Material forming plays a crucial role in numerous industries that exist today. This is especially true with metal forming, where various components ranging from support beams to car parts and even toy pieces are made of formed metal. Because of high demand, designing and forming materials have to be done on an industrial scale without sacrificing quality.
Getting a material to the right shape requires varying degrees of precision and power depending on the size and scale of the end product, which is why machines with powerful motors and highly accurate linear stages are essential during the production process.
Fundamentals of Material Design and Forming
To understand the importance of precision motion control systems, you have to understand the major processes involved in material forming: cutting the material to the right size and applying pressure to it at key locations. Both can be done in a variety of ways, but they all require specialized machinery to make them viable for large-scale applications.
Before the material can be formed, they have to be cut down to the right size. Cutting machines use direct drive linear stages that allow cutting instruments to glide over the material’s surface, and in some cases, even change the angle of the cut.
Precision motion control makes it possible to make cuts with very little deviation from the original design. Whether it’s for cutting through metal or delicate acrylic sheets, factors such as the material’s weight, thickness, and even melting point to avoid mistakes caused by keeping the instrument in the wrong spot even for a short moment.
Mostly used in forming sheet metal or pipes, bending the material to the desired shape requires a lot of torque but still relies on precision to get the right results. Too fast and a workpiecemay have its structural integrity compromised.
Hydraulic systems are still widely used, but the increased demand for better-quality components call for better precision. For these applications, machines use a series of highly responsive servos and motors to apply enough pressure without putting too much stress on the material, making it possible to make the perfect curves.
At first glance, forging may seem like it only requires plenty of power, but this process actually requires just as much precision as other stages of material forming. The forging hammer must consistently deliver the same amount of force on the material, and the material has to be turned and flipped at the right moment.
Precision motion control systems make it possible for direct drive motion solutions to control the speed and power of the forging hammer, while actuators manipulate the material, creating quick, precise adjustments to make sure the forge hammer always hits the right spots. This overall consistency greatly eliminates errors such as malformations due to inconsistent pressure.
Other Uses of Precision Motion Control
The need for precision goes beyond the three main processes of material design and formation. Precise motion solutions are also essential in other tasks such as applying paint over the finished material or applying labels to each finished product or batch. They also play a critical role in automated stacking, when the products are ready to be stored in a warehouse or packaged and delivered.
As new technology keeps leading to the creation of different products, there will always be a demand for material design and forming. With modular components and programmable routines that can be accurate up to the smallest microns, material forming machines are ready to work on the next batch of components whether it’s for large-scale construction pieces or the next micro handheld devices.