The Essential Role of Lubrication in Metal Shaping and Forming

November 3, 2023

Metal shaping and forming are intricate processes vital in industries from automotive and aerospace to manufacturing and construction. The shaping and forming processes must work in harmony to achieve precision and quality in the final product. One often-underestimated factor that plays a significant role in these operations is the use of correct lubrication.

Types of Metal Shaping

To understand the importance of lubrication, we need to understand different types of metal shaping:

  • Stamping: Forming metal sheets into desired shapes using a press and a die.

  • Fine Blanking: Stamping high-precision, flat metal parts with smooth edges.

  • Drawing: Shaping metal into cups, shells and other hollow forms.

  • Cold Heading: Metal wire is forged into screws, bolts, and rivets.

  • Coining: Used for producing coins, medals and other items with intricate designs.

Two Processes Working Together

It’s not just about ensuring the metal is in the best possible condition. Types of shaping listed above require lubrication  on the metal being formed so that the presses that apply the extreme pressure don’t harm the tooling and molds. The presses and hydraulic systems involved in metal shaping are complex and operate under extreme conditions yet must work smoothly and precisely to conform to the desired specifications and tolerances.

In metal shaping and forming, specialized lubrication is essential to ensure that the machines perform optimally for two primary reasons. First, it protects the metal being shaped, reducing tool wear and improving the shear plane. Second, it results in smoother bending and molding, providing the finished pieces with a higher level of precision and quality.

Reducing tool wear and improving shear plane with high oil film strength is desirable in this process, so let’s explore these two aspects in more detail.

  • Lubricating the Metal

The shaping process applies extreme pressure to mold the metal into the desired form. Proper lubrication serves several functions in protecting the tooling, molds and parts:

  1. Cleanliness: Clean systems increase overall production efficiency and help reduce the need for costly and time-consuming downtime.

  2. Pressure: Extreme-pressure lubricants help ensure metal is shaped correctly and consistently.

  3. Rust: Water-based lubricants include advanced rust-prevention additives to protect the metal from corrosion during the manufacturing process and short-term part storage.

  4. Evaporation: Some lubricants are designed to evaporate quickly, which reduces time delays between production stages.

  • Lubricating the Machines

The machines that press the massive weights onto the metal that is to be shaped must be operating smoothly and precisely for the shaping to successfully conform to specifications. These presses are run with complex hydraulic systems under high pressures and temperatures, making them highly susceptible to accelerated wear. They require specialized hydraulic fluids to ensure they run smoothly and without resistance, including these important properties:

  1. Fights Varnish Formation: High-quality hydraulic oil resists varnish formation and deposits, ensuring efficient equipment operation and enhanced reliability.

  2. Anti-Wear: Hydraulic oils with anti-wear additives are designed to reduce wear in hydraulic systems, extending the life of critical components and reducing maintenance costs.

  3. Excellent Filterability: Superior filterability means superior system cleanliness, which is key for consistent output and helps maintain optimal equipment performance.

  4. High Viscosity Index (VI): Oil with a high viscosity index (VI) is crucial for maintaining efficiency in extreme environments and at extreme temperatures.

  5. Corrosion Protection: Reducing the risk of rust and corrosion in your systems protects your investment and prevents costly damage and repairs.

Don’t Overlook the Lubricants

Proper lubrication provides superior precision, quality and efficiency. AMSOIL Industrial metal stamping and forming products are engineered to meet the critical lubrication demands of metal shaping and forming, ensuring that your machinery operates optimally for consistent, high-precision, top-quality products.

Visit Metal Stamping Market | AMSOIL Industrial to learn more.