When processing sheet metal parts and blanks, absolute flatness is essential. This also applies to plates and larger sheets. If the material is out of flat, it will negatively affect your downstream processes. The amount of rework and rejects can increase and therefore lowering your overall manufacturing efficiency and cost. In order to forgo an efficiency drop, these materials need to be leveled in order to reduce the internal stresses and flatness defects. Working with a roller leveler is the ideal solution to carry out this process as quickly and effectively as possible. In this article, you will learn a simple overview of what to look out for when it comes to leveling your materials.
The question we hear a lot is: “Can this material be leveled?” It is possible to level all metals with an ultimate elongation of at least five percent and a distinct yield strength. The usual rule of thumb we go by is if you can bend something, it can be leveled. Meaning that if it’s malleable enough to be bent without breaking, it can be leveled. Some items which can't be leveled with our levelers includes; tubes, pipes, anything that is 3 dimensional or already formed. Although the ultimate answer still comes down to varying factors of the materials you are trying to level. These factors include:
- Material type
- Yield strength
Taking these factors into account, it is important to analyze your material before attempting to level. One thing that is very important to keep in mind, that once the material reaches a certain hardness, it tends to break during the leveling process. This is due to the malleability of the material not being high enough to undergo the alternating bending process of a leveler. Therefore we recommend processing heat treated materials when they are not fully cooled down (fully hardened). The other way that could help with leveling heat treated materials, is to level them prior to the actual heat treating process. Allowing for less of a flatness deflection during the heat treating process itself.
How to level your materials
After you had examined your materials based on the factors listed above, it’s time to talk about the actual leveling process itself. The main indicator to determine which leveler is right for you, depends on the material thickness. General rule for configuring a leveler is that the gap between the last two rollers (outlet setting) is right at material thickness. Whereas the gap between the first and second rollers (inlet roller) is roughly half of the material thickness. This strong initial bend allows for not only achieving flatness but to reduce the stresses inside the materials as well. These hidden stresses can cause difficulties during downstream processing such as not remaining flat during welding. Causing poor weld quality which can lead to rejects and costly rework down the line.
Once you have identified the ideal leveler on our website, there are a few key takeaways when it comes to ensuring the lever and the material is setup correctly:
- Ensure the material is free of any slag, burr or raised points
- Material needs to be leveled bow up for best results
- If flatness defects remain after the first pass, rotate the part by 90 degrees and run it again or readjust the settings
Following all the rules above and utilizing one of our levelers, unmatched flatness and stress relieve can be achieved in just a single pass in most cases.
Still got more questions?
If you are still unsure if your materials can be leveled? Then please contact us anytime, we would love to analyze your materials for you to see what is possible. We even offer comprehensive leveling tests to ensure our levelers can meet your flatness requirements. In the meantime, feel free to check out our section on our website which has a lot of commonly asked questions answered.
Common Q&A’s about leveling