Metal sheets come in all different shapes and thicknesses for a vast range of applications. Yet each sheet needs to have a consistent, accurate shape to ensure that it reliably goes through the diverse downstream production steps. This means that the sheets need to be suitable for trouble-free, reproducible and efficient fabrication. That is why leveling plays such a crucial role. Read this article and find out why and how leveling enhances the quality of your sheets and parts.
Finding the right tension (stress).
Each sheet has its own internal stress. This affects the quality and the reliability of the subsequent fabrication process. However, these stresses are often difficult to measure. In many cases, they reveal themselves through unevenness or deformations of the sheet. Although, they are often invisible and only become apparent during welding, milling or bending. It is also difficult to define just how much residual stress is permissible after leveling without impairing the subsequent fabrication processes.
It is therefore not easy for some decision-makers to quantify the actual benefit of leveling sheets. Nevertheless, the lower the internal stress of the sheets, the more problem-free and efficient the fabrication. When welders are asked if they notice the difference of using leveled sheets: it drastically reduces the assembly times while also remaining flat. In addition, the dimensions of the assembly are more accurate and there is no need for reworking. These results are up to par with the quality assurance, production planners and ultimately, the decision makers when they calculate the benefits in terms of the concrete savings of the process.
In addition to the sheets’ own internal stress, the fabrication process itself also causes stresses and uneven areas. Thermal processing such as laser or plasma cutting results in significant heat buildup along the cutting-edge. This, in turn, creates a massive temperature gradient resulting in internal stresses. At the same time, this also hardens the edges. The result: the parts deform, which prevents effective downstream processing. Leveling the parts is the only solution.
Deformed and uneven sheets cause extensive rework, increase the amount of rejected pieces and also have a negative impact on the efficiency of fabrication process. It is neither economical nor beneficial for customer satisfaction and competitiveness. Leveling prevents precisely these problems. It serves to significantly reduce the unevenness of the materials. In this context, roller leveling has proven its effectiveness. It is especially suitable for quick and easy sheet and part metal leveling as the system reduces both the unevenness and also the stress in the sheets through a process of alternating bends.
It is essential that the leveler used has the necessary features to achieve the best possible results. These include the block design of the leveler, the correct roller layout and support along with the number and diameter of the leveling rollers. One rule applies: the smaller the diameter of the rollers, the more rollers the machine needs to have. Small rollers and small spacing between the rollers is extremely important to meet demanding very tight flatness requirements. In addition, the leveling rollers themselves require very good support to ensure that the sheet is continuously leveled and cannot slip between the individual rollers and buckle. It is essential to consider the number of leveling rollers if your aim is to produce the highest quality parts.
Safeguarding consistent quality standards through leveling.
What is one of the major KO criteria for a company? Poor or inconsistent quality. Especially in the sheet metal fabrication industry, the quality of the products determines the company’s success and prospects for the future. Because who wants to receive a delivery of sheet metal parts where the quality of each piece is a gamble? That is exactly why leveling should be an integral part of your production.
At the same time, your company can also gain massive benefits from automated leveling. Through standardized and automated processes, roller leveling guarantees consistently high quality and calculable results. Machine leveling is also far faster than manual alternatives and can handle multiple parts simultaneously.
Foregoing leveling is a risky decision.
Leveling parts with a roller leveler offers decisive advantages. Your customers know this as well. They typically utilize standardized processes when working with the pieces in their production. As a result, they rely on the problem-free fabrication of the metal sheets.
Non-leveled sheets can cause angularity errors during downstream processes such as edging and bending. These increase the amount of rework and rejects. Preparing unleveled material for welding is also very time consuming. When using welding robots, such materials also have a negative impact on the process reliability and increase in welding times. This results in higher process costs as well as increased thermal stress on the material. This thermal load releases stresses in the material, resulting in deformation. Rectifying this requires rework and longer lead times in the production and is highly detrimental to the efficiency of the processes.
Perfect metal sheets mean satisfied customers.
Every customer is different and has different requirements. That is why it is so important to ensure optimum processes without any quality compromises. You can achieve this by leveling your metal sheets; this eliminates stress and flatness defects while it also reduces a number of problems during downstream processing. High-quality levelers help you to achieve rapid and good quality leveling results with reliability. They automatically calculate the correct configuration so that the operator only needs to make minor corrections at the most. Machines are now also capable of testing the flatness, which enables automated leveling for numerous applications. Perfect flatness is essential, this is especially no problem at all if you level your sheets and parts.