Keeping Your Factory Employees Safe
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Keeping Your Factory Employees Safe

After dealing with a non-profitable year in business, I sat down with my accounting team to see what the problem was. The results were surprising. They explained to me that the biggest expenses that year had nothing to do with product inventory or building upgrades. Instead, they explained to me that we were losing a lot of money taking care of workplace accidents. I realized that we needed to keep our factory employees safe, so we started evaluating our manufacturing and processing procedures. We uncovered a lot of deficiencies, and we took steps to make things right. This blog is all about protecting your workers.


Keeping Your Factory Employees Safe

Getting The Correct Thickness For Your Metal Project: How Sheet Metal Fabrication Companies Accomplish This

Ellen Carlson

If you are currently working on a metal sculpture or metal project of some sort, you may be wondering how you can get the sheet metal you are working with to be thinner without putting holes in it. Depending on the type of metal it is, it is possible to "stretch" and flatten the metal with which you are working. Here is how sheet metal fabrication plants do it, and if you can assemble a heat source and roller system, you might be able to do the same thing for your metal sheet(s) as well.

Making the Sheet Metal Thinner

There are two ways that a sheet metal manufacturer makes sheet metal thinner. One of these methods includes starting with thicker sheets and then using lasers to uniformly cut the metal into several thinner sheets. If the sheets need to be thinner still, then the second method is used.

It works something like this:

  • The metal sheet is heated to a specific temperature pertinent to the composition of the sheet itself. (If you do not know what the composition of your own metal sheet is, you will have to find this information before you attempt an "at-home" approach to this method.)
  • When heated, the metal sheet may be inserted into a type of industrial oven. When set to the correct temperature, the metal becomes pliable but does not turn to its liquid form.
  • As the sheet slides through the two-sided "oven", it comes out the other side and lands on a heat-resistant work surface. Before it is cooled, large heavy rollers immediately begin to work the metal into a flatter, thinner sheet.
  • The metal sheet begins to spread outward in both directions as the rollers press down on the hot metal. This process may be repeated if the resulting metal sheet is not thin enough.
  • If the sheet is the correct thickness, then the sheet is quickly cooled before the rough edges are trimmed with a large, horizontal metal cutter.
  • The sheet is then tested for tensile strength before being dipped in a surface material (if requested by the consumer) and dropped onto a stack of similar sheets.

Simplifying the Process for Use in Your Metal Workshop

If you have a small sheet of metal that you are working on in your shop, you may be able to use a blowtorch on a low setting to heat the metal sheet you have. A rubber mallet can help flatten the sheet, or you can get a special rolling pin for metal work. A simple tin snips should be as effective as the metal cutter used in the factory.

If you'd rather get some help with your sheet metal fabrication, contact a company like Waters Brothers Contractors, Inc.