As one of the most commonly-used materials in modern mass production, sheet metal is likely an irreplaceable part of your production process. It's cost-effective, easy to manipulate and form, and multifunctional – but one disadvantage you may notice is that it can sometimes have a low-quality or rough appearance post-production. Needless to say, this is not very desirable for the vast majority of products. Luckily, this is an easy downside to mitigate. Here are just a couple of ways you can alter your process to ensure a polished, high-quality finish on your sheet metal products.
Careful Management of Temperature
Rapid heating and cooling can cause weaknesses in your materials – but they can also cause imperfections. As such, while heating and cooling the metal is likely unavoidable as part of your process, you should ensure that these temperature changes are well-controlled and managed so that the chance of causing or enhancing imperfections is vastly reduced. If possible, you could combine steps of your process together to reduce the number of times heating and cooling is required.
Regular Tool Maintenance
It can be easy to let repairs and maintenance get away from you when you're trying to meet production goals. However, ensuring that you keep to a frequent maintenance schedule with your equipment will help to ensure that there are no imperfections in your metal – and this goes for cutting, forming and stamping equipment alike. As an added bonus, regular maintenance will prevent downtime, and likely increase your output in the long-term.
While it can be tempting to reduce the time spent on finishing processes such as grinding, polishing and washing, especially if your products are component parts that will go on to be cleaned and polished by your clients anyway – you should resist that temptation. Regard these processes as not only a part of production, but also as a kind of quality control, giving your staff a chance to spot imperfections as the pieces are washed, ground and polished. This will allow you to ensure a real high-quality product is going out to your customers every single time
While fulfilling these steps will slightly slow front-line production, they really make sense in the long-term. The difference that's made by taking this time will vastly outweigh the small number of units per hour it'll cost you – and your customers are just as likely to notice the improvement as you are.