Metal processing is a series of techniques for processing metals from “raw materials” to “products”.
Metal processing is applied to all familiar metal products around us, such as automobile parts, home appliances, and electronic devices.
In recent years, with the evolution of industrial products, metal products are required to be smaller and more precise.
A variety of metal processing technologies are being developed to meet low prices and short delivery times that are comparable to emerging countries.
In this article, we will introduce the types of “metal processing” and examples of processing in the automobile industry, through the flow of how lumps of metal such as iron ore become industrial products.
Classification of metalworking
Metal processing methods can be roughly divided into:
1: Removal processing
2: non-removal processing
3: addition processing “.
Various methods can be used depending on the material of the material to be processed, the desired accuracy, and the production volume.
Classification of metal processing
|1. Removal processing||Metal is scraped off with a knife or electric energy.|
|2. Non-removal processing||Casting: Metal is melted and hardened|
|Metallurgy: Compressing and hardening metals|
|Plastic processing: Applying force to metal to deform it|
|3. Additional processing||Add metal using a 3D metal printer|
Types of metalworking! From metal to product
- Making metal materials from metal “raw materials”
- Making finished products from metal “materials”
Making metal materials from metal
The photo is of an aluminum ingot
Metal raw materials such as iron ore and aluminum are melted at high temperatures to cast metal materials called ingots. Ingots, also called ingots, are lumps of metal that form the basis of all metal products.
Depending on the casting method, high-precision castings can be obtained and used as-is as final products.
Some small machine parts are made using powder metallurgy.
What is casting?
Casting is a metal processing method in which smelted metal raw materials are melted with heat, poured into a mold, and cooled to harden.
This is the oldest technique that has been practiced since around 4000 BC, and it is possible to integrally mold parts with complex shapes.
What is powder metallurgy?
Powder metallurgy is a metal processing method in which raw material metal powder is put into a mold, compressed with a press machine, and hardened.
Metals made by powder metallurgy have high strength and are used as materials for final products and cutting tools.
It is widely used in the processing of machine parts that use high-melting materials such as tungsten and molybdenum, as well as ceramic products.
Making metal materials from metal materials
Metal materials called billets are made from metal materials.
Billets are rolled in the casting process and classified according to shape into billets for bars, blooms for shaped steel, and slabs for plates.
Billets are further processed into semi-finished products called bars, wires, plates, shapes, and pipes through “plastic processing “, which are used as materials for automobile parts and machine parts.
What is plastic working?
Plastic working is a metalworking method that deforms metal by applying a large force using a press machine.
Metals are processed using the plasticity of metals (the property of not returning to their original shape once deformed by a certain amount of force).
Making finished products from metal
Metal materials are called “workpieces” and are processed by various machines to complete products.
Mainly metal processing such as plastic processing, removal processing, and additional processing, and heat treatment such as quenching is performed.
What is removal processing?
Removal machining is a metal processing method in which unwanted parts of the metal are removed with a machine tool.
After going through the machining and deburring process, the final product is completed.
CNC machining is one of the typical removal processing, there are various CNC machining methods such as milling, turning, grinding, and polishing and highly accurate and complex processing is possible.
What is additional processing?
Additive processing is a processing technology called AM technology (Additive Manufacturing).
A representative technology is additive manufacturing using a “metal 3D printer “.
A metal 3D printer is a machine tool that bakes and solidifies metal powder with a laser and then cuts it into the desired shape.
It can be applied to repair damaged metal parts and process 3D structures that cannot be reproduced by cutting and is attracting attention as a new form of metal processing.
What is heat treatment?
Heat treatment is a method of heating and cooling metals to change their properties and give them hardness and stickiness.
At metal processing sites, various heat treatments such as “quenching ” and ” tempering ” are performed according to the purpose of processing.
History of metalworking
It is said that the history of metal processing began with the discovery of “refining technology” to remove impurities from the ore.
In the ancient Egyptian civilization of 4,000 BC, “forging” was applied to ornaments by hammering metal with a hammer, and eventually “casting” was carried out by melting the metal and pouring it into a mold to harden it.
With the industrial revolution that took place from the middle of the 18th century to the 19th century, modernization progressed rapidly through mass production such as press work.
Try metal processing! Processing example of automobile parts
Automobiles are masses of “metal processing.”
High-precision metal processing is essential to improve the dynamic performance, fuel efficiency, and environmental resistance of automobiles.
Approximately 20,000 parts are used in automobiles, and processing accuracy on the order of microns is required.
Processing of automobile parts has a strong image of mass production, but in recent years, the shift to EV engines has increased parts processing for high-mix low-volume production. The challenge is how to increase productivity and yield.
Examples of metal processing: engine and transmission parts
Engine cylinders, pistons, transmissions, steering, etc. High-precision parts are made through
plastic working and removal processing.
Example of metal processing: Shaft parts
High-precision grinding technology is required for processing shaft parts and other components that efficiently transmit power.
Examples of metal processing: tires
Pour the rubber material into the mold and shape it. High-precision cutting technology is required for the production of tire molds.
Example of metal processing: Brake parts
Molten metal is poured into a mold for casting such as brake calipers and ABS parts.
High technology is required to make parts with high strength.
Examples of metal processing: body exterior
The exterior metal of the body, called the body shell, is formed by stretching a rolled steel plate and cutting it with a press machine.
For material, a material called high-tensile material is used to thin the body and strengthen the surface.
High-tensile steel (high-strength steel) is a special type of steel that maintains strength while reducing weight.
Types of metalworking machines
Approximately 200 to 300 types of metal processing machines are used at metal processing sites.
Metal processing is performed by combining various machines according to each process.
Types of machine tools:
The types of metalworking machines are divided into medium, small, and detailed classifications, with approximately 300 types depending on the application divided into many different types.
What is an NC machine tool?
NC machine tools are processing machines for removal machining. Remove unnecessary parts of the metal and finish it to the desired shape.
It is the foundation of all manufacturing industries, including parts for automobiles and aircraft, as well as the processing of molds and electronic parts.
What is a press machine?
A press machine is a processing machine for pressing.
A metal plate is sandwiched between “molds” and a product is formed by applying strong force.
The processing speed is fast, and it is suitable for mass production of the same parts.
In this article, we introduced the types of “metal processing” and examples of processing in the automobile industry, based on the flow of how a lump of metal is turned into a metal product.
In recent years, we have not only improved our metal processing technology but also made progress in responding to the “creation of a sustainable society” that aims to preserve the global environment, such as manufacturing processes that reduce the burden on workers and the development of materials and technologies that are easy to recycle. In the future, metal processing is also expected to evolve and innovate to meet the needs of the times.