Introduction(champhers Sampson)

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Rivets are an integral component in many manufacturing and construction applications. With the rise of computer numerical control (CNC) machinery, rivets can be used in automated processes to improve efficiency and consistency. This article will explore the key uses for rivets in CNC applications.
What are Rivets?
A rivet is a mechanical fastener that connects two or more materials by inserting a metal rod through aligned holes in the materials and deforming the free end(s) to hold everything together. The deformation can be done with heat, pressure, or some combination of the two. The deformed end is called the shop head, while the manufactured head is the opposite end.
Rivets come in a variety of head shapes, materials, sizes and strengths to accommodate different applications. Common materials include aluminum, steel, copper, and titanium. The choice depends on factors like strength needs, corrosion resistance, weight considerations, assembly method, cost and aesthetics.
Key Uses in CNC
CNC machinery utilizes computer-aided manufacturing to automate fabrication processes. This enables more consistency, precision and efficiency than manual methods. Rivets are commonly used in CNC applications such as:
Aircraft Assembly
Aircraft contain thousands of rivets to assemble major components and skins. Manually inserting all these rivets would be extremely labor and time intensive. CNC riveting machines can automatically handle large volumes of rivets to join wings, fuselages, tails and other structures. The programmable nature also allows for flexibility in rivet patterns and pitch to accommodate different designs.
Like aircraft, ships and boats contain extensive amounts of rivets throughout their hull and interior structures. CNC riveters provide automation to rapidly fasten frames, bulkheads, decking and hull plating. This facilitates high-volume production and customization for both commercial and military maritime vessels.
Automotive Manufacturing
CNC riveting technology enables mass production of various automotive components. Vehicle bodies rely on thousands of rivets for quick joining of panels, subframes and stamped parts. Interiors also utilize rivets to assemble trims, seats, door cards and other modules. Precise automation ensures consistently spaced and clinched rivets.
HVAC Ducting
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems extensively use rivets to fabricate ducting and piping. CNC machines can rapidly punch or drill sheet metal and join it with rivets to form duct sections. This facilitates custom duct configurations and sizes while maintaining leak-proof joints.
Metal Enclosures & Frames
Electrical enclosures, equipment racks, display cases and industrial frames often get assembled with rivets. CNC offers flexible drilling and riveting patterns to accommodate unique enclosure and frame designs. Riveting also provides strength and durability needed for long-term use.
Construction & Infrastructure
CNC riveters facilitate large-scale joining of steel I-beams, rebar, angular structural shapes and corrugated decking in building construction. Concrete reinforcement, trusses, rail tracks and utility poles also utilize CNC riveting for structural integrity. The automated process enables rapid, reliable fastening.
Key CNC Riveting Methods
There are several techniques CNC machines employ to insert and deform rivets:
Impact Riveting
This uses a pneumatic, hydraulic or servo impact hammer to forcibly insert the rivet and upset the tail. The hammer strikes the rivet at thousands of blows per minute to provide the energy needed for deformation. Impact riveting offers high speed and strength for mass production.
Orbital Riveting
Also referred to as radial riveting, this method uses one or more hydraulic cylinders to provide pressure against an eccentrically moving anvil. As the anvil orbits, it upsets the rivet tail to clinch the joint. Orbital riveting provides consistent results and can accommodate various material thicknesses.
Roll Riveting
Here, a pressure wheel rolls over the inserted rivet tail to deform it. The rivet gets flattened into a gas-tight seal. This method works well for softer, more ductile rivets and thinner materials. It produces minimal stress in the joined materials.
Friction Riveting
In this technique, the rivet rotates and presses into the workpiece at high speed. The friction and pressure cause heat that softens the rivet, enabling the tail to flare out and lock everything together. It provides a fast, strong joint without sparking or surface damage.
Laser Riveting
A focused laser beam is used to melt and deform the free end of the rivet for clinching. The laser can also pre-drill holes. Laser riveting accommodates materials of varying thicknesses and hardness with no contact force. It also avoids fatigue damage from hammering.
Advantages of CNC Riveting
Automating the riveting process with CNC offers numerous benefits:
- Increased speed and volume for mass production
- Improved consistency and precision over manual methods
- Ability to program complex rivet patterns and spacing
- Accommodates variations in rivet location and materials
- Minimal assembly time compared to welding or adhesives
- Allows flexible, just-in-time production
- Reduces labor requirements and cost
- Consistent quality and reliability
- Adaptable to prototype development or high-mix, low-volume jobs
With its speed, consistency and flexibility, CNC riveting enhances manufacturing efficiency across many industries. Continued advancement of the technology will further improve the automated use of rivets for years to come.
Rivets have been a trusted fastening method for decades, and today they play an important role in CNC fabrication. Automated riveting machines allow efficient, reliable joining of components and materials in aircraft, ships, cars, ductwork, enclosures, buildings and more. With customized programming, CNC enables high-volume production or low-quantity prototyping to meet various riveting needs. CNC Milling