Most Common Sheet Metal Defects and How to Solve Them

Blog | September 24th, 2018

Like any other technically demanding environment, sheet metal productivity suffers from an occasional hiccup or two. There are numerous quality-assurance standards for managing the equipment and their raw materials, but errors crop up from time-to-time. Look at those mistakes as an opportunity to learn, to improve the process and make the line more efficient. Having incorporated that glass-half-full mindset, let’s identify some common sheet metal defects.

Sheet Metal Splits 

A series of wrinkles is growing and propagating. The layers of metal are being pushed past their workability limits, to the point the sheet metal is beginning to thin. Stretching and thinning, the flat layer tears along the weakest area. Known as “necking,” this phenomena is common, so it can be addressed quickly and resolved before the entire production run is jeopardized. Forming simulation software is often used to analyze this common sheet deformation error. Alternatively, examine the form radius and depth settings, material type and thickness, applied heat treatment techniques, and ensure a forming limit diagram is incorporated into the design phase of the process.

Eliminating Wrinkling Issues 

Sheet metal processing is a two-dimensional metal shaping method. The sheets are bent and curved, and they’re fastened or cut, but they still consist of geometrically level segments. Wrinkles destroy that consistently shaped material profile. They occur when the compressive strain conditions applied by the processing equipment push the metal sheet in upon itself, as it were. This linear force crushes inwards until the sheet is compelled to wrinkle and crease. By stretching or drawing the sheets, instead of forming them, the defect is nullified. As an additional tip, remember to employ draw beads, pads, and draw binders when the sheet exhibits a complex geometrical profile.

High-Strength Material Springback 

In this defect example, the desired shape isn’t being accommodated because the bend radius is falling below the set value, as imposed by the bending equipment. An overbend or overcompensation adjustment corrects this particular issue. If that action doesn’t bring the elastic deformation error under control, positive stretching, a stage that increases part stiffness, will correct the bend angle miscalculation. The problem exists in the high-strength material’s stress-to-strain curve.

All of these solutions yield superior results. However, they require finite adjustments, so waste workpieces are unavoidable. If wastage is an unallowable notion, and it often is in a tightly run engineering environment, then the mastery of a top-flight piece of fabrication simulation software is desirable. By inputting the material type, thickness, and other material parameters, the production managers can simulate different bends and compressive forces without ever wasting a single sheet metal section.

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