The metal- mechanic industry is of great importance for all economic activities , since it is the one in charge of distributing the products to the other links of the different productive chains . This can be done through machinery, tools and parts, such as those of automobiles.
What is metalworking?
The definition of metalworking is broad and includes industrial machines and tools that serve to provide parts to other industries. The most important raw material for the metalworking sector is metal and iron alloys , which are used to create productive capital goods . From the foregoing, it can be deduced that it is the metalworking industry that is in charge of supplying tools and supplies for carrying out other economic activities.
Metalworking is the starting point for the other activities . Here we find, for example, that it is responsible for supplying the automotive , aerospace , food , manufacturing, construction, mining or agriculture industries, among others. The objective of this discipline is to transform the raw material (metals) to obtain parts such as sheets, plates, etc.; which, when transformed, will serve as spare parts or parts for other products such as automobiles.
This sector is characterized by the great complexity of the production processes that require great precision in order to be executed properly. In addition, it is made up of a series of expert professionals in the different machine tools that make up this industry ; thus we find turners, millers, rectifiers, toolmakers, foundrymen, welders, CNC operators, etc.
The metalworking industry can comprise two disciplines:
- Metallurgy , which is a technique through which metals are obtained and treated from metallic ores.
- Iron and steel industry , which is, in turn, a branch of metallurgy, and in which the technologies of iron, its production and carbon alloys are studied.
Metalworking industry machines
It is important to highlight that the work of the raw material that is done in metalworking is called machining . In the industry there are three different types:
- With chip removal or small sheets.
- No chip removal, which implies the shaping or deformation of the pieces.
- By abrasion or wear of the surface of the machined parts.
Undoubtedly, the main component of the metalworking industry are the machine tools that participate in the production processes through which the raw material is worked and shaped. Each machine is capable of carrying out different processes , in greater or lesser time and using specific cutting tools . Furthermore, each of these machine tools machine parts in different ways, the most common being chip removal.
The lathe is one of the most important machine tools in the metalworking industry and, in fact, it is considered to be the first machine tool to be invented, dating back to 850 BC. C. The lathe is a set of tools that allow machining, through different processes, a piece of geometric shape by revolution .
In this machine, the workpiece is clamped to a chuck and rotates, while one or more cutting tools approach the surface of the workpiece in a forward motion to cut the chip. Lathes are capable of performing different machining operations; here we find that they can turn , drill, groove, rough and cut different pieces.
Along with the lathe, the milling machine is another of the essential machines in the metalworking industry . This machine uses a rotating cutting tool, called a milling cutter . The milling machine, like the lathe, machines parts by chip removal and is capable of performing multiple machining operations such as drilling . In milling machines, the part is the one that approaches the cutting tool thanks to the movement of the machine slides or the movement of the table (in vertical milling machines ).
Although milling machines and lathes are capable of drilling, there is a specific machine tool that is used to make holes in parts. It is a widely used piece of equipment in workshops and it is possible to find it in different forms, from desktop drills to complex machines that allow the machining of large parts. Like the two previous machines, the drill also produces chip removal.
The press is used for machining metal sheets or plates through forming and deformation processes ; this is one of the machine tools that work without chip removal.
It is a machine tool that causes the wear of the surface of a part, previously machined, thanks to abrasion. This is achieved using a grinding wheel .
Metalworking industry deformation processes
In addition to machine tools , the metalworking industry includes different processes through which raw materials can be shaped . Here we find:
- Foundry . It is a process in which a material is melted and the resulting liquid is introduced into a mold , where the metal solidifies.
- Forge . It is a work of deformation that can be done hot or cold and in which the material is deformed through compression forces.
- Laminated . It is a complementary process of the steel industry in which raw molten steel is rolled; rolling is done in order to convert that steel into different commercial profiles .