuts along a straight line, and (2) the
die shearing processes, which employs punches and dies of various shapes. The metal
is brought to the plastic stage by pressing the sheet between two shearing blades so
that fracture is initiated at the cutting points. The fracture on either side of the sheet
further progressing towards each other with downward movement of the upper shear,
finally result in the separation of the slug from the parent strip. The metal under the
upper shear is subjected to both compressive and tensile stresses. In an ideal shearing
operation, the upper shear pushes the metal to a depth equal to about one third of its
thickness. Because of pushing of the material into the lower shear, the area of cross
section of the metal between the cutting edge of the shears decreases and causes the
initiation of the fracture. This portion of the metal which is forced into the lower shear
is highly burnished and would appear as a bright band around the blank lower portion.
The fractures which are initiated at both the cutting points would progress further with
the movement of upper shear and if the clearance is sufficient, would meet, thus
completing the shearing action.

Figure : Shearing operation

Figure

Stresses in shearing

Figure

Material being sheared

The appearance of the


cut edge of the blank is
shown schematically in
figure 2.4.7. When the
plastic deformation
starts, the material
flows beneath the upper
shear and would appear
as an edge radius as
shown at A in the stock.
Similar flow of metal at
the lower shear would
result in the edge radius
B in the slug. The metal
pushed in by the upper shear
before the separation would
burnish the metal and result in the
cut band as shown in C in the stock by the upper shear and D in the slug by the lower
shear.
Figure 2.4.7: Characteristics of cut in
shearing
Clearance
The die opening must be sufficiently larger than the punch to permit a clean fracture
of the metal.
This difference in dimensions between the mating members of a die set is called
Clearance .When correct
clearances are used, a clean break would appear as a result of the extension of the
upper and lower fractures towards each other. With an insufficient clearance additional
cut bands would appear before the final separation. Ductile materials require smaller
clearances (Otherwise soft material will be drawn into the gap) and longer penetration
of the punch compared to harder materials. If the clearance is more than the optimum
value, then
Penetration is more;
Work done is more;
Burr forms.
If the clearance is less than the optimum value, then
Peak load is more;
Penetration is slightly more;
Work done is more;
The edge of the product is not smooth.

Figure

Improper clearance

Reduction in die clearance reduces the burr, but hastens the blunting of the cutting
edges of dies and
punches. This results in frequent re sharpening of press tools and decreases the tool
life and the number of
components the tool can produce. Generally, a press tool produces thousands of
components per shift. It is
uneconomical and impracticable to deburr the millions of components usually
produced in mass production runs. So many industries sacrifice tool life to reduce the
inconvenient burr on the sheared components. If the shear cutting edges become dull,
the shearing force will be spread over a larger area so that more plastic deformation is
caused in the metal before the stress reaches the rupture point. Then, even more
clearance is necessary, and more energy is required. Sheared edges of workpiece may
be work-hardened to such an extent that cracking may occur in subsequent working
operations. The use of sharp cutting edges and annealing after the shearing will help
to prevent possible cracking of sheared edges.
The clearance is applied in the following manner:
1. when the hole has to be held to size, i.e., the hole in the sheet metal is to be
accurate ( punching
operation) , and slug is to discarded, the punch is made to the size of hole and the die
opening size
is obtained by adding clearance to the punch size.
2. In blanking operation, where the slug or blank is the desired part and has to be held
to size, the die
opening size equals the blank size and the punch size is obtained by subtracting the
clearance from
the die opening size.
The clearance is a function of type, thickness and temper of work material, harder
materials requiring larger clearance than soft materials, the exception being
aluminium. The usual clearance per side of the die, for various materials is given in
terms of stock thickness.
The clearance may also be determined with the help of following relation:

C = 0.0032 t s mm
Where s shear strength of the work piece material in N / mm2 .

Figure

Clearance in punching and blanking operations

Figure 2.4.10: Effect of clearance on shearing load and edge characteristics

Fig

Section through blanking die

A section through blanking die is given in figure


, showing clearance, land, straight
and angular
clearance.
Land: It is the flat usually horizontal surface contiguous to the cutting of a die which is
ground and
reground to keep the cutting edges of the punch sharp.
Straight: It is the surface of a cutting die between its cutting edge and the beginning
of the angular
clearance. This straight portion gives strength to the cutting edge of the die and also
provides for
sharpening of the die. This straight portion is usually kept at about 3 mm for all
materials less than 2 m
thick. For thicker materials, it is taken to be equal to the metal sheet thickness.
Angular clearance: This is provided to enable the slug to clear the die. It is placed
below the straight
portion of the die surface. Its value usually varies from 0.25 to 1.5 0 per side but
occasionally as high as 20,
depending mainly on stock thickness and frequency of sharpening.
Punch and die clearance after considering the elastic recovery of the
material: Due to springback
effect after the release of blanking pressure, the blank expands slightly. The blanked
part is thus actually
larger than the die opening that has produced it. Similarly in punching operation after
the strip is stripped
off the punch, the material recovers and the hole contracts. Thus the hole is smaller
than the punch which
produced it. This difference in size due to elastic recovery of material depends on
blank size, sheet

thickness and sheet material. Up to sheet thickness of o.25 mm, this can be taken as
zero. For sheet
thickness from 0.25 to 0.75 mm, it may be taken as 0.025 mm while for sheet
thickness more than 0.75
mm, it may be taken as 0.050 mm.
Cutting Forces
In cutting operation as the punch in its downward movement enters the material, it
need not
penetrate the thickness of the stock in order to affect complete rupture of the part.
The distance which the
punch enters into the work material to cause rupture to take place is called
penetration and is usually given
as the percentage of the stock thickness. When a hard and strong material is being
cut, very little
penetration of the punch is necessary to cause fracture. The percentage penetration
also depends on the
sheet thickness, being smaller for thicker sheets and greater for thinner sheets.

Stock
thickness
,
mm

25

20

15

12.

10

2.5

1.6

Below
1.6

Penetrati
on
% of
thickness

25

31

34

37

44

47

50

56

62

67

70

80

Table-II: Penetration

The forces developed in shearing operation can be represented by a triangle as


depicted in figure
The vertical shearing force is represented by V while the
horizontal or lateral force is designated as H. the
resultant force is represented by R.

Figure Forces in shearing operation


Vertical Force: The value of the vertical component V depends on the shear strength
of the material to be
cut and the area to be sheared. Shear area is the product of the length of the cut and
the sheet thickness.
Shear cut area, S = Cut length {C} x Sheet thickness { T} and
Shear force, V = S x s
Where V is in N and s is shear strength of sheet metal in N / mm2 .
Horizontal Force: The value of horizontal or lateral force H depends on the die
clearance: the gap between
the die and the punch cutting edges. Let us draw a triangle with workpiece thickness
as vertical side,
clearance as a horizontal, and the third as a diagonal. This triangle is similar to the
triangle representing the
vertical and horizontal forces in shearing. Consequently the horizontal force can be
stated in terms of
vertical force percentage. This percentage is the same as die clearance percentage
per side.
Energy in press work
Energy in press work or the work done to make a cut is given as
Energy = Maximum Vertical Force x Punch Travel
E = Vmaximum x K x t x C
Where K represents percentage penetration, t is sheet thickness and C accounts for
extra energy required to overcome losses like machine friction etc. (C depends on the
circumstances in each case and is 1.16 for
general purpose).
SHEARING OPERATIONS
l. Blanking: It is a metal fabricating process, during which a metal workpiece is
removed
from the primary metal strip or sheet when it is punched. The material that is removed
is the
new metal work piece or blank. Fig. 4.30 provides a two-dimensional look at a typical
blanking
process. Note that the primary metal workpiece is the scrap and the punched part is
the

desired new metal workpiece.

Fig
Blanking
2. Piercing: It is the general term for cutting (shearing or punching) openings, such
as holes and
slots, in sheet material, plate, or parts. This operation is similar to blanking; the
difference is that
the slug or piece produced by piercing is scrap, while the blank produced by blanking
is the
useful part. The punch diameter determines the size of the hole created in the
workpiece.
Fig.
provides a two-dimensional look at piercing process: Note how the workpiece
remains
and the punched part falls out as scrap as the punch enters the die. The scrap drops
through the
die and is normally collected for recycling.

Fig. : Piercing
3. Slitting: It is also a shearing process, but rather than making cuts at the end of a
workpiece

like shearing, slitting is used to cut a wide coil of metal into a number of narrower coils
as the
main coil is moved through the slitter. During the slitting process, the metal coil
passes
lengthwise through the slitters circular blades. Fig. 4.32 provides a two-dimensional
look at
a typical coil slitting process. Note, how the metal workpiece is drawn past the upper
and
lower slitting blades, leaving two coils of the same length as the original wide coil.

Fig.

Slitting

4. Notching: It is a shearing process during which a metal scrap piece is removed


from the
outside edge of a metal workpiece. Notching is typically a manually operated, lowproduction
process. During a notching operation, the metal workpiece has an outside edge
removed
by the use of multiple shear blades that are set at right angles to each other.
Fig. 4.33 provides a two-dimensional look at a typical notching process. Note, how the
tool
removes the notched part.

Fig. Notching
As mentioned above, the notching process removes material from only the outside
edges of
the workpiece. Fig. 4.34 shows how a metal workpiece may look after the notching
process is
employed and has removed material from the outside edges.
FORMING OPERATIONS'
CURLING
Curling is forming an edge of Circular cross section along a sheet or at the end of a
shell or tube. Curling dies are used to form circular edges. The curling operation using
a curling die is explained under the curling die in this chapter (Figure 4-3).
WIRING
It is forming a curled edge on a component with a wire or rod inserted within the
curled edge (Figure 4-3). Curling and wiring remove the sharp edges and increase the
strength of the edges in the components.
FLANGING
This is a process of folding the edge of a component by 90 degrees to increase the
Strength
STRETCH FORMING
Stretch-forming is the process of forming sheet metal by the application of primarily
tensile forces in such a way as to stretch the material over a tool or form block.
In stretch forming a tensile load is applied to the work piece so that elastic limit is
exceeded and plastic deformation takes place. Stretch forming equipment consists of
a hydraulically driven vertical ram which carries the punch or form block and jaws for
gripping the ends of the sheet. No female die is used in stretch forming. The grips may
be pivoted or fixed depending upon the work requirement (Figure 4-30).

Fig. 4-30. Stretch Forming


Stretch forming is used most extensively in the aircraft industry to produce parts of
large radius of curvature, frequently with double curvature. It is used in coach-building
industry also. Although it is applied mainly to the heat-treatable alloys of aluminium,
any ductile metal can be stretch formed. Stainless steel. titanium and magnesium
alloys are also stretch formed.
Advantages
1) Spring back is largely eliminated, because the stress gradient is relatively uniform.
2) It produces high quality works for aircraft, coach and ship industries.
Disadvantages
1) Tearing may occur at the location of the maximum stretch.
2) Wrinkles may be formed in large sheets due to buckling.