Manufacturers have been joining metal sheets using the same process for decades but that is possibly all about to change thanks to a new process called clinching. You can learn about clinching online but basically it is a process that joins sheets of metal together without the need for welding or the use of rivets and crews as it uses pressure alone to join the sheets.
The pressure is applied to the sheets to be joined by using a clinching machine which has been likened to large pliers and these clinching machines apply that pressure via a die. As the die exerts pressure on the sheets of metal, the sheets, under the pressure of the die, combine to form what is known as a button and this button is a solid and durable join, allowing the metals to stay together as effectively as if they had been welded or riveted. An added advantage of the clinching process is that the joins it creates are unaffected by chemicals or weather, making them ideal for outdoor use.
It two sheets are to be joined together, the die with the best shaped point for this purpose is one that is rounded but if more than two sheets are to be joined, a trapezoidal shaped die is more effective.
Clinching has several advantages over other methods of joining metals and the advantage that clinching has over welding is that clinching uses neither heat nor flames to create the join which means it is safer and will require far less safety precautions to be observed. As clinching does not use any gases either, neither is there the possibility of causing a health hazard from fumes.
The advantage that clinching has over rivets is that no holes are needed to be drilled and no accessories, like rivets, are needed to keep the sheets of metal together. This means that far fewer quality assurance checks are needed during the joining process. The automotive industry quickly acknowledged the advantage of clinching over other methods and has already started to use clinching in their automobile manufacturing plants. The makers of kitchen appliances are now also using clinching in their manufacturing facilities.
Although both the railroad and aerospace industries have said they will be using clinching, they are waiting the results of some last tests before actually doing so. The oil and gas industries have welcomed the introduction of clinching as it could be one process that helps them eradicate the problems they have had with joins in some of their pipelines, as those problems have often been associated to weather conditions or chemicals.
Jurado Tools is the company that not only developed and patented the clinching process but is also the company that is now making most of the clinching tools needed to carry out the process. They have so far developed a wide range of clinching tools so that there is one which is suitable for most engineering and manufacturing needs including tools for clinching irregular shaped or curved sheets of metal.