Useful information


- History, processes, applications and future -

Metal processing has a long history. Working with materials began with the simplest tools such as stones and hand axes.

The first metals to be machined were gold and copper. These metals were relatively soft and easy to machine. However, metalworking-machines did not exist 10,000 years ago.

The Bronze Age and the Iron Age followed the Stone Age and, as the names suggest, progress came with them.

Even the Romans used metals, among other things. also for military use, keyword weapons!

However, progress was still made by craftsmen such as shaped by forging, and not by metalworking-machines.

The development of the steam engine was the first correct step in driving machines, including also metalworking-machines. The steam engine drove several different machines via a central shaft. Drive belts connected the central shaft with the machines.

There were also simple machines before that were driven by paddle wheels through flowing water (e.g. mills, hammer mills), but that was not yet industrial production or revolution.

There are Metalworking-machines for a wide variety of metal processes. In technology, we distinguish these processes as follows:

We also follow this rough breakdown when structuring the categories for metalworking-machines on our platform.

The metalworking-machines are supplemented, among others through the sheet metal and coil process lines section. The sheet metal and coil process lines include e.g. Slitting lines and cut-to-length lines with the associated individual machines.

Furthermore, accessories and cleaning systems are added as separate categories of metalworking.

Before metalworking-machines can even get to work, iron and steel must be extracted. Iron ores are turned into pig iron in the blast furnace process.

In addition to steel, the pig iron also produces various types of cast iron, such as Gray cast iron, chilled cast iron, cast steel or malleable cast iron.

However, the pig iron also produces steel, such as Structural steel, tool steel and stainless steel. The pig iron is produced by methods such as e.g. Bessemer, Thomas or Siemens-Martin processed and refined. The finishing takes place through the addition of alloying elements and through factors such as oxygen supply and temperature. The best-known alloy elements are carbon (hardenability) or chromium (corrosion resistance).

What applies to the steel sector naturally also applies to the aluminum and copper sectors. Here, too, alloying elements create combination materials with special properties. For years, e.g. Aluminum leader in the aircraft industry. High-quality aluminum alloys ensured safe flying. Now carbon fiber materials are gradually being used in aircraft construction, and not just in gliders.

Anyone who is interested in racing knows how carbon fiber materials came about. No metal has such a good weight / stability ratio. In racing, this is synonymous with a high level of safety.

But let's get back to metalworking-machines.

The normal methods of forming metals are to pour molten metal into molds, strands or blocks. This results in workpieces that can then be machined. Strands can be rolled into wires, rods or shaped steels. One of the best known examples of bar-like structural steel is the railroad track. Blocks can be rolled into more or less thin hot plates.

At the beginning of the metalworking chain, tubes are created using processes such as cold or hot drawn tubes. Combined processes such as bending and welding can also be used for pipe production. A flat strip is gradually brought into a round shape and the resulting seam (joint) is subsequently welded. In the next step, pipes can then be bent on pipe bending machines. These bent tubes are e.g. required in a wide variety of forms in hydraulics.

A wide variety of profiles can be produced from rolled sheet metal on roll forming systems, profile bending machines or profiling machines. In turn, tubes can be produced from sheet metal on bending machines, which also have to be welded in the butt joint.

The example of pipe production clearly shows how different metalworking processes can lead to similar results.

Hot-rolled bars, wires and sheets are still relatively rough and tainted with scale. The next metalworking-machines are used to improve the surfaces. Pickling in special process lines with pickling and rinsing baths cleans the surface down to the pores and creates the prerequisite for further improvements to be achieved by cold processing of the metals.

The metal is further stretched by cold rolling, there is a decrease in thickness and as a result the surface has been improved and the material has become harder and of higher quality. These machines are also on, among others. listed in the sheet metal and coil process lines area.

As we have already seen in the example of pipe production (bending and welding), there are many different combinations in metalworking, such as pressing and welding in the pressure welding process. A separate essay could be produced on this subject.

Modern metalworking-machines are not only capable of performing pure mechanical processing. Automation continues to find its way here too. The automation spans i.a. the following important areas:

Many tooling-machines that were previously known as pure metalworking-machines are no longer used only for metalworking. Finally, plastic, carbon or wood can also be processed on tooling-machines by changing the tools and setting parameters.

In materials science, progress continues to advance, so that plastics are used today in many areas where metal was used in the past. A very good example of this are the bumpers on cars. In the past, when these were made entirely of metal, the parts of a bumper, etc. punched, drilled, deep-drawn and chrome-plated. Today, made entirely of plastic, there is almost nothing left for metalworking. Even the assembly and attachment of a bumper is now largely done with the help of plastic clips. Nowadays automobile manufacturers even do it without the rubber lips known from chrome bumpers.

Ultimately, however, there are still the molds for the plastic parts and the injection molding machines, which for the time being will not be able to do without metal. So we can be sure, that the future of metalworking-machines is secured.

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