What Is the Metalworking Process Clinching?

Sheet metal mesh

Have you heard of clinching? It’s used extensively in the metalworking industry to join two or more pieces of sheet metal without the use of fasteners, heat or adhesives. With clinching, special tools are used to lock”multiple pieces of sheet metal together. It’s an inexpensive and effective metal-joining process that offers several advantages over traditional metal-joining processes. To learn more about clinching and how it’s performed, keep reading.

The Basics of Clinching

Also known as press joining, clinching refers to the use of a punch and die set to press, or “clinch,” two or more pieces of sheet metal together. While the sheet metal may be preheated, the process is typically performed at room temperature. To perform clinching, a metalworking company secures and aligns the sheet metal between the punch and die. Once in place, the punch is engaged, thereby pressing down on the sheet metal with low to medium force. As the punch compresses the pieces of sheet metal, it causes them to join.

Advantages of Clinching

When compared to traditional metal-joining processes, clinching offers several advantages, one of which is the simple fact that it doesn’t require electricity. With spot welding, electricity is needed to power the welding arc. As a result, it’s more laborious, as well as costly, metal-joining process. But clinching is performed using nothing more than a punch and die set, thereby eliminating the need for an arc.

Clinching is also inherently safer than welding. With welding, both sparks as well as toxic fumes are created. If certain safety precautions aren’t taken, workers could sustain injury from exposure to these sparks and toxic fumes. Clinching eliminates this concern by relying strictly on pressure to join two or more pieces of sheet metal.

Furthermore, metalworking companies don’t have to clean or treat sheet metal before clinching them. When joining sheet metal with adhesives, the surfaces must be fully cleaned so that the adhesive will hold. Sheet metal can be clinched, however, without being cleaned or otherwise treated beforehand.

Disadvantages of Clinching

On the other hand, there are a few disadvantages to using clinching versus traditional metal-joining processes. For starters, it typically only works with very thin pieces of sheet metal. Since clinching is performed at or near room temperature, it doesn’t work with thick pieces of sheet metal.

Clinching also doesn’t provide the same level of security as other metal-joining processes, specifically welding. If the finished product is intended to be used in a high-stress application, welding might be preferred for this reason.

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