Plate forming services cut, roll, form, and weld metal plates that are typically thicker than 3/16 in. They provide finished products by cutting, punching, bending, shaping or welding pre-fabricated metal plates. Plate forming services can serve a specific industry or manufacture products for a range of applications. For example, a plate forming and fabrication service that produces metal roofs may serve the building and construction industry. Other plate forming services may fabricate parts and components that range from aluminum cans to car panels to airplane wings. Metal forming is used to bend thin, flat pieces of sheet metal into various shapes. Although the thickness of sheet metal can vary, plate forming services generally work with plates that are thicker than 3/16 in. Thinner sheet metal is considered to be foil metal or leaf metal. Metals that can be formed into sheet metal include aluminum, copper, steel, nickel, and brass.
Plate forming services use different processes for different applications and materials. These processes include stretching, drawing, plate bending, spinning or forming, and plate rolling. The stretching process uses a plate former to stretch the sheet metal over a die or block. Generally, plate stretching is used with finished products such as automobile doors and aircraft wings. Drawing is a process that plate forming services use to press a punch into sheet metal to form cylindrical or box shapes. Aluminum cans are produced by the drawing process. Plate formers also use the drawing process to form kitchen sinks and automobile gas tanks. Plate bending uses a plate forming machine to bend the sheet metal into the shape needed for the final part. Plate forming services that provide roll forming heat the metal to make it malleable. The metal is then rolled into products such as bars, wires, and rods. Roll forming is used for longer parts and produces good surface finishes.