Urethane and Metal Forming Applications
When considering materials for use in metal forming applications, urethane is the strongest, most reliable choice. Metalworking machinery that incorporates urethane parts is likely to be more reliable, produce higher-quality parts, and last longer. Below we address some more of the uses and benefits of cast urethane for metal forming applications.
How Are Metal Forming Pads Used?
Metal forming pads are parts that make up metalworking machinery. In the metalworking process, sheet metal is pressed between two parts: a lower die (or “form block”) and a forming pad. The die is rigid and provides the mold. The forming pad is connected to a hydraulic press, which provides the pressure required to put the forming pad and die together, thus creating the metal part. A forming pad needs to be able to endure high pressure and repeated use. Metal forming pads are used in hydraulic presses, fluid forming processes, and for general metal forming by a variety of industries including aerospace, aviation, and automotive.
What Makes Urethane Ideal For Metal Forming Applications?
Thermoset urethane is incredibly strong, making it the ideal material for use in metal forming applications. Metal forming applications require the kind of intense performance that cast urethane delivers. Because of cast urethane’s elastomeric properties, premium urethane sheeting, urethane filler blocks, and urethane metal forming pads stand up to high amounts of pressure, resist stressors like abrasion and high heat, and extend the life of the machinery in which they are used.
Urethane vs. Rubber For Metal Forming Applications
Rubber is often a popular material for use in metalworking parts. However, rubber performs poorly when compared to thermoset urethane. Here are some of the differences between urethane and rubber forming pads:
Difference: Even with an optimal level of thickness, rubber won’t exert pressure as evenly across the sheet metal as it takes shape, whereas urethane offers even pressure distribution regardless of thickness. This is because urethane’s elastomeric properties have a shape memory, allowing urethane pads to return to their original shape after use.
Result: Urethane pads facilitate the production of more intricate shapes, and the resulting metal product has higher definition. Additionally, urethane pads are more suitable for deep-draw metal forming, and the even pressure distribution means that thin metal won’t crimp.
Difference: Rubber pads can’t endure higher pressures the way urethane can. Urethane is very durable and won’t wear out quickly, whereas rubber is more prone to wear and tear with extended use.
Result: Urethane forming pads can withstand higher forming and pressures and ultimately maintain a steady level of productivity.
Wear And Tear
Difference: Unlike rubber, thermoset urethane has high levels of resistance to abrasion, cuts, temperatures up to 250°; and can hold a very high weight per square inch.
Result: Because urethane lasts longer than rubber, using urethane forming pads extends the life of the metalworking machinery, fluid cells, and forming pads.
How To Customize Urethane For Metal Forming Applications
If your metal forming application requires a specific type of urethane, you can order a custom cast urethane product formulated for properties like rebound and resistance to compression set. Products like urethane metal forming pads and urethane filler blocks are available in custom colors, durometers, and sizes to fit your machinery’s needs.