Sheet Metal Applications
Looking around, it is clear that sheet metal has a plethora of applications. There aren’t many home appliances, constructions, etc. that don’t incorporate any sheet metal parts. Still, different sheet metal groups have some specific uses. And we can go over them.
Cold rolled steel is comparatively cheap. As the name suggests, it is rolled at room temperature. Cold rolled steel is only limited to 3 mm thickness but has a nicer surface.
So it works well in applications that require nice smooth finishes. Some examples include home appliances, furniture, lockers and cabinets. Cold rolled steel is also used in larger structures, e.g. steel sheds and garages.
Hot rolled steel is formed in a heated state. Comparing hot rolled and cold rolled steel, hot rolling allows for easier forming, making the cost even lower. Also, thicker sheets at plates are only available as hot rolled for the same reason – ease of forming.
Hot rolled steel, however, does not have such accurate dimensions. After rolling, the metal cools down and shrinks. This results in concentrations of stresses that can warp the material and changes in measurements.
Stainless steel sheets are good in corrosive environments, where a combination with strength is important. Mostly used for all kinds of surgical instruments, cutlery, kitchen accessories, sinks, etc. Still, there are great industrial use-cases for storage tanks, valves, piping and the like.
Aluminium sheets may not be so common for every engineer because of its heavier price-tag. Still, aluminium finds a lot of use throughout the industry because of its standout qualities.
It is corrosion-resistant (still, aluminium corrosion does occur) but most importantly, strong and lightweight. This makes it especially central for the transportation industry where each extra kg results in long-term losses. Consumer goods like phones, laptops, etc. often have durable and light casings made of aluminium.