Shear Types Used in Sheet Metal
Sheet metal cutting plays a vital role in the metal fabrication industry. Naturally, for such a ubiquitous piece of machinery as metal cutting shears, there are many types and many names for this tool.
At its most basic, the cutting process involved in shearing metal involves applying enough force to the material that it breaks along the desired line. Most commonly, shear is used to cut a sheet parallel to an existing edge that remains square. However, devices such as "throatless shears" exist on the market that can cut complex shapes of undefined lengths. Below you will find a brief overview of the different types of sheet metal shearing device, their applications, and their pros and cons.
Alligator shears get their name from the appearance of their hinged jaws and their operating motion. Like many machines with alligator shear capability, they are hydraulically powered via hydraulic cylinders. Typically, alligator shears are used for rough shearing of pre-processed metal stock. Some application examples for these machines include rebar cutting, I-beam cutting, and other such materials. Unlike many types of guillotines, alligator shears are designed for more than just cutting sheet metal.
Rugged, reliable, and easy to operate, they are popular with the metal fabrication industry. However, such machines are not suitable for precise or smooth finished cuts.
Moving on to more precise machinery, bench shears can be manual or hydraulic, but are, as the name suggests, bench shears. While cutting sheet metal is the primary focus of bench shears, many have steel workstations for cutting materials such as rebar. With long handles, the bench press can reduce the physical effort required to cut through thick material with relative ease. Due to their location, bench scissors rarely have blades longer than 12 inches or 300mm.
When you think of shearing devices, by definition, you might think that they only make straight cuts. This is true for most machines. However, to achieve patterns and shapes for certain applications, metal fabricators may choose throatless shears. Additionally, throatless shears add to the limitations of other shears on the length they can cut in one operation. Continuous passes can be made into sheets of any length indefinitely.
Unlike other cutting devices, throatless shears place no restrictions on the freedom of movement of the metal specimen around the cutting blade. This is because they do not have a "throat". When operators use throat fewer shears, they can move metal, straight, round, or irregularly.
Similar to bench shears with long handles, throatless shears are capable of cutting thinner metals such as aluminum and mild steel. However, throatless shears may not be able to cut thicker metals. In this case, a sharper hardened steel cutting blade should be used.
Metal guillotines or scissors usually come in one of two styles. hydraulic or manual. For manual machines, a foot pedal is used as the drive method for lowering the blade. Sometimes called a foot-operated shear or foot-operated guillotine, the foot plate spans the full width of the machine. Once the operator is satisfied with his position, depressing this pedal will lower the blade and cut the sheet. The metal guillotine is by far the cutting machine with the highest single-cut length and sheet thickness.
Manual operation presents eventual capacity limitations associated with cutting one meter of the sheet at a time. When this limit is reached, your next port of call is the hydraulic guillotine. As the name suggests, a hydraulic guillotine is operated by a powerful motor and powered by a small foot pedal. Hydraulic shears can easily cut through longer sheets, but some can even cut through thicker sheet metal.
The above briefly introduces the types of shearing used in sheet metal. If you want to purchase sheet metal shearing devices, please contact us.
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