Clinch, Don’t Weld
Today many people are starting clinch metal sheets together instead of welding them. The reason for this is that clinching is a lot safer to perform than welding is as with clinching, no heat or flames are used and so there is not the risk of fire that there is with welding. Also no gases are used in clinching and so neither is there a health risk from fumes.
Although clinching does not involve welding, neither does it need to use screws or rivets to join the sheets of metal together as instead it uses “buttons” which are created as pressure is applied to the sheets of metal to be joined via a clinching machine and a pointed die. If just two sheets of metal are to be joined, a round headed die is used but if more than two sheets are to be joined, a trapezoidal point works better.
An added advantage to using clinching as opposed to one of the other methods of joining sheet metal together is the fact that the buttons are not affected by weather or by any known chemicals. As clinching tools do not use heat or flame, they are less expensive than welding in terms of safety precautions that have to be taken whilst performing the process and as no rivets or screws are used, the clinching process is cheaper than rivets in terms of quality assurance.
These savings and the quality of the join that clinching provides has made this process very attractive to manufacturers and kitchen appliance manufacturers have already switched to clinching in many of their plants, as have the automotive industry. Although the railroad and aerospace industries seem interested in using clinching, they are waiting for the results of additional tests before they decide whether or not to use it. The medical profession is looking for other ways that this process can be used but that has not stopped them from already using it for purposes already known.
Clinching could be of most benefit to the oil and gas industries as the joins are weather proof and not affected by chemicals, a problem which has long plagued these two industries.
The Jurado Tools Company that patented clinching have joined with the Department of Industrial and Information Engineering and Economics in the Italian University of L’Aquila to explore the possibility that clinching may have even more uses than they are currently aware of but in the meantime Jurado tools and designing, patenting and manufacturing most of the different clinching tools available today.
As clinching is considered to be considerably safer than welding, many engineering and manufacturing plants are switching to using clinching instead of welding where ever is appropriate. Different clinching tools are already available for different clinching tasks depending on the size of the task and the location where it is to be carried out but as more uses for clinching are discovered, more variety in tools will become available. It is already possible though, to carry out clinching in a space where welding and riveting would be considered impossible.