Welding today is something that is starting to be replaced by a process known as clinching. Although clinching cannot replace all the uses of welding it can replace many of them, such as when two or more sheets of metal need to be joined.
Unlike in welding, sheet metal clinching tools do not require fire or heat in order to join the sheets of metal and is therefore a much safer process as there is not the danger of a fire being started. Neither does clinching use any gases and so neither is there a fumes hazard.
Clinching instead, uses pressure to join the sheets of metal together and so neither does it need rivets or screws. The pressure is applied to the sheets of metal to be joined by a clinching machine which applies the pressure via a pointed die. For joining two sheets of metal together a round ended die is used whilst a trapezoidal pointed die id used for joining more than two sheets together.
As clinching is a safer process than welding, manufacturers and other engineering facilities that use clinching are finding that they make financial savings due to the fewer health and safety measures that have to be adhered to. As the process does not need rivets or screws, the users of the clinching process also find that they make financial savings due to there being fewer quality assurance checks needed.
Already the automotive industries are using clinching in the manufacturing of cars and other manufacturers are using the process in the manufacture of kitchen appliances. The railroad and aerospace industries are considering using the process but would first like further studies undertaken as to its reliability. The medical profession has already found some uses for the process but is conducting their own research to evaluate the possibility of it having further uses within their industries.
Perhaps clinching will be most beneficial to the oil and gas industries as the joins created by clinching are unaffected by weather conditions or any known chemicals which could help these industries greatly in their pipeline construction. Obviously with so many different uses already having been found for clinching, several different clinching tools are needed and Jurado Tools, which is the company that patented the clinching process, is quickly adding tools to their inventory as new uses are discovered.
Jurado Tools has also started to work with an Italian University’s Industrial and Information Engineering and Economics Department to do research into the possibility of clinching having any additional uses. Currently though, there are clinching tools which are large enough to be used in manufacturing facilities as well as clinching tools which are small enough to be used in the field where other joining processes would be difficult to be used in. There are also clinching tools that can be used to join sheets of metal that have irregular surfaces and curved sheets of metal such as those used to create ducts or pipes which could be of particular interest to the oil and gas industries.