Riveting in Sheet Metal Using CNC Technology(sheet metal welding Gustave)

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Riveting is a crucial process in sheet metal fabrication and assembly. It involves joining and fastening metal sheets and plates using rivets - tubular shaped shafts with heads. Riveting produces strong, permanent and reliable joints between sheet metal parts.
With the advent of computer numerical control (CNC) machines, riveting processes have become highly automated, efficient and precise. CNC riveting brings consistency and accuracy difficult to achieve with manual riveting. This article provides an overview of CNC riveting in sheet metal and its key advantages.
How CNC Riveting Works
A CNC riveting machine consists of a riveting tool mounted on a multi-axis CNC system. The riveting head can move along X, Y and Z axes under precise program control to align with rivet locations on the workpiece.
The riveting tool consists of a pneumatic, hydraulic or servo rivet setter that exerts force to drive the rivet shank into holes aligned through the metal sheets. The setter then upsets and deforms the rivet shank to form a head that fastens the sheets together.
The CNC machine is programmed with the riveting pattern and coordinates based on the sheet metal component design. Rivet types, sizes, pitches and sequences are all defined in the program.
Sophisticated vision systems and sensors allow the CNC riveter to precisely locate hole positions before setting each rivet. This enables high precision alignment and quality riveting even on large sheet metal assemblies.
Benefits of CNC Riveting
Here are some of the major benefits of CNC riveting in sheet metal fabrication:
- Speed and efficiency - CNC riveting is extremely fast compared to manual processes. High speeds up to several rivets per second can be achieved with automation. This results in higher fabrication productivity and throughput.
- Consistency and accuracy - Placement of rivets by CNC is highly precise and consistent. Rivets are set to exact programmed locations without deviation. This accuracy is hard to achieve manually.
- Improved joint quality - Automated riveting applies optimal force in a controlled manner. This results in uniform high quality joints that are strong and reliable. Defects are minimized.
- Flexibility - CNC programs can accommodate any rivet patterns, sizes and sequences. Changeovers are quick, maximizing flexibility for mixed products.
- Reduced labor cost - Automation drastically cuts labor requirements for repetitive riveting tasks. Skilled workers are only needed for programming, setup and changeovers.
- Ideal for large components - CNC riveting can handle large sheet metal fabrication work where manual riveting is challenging. Components such as aircraft wings can be riveted with ease.
- Scalability - CNC technology can be scaled up for mass production riveting by adding multiple rivet heads on a tool magazine.
CNC Riveting Process Steps
A typical CNC riveting process involves the following key stages:
- Sheet preparation - Sheets are cut to size and holes are punched at defined locations usually by a separate CNC punching machine.
- Sheet loading - Cut sheets are loaded on the CNC riveter work table. Fixtures or jigs are used to locate and clamp the sheets.
- Hole alignment - Vision systems align the rivet holes precisely between stacked sheets before riveting.
- Rivet feeding - Rivets of correct size and type are fed to the rivet setter head from a vibratory bowl feeder or tape reel.
- CNC riveting - The machine indexes the rivet setter to each hole location and sets the rivets per the program sequence.
- Quality inspection - Set rivets are inspected for head conformity, grip and placement accuracy.
- Unloading - The riveted assembly is unloaded from the machine table.
Using advanced servo-electric or pneumatic actuators, the entire riveting process is automated for optimal productivity. Modern CNC controllers enable easy integration of riveting sequences into the overall fabrication program.
Applications of CNC Riveting
CNC riveting is used extensively across all sheet metal fabrication industries. Some major application areas include:
- Aircraft assembly - Fuselage skins, wings and other aircraft structures are riveted using automated riveting machines.
- Automotive components - Doors, panels, frames and chassis parts are commonly riveted using CNC technology.
- Electrical enclosures - Control cabinets, relay boxes and switchgear enclosures use rivets for sheet metal joining.
- Telecom shelters - Riveting provides durable joining for sheet metal used in telecom shelters and housings.
- Building panels - Metal cladding and panels for walls, roofs and facades are riveted for robust assembly.
- Shipbuilding - Marine sheet metal fabrication for decks, bulkheads and hull plating relies extensively on CNC riveting.
- Railcars - Sheet metal used in locomotives, coaches and freight wagons are riveted together using automated processes.
- Furniture - Rivets assembled using CNC gives durable and reliable connections for furniture made from sheet metal.
The future trends for CNC riveting will include further automation using robotics, smart vision systems, increased flexibility for quick changeovers and energy efficient riveting tools. With rising labor costs and emphasis on efficiency, CNC riveting is poised to grow as a critical sheet metal fabrication process.
In summary, automated riveting using CNC machines offers speed, precision and consistency unmatched by manual processes. The technology boosts productivity, quality and flexibility for mass production sheet metal assembly across an extensive range of manufacturing industries. CNC Milling