The Making of Quality Rivets for Industrial Applications(insert injection molding Tracy)

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Rivets are an essential fastening component used in many industrial applications, from aircraft construction to heavy machinery. While rivets may seem simple, manufacturing consistent, high-quality rivets suitable for demanding industrial uses requires precision machining and careful quality control.
In this article, we’ll look at how quality rivets are made, the importance of quality control throughout the rivet production process, and how CNC machining enables efficient, high-volume rivet manufacturing.
What Are Rivets?
A rivet is a mechanical fastener that consists of two main parts: the rivet body, which is a shaft with a head on one end, and the mandrel, which has a head on the opposite end. To apply a rivet, the mandrel is inserted into the hollow end of the rivet body. The rivet assembly is then inserted into pre-drilled holes in the materials being joined. The tail of the mandrel is then upset, or bucked, which clamps the materials together under the force applied by the upsetting of the tail. The mandrel head breaks off when the optimal force is achieved, leaving just the rivet body permanently fastening the materials.
Rivets come in many head shapes, sizes, materials, and body lengths to accommodate diverse applications. Some common rivet types include blind rivets, which can be applied on one side of a material; drive rivets, which have recessed heads; solid rivets; and structural rivets for high-strength connections.
Quality Control in Rivet Manufacturing
Industrial rivets must be exceptionally reliable, as failure could have catastrophic consequences depending on the application. A defective rivet could cause an aircraft fuselage to rip apart, heavy mining equipment to break down, or weaken critical points in cranes and bridges.
Maintaining consistent quality control throughout the rivet manufacturing process is therefore critical. Here are some of the ways quality is assured when making industrial-grade rivets:
- Raw material inspection - Aircraft-quality aluminum, steel, titanium, and other metals must meet strict standards for composition, cleanliness, and freedom from defects. Certified raw material from qualified suppliers is essential.
- Process control - Rivet making processes like CNC machining, die forging, rolling, heat treating, plating, and coating must adhere to validated procedures. Machines are routinely calibrated and maintenance schedules followed.
- Dimensional inspection - Sample rivets from each batch are measured to check that critical dimensions like head height, hole diameter, body length, and grip length meet specifications. Statistical process control tracks production quality over time.
- Mechanical testing - Rivets undergo tests like tensile testing, shear and fatigue testing, and hardness checks to confirm strength specifications are satisfied.
- Visual inspection - Trained quality technicians visually inspect samples to check for surface defects under bright lighting and magnification. Problems like cracks, voids, dents, and malformations can often be detected visually.
- Lot traceability - Each production lot receives a unique tracking number so that rivets can be traced back through the manufacturing record in case of defects.
By conducting rigorous quality assurance at each production stage, rivet manufacturers can guarantee each batch will perform as expected in mission-critical applications.
CNC Machining for Quality Rivet Manufacturing
Many industrial-grade rivets are manufactured on computer numerical control (CNC) machining centers. CNC machining is ideal for high-volume rivet production because of its speed, precision, consistency and automation capabilities.
CNC machining centers use CAD/CAM software to direct the sequential movements of the machine cutting tools. By programming the precise toolpaths and operations, rivet geometries can be machined to fine tolerances from rod stock fed into the CNC machine.
Here are some of the CNC machining processes used to make quality rivets:
- Facing - The ends of the rod stock are faced to create a smooth, flat surface reference for further operations.
- Drilling - The rivet body hole is precision-drilled through the center of the rod. A chamfer may be applied to the hole edges.
- Turning - The rod diameter is reduced to achieve the required rivet shank diameter. Turning also forms the rivet head profile.
- Grooving - A groove is cut around the shank under the rivet head to allow the head to fold during installation.
- Threading - Some rivets feature threaded studs, which are cut on the CNC lathe.
- Milling - Keyway slots, driving recesses, and other complex geometries are added using end mills.
The fast metal-removal rate of CNC machining coupled with minimal manual intervention enables rivet manufacturers to produce thousands of high quality rivets per day. G-code programs are stored and repeated to ensure consistency. Changing dimensions for different rivet types and sizes can also be accommodated through parametric programming.
With stringent quality control and advanced CNC machining, manufacturers can deliver the reliable, precision rivets demanded by industries like aviation, construction, rail, heavy vehicles, and oil and gas extraction. Though small, these components play an outsized role in keeping mission-critical equipment safely operational under demanding conditions. CNC Milling