Uses for Rivets in Manufacturing and Construction(custom sheet metal fabrication Cliff)

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Rivets are one of the most versatile and commonly used fasteners in manufacturing and construction. A rivet is a mechanical fastener that is installed by inserting two component parts from opposite sides of the materials to be joined and then mechanically deforming the protruding ends. This deformation locks the rivet in place, creating a permanent joint. Rivets come in a wide range of styles, sizes and materials for different applications. Here are some of the main uses for rivets in industry:
Metal Fabrication
Rivets are extensively used in metal fabrication to join sheet metal parts. They create strong permanent joints without the need for welding or messy adhesives. Pop rivets, also known as blind rivets, are a popular type of rivet for fastening thin metal sheets. Pop rivets can be quickly installed using only hand tools, making them ideal for fast production assembly. Structural rivets come in larger sizes and are used for load-bearing metal framework construction. Common structural rivet types include round head, countersunk head and hex head rivets. Aircraft grade aluminum rivets are often used in aircraft fuselage and wing fabrication.
Automotive Manufacturing
Rivets play an essential role in automotive manufacturing for creating strong structural frameworks and attaching exterior body panels. Self-piercing rivets (SPRs) are special rivets that can pierce through sheet metals and join them without pre-drilled holes. This enables faster automated assembly. SPRs are used extensively in car bodies to join various aluminium and steel components. Other common automotive uses include door hinges, seat frames, engine fixtures, and suspension systems. Rivnuts allow bolts to be installed into sheet metal using a rivet-like process.
Appliances and Electronics
Small rivets are important fasteners in appliance and electronics manufacturing. They provide sturdy internal attachment points for components while allowing non-destructive disassembly for serviceability. Pop rivets are typically used here because they can be quickly installed without special tools. Electronics enclosures often use customized high strength rivets for tamper-resistance. Rare earth magnets can also be embedded into the rivet heads to allow fast opening and closing of access panels. The rapid vibrations in appliances make rivets preferable over screws which can loosen over time.
Construction and Infrastructure
Structural rivets are relied upon in the construction of bridges, towers, pipelines, cranes, railroads, stadiums, offshore platforms and more. Their high strength-to-weight ratio makes rivets ideal for large yet lightweight structural frameworks. Countersunk rivets create smooth surfaces important for wind loading. Hot driven rivets can even be installed in the field for structural repair and reinforcement. Masonry anchors allow building fixtures like signs, lights, pipes, and cables to be mounted to concrete or brick walls using rivet attachments. Common anchor types include sleeve anchors and lag shields.
Boats, Ships, and Submarines
Marine grade rivets able to withstand corrosive ocean environments are critical components in shipbuilding and repair. The hulls and superstructures of boats and ships are held together by thousands of rivets. Submarines also rely heavily on riveting due to the extreme water pressures of deep sea operation. Riveted seams maintain watertight integrity much better than welding which can crack over time from metal fatigue. Replacing damaged rivets is a common part of servicing aged vessels.
Aircraft Construction
Aircraft grade rivets are widely used in both civilian and military airplanes and helicopters. Aluminum aircraft rivets allow for lightweight and corrosion resistant airframe construction. The fuselage, wings, engine mounts, landing gear, doors, skins, ribs, spars and other parts are commonly joined with rivets. Riveting also helps dampen airframe vibration. Proper rivet installation is critical for passenger safety. Aircraft technicians routinely inspect for loose or damaged rivets which can cause catastrophic failures if left uncorrected.
Off-Road Vehicles
Rivets provide durability for off-road vehicles that undergo intense vibrations and impacts from rugged terrain. Critical components like roll cages, suspension systems, skid plates, bumpers, and armor plating are commonly riveted on trucks, jeeps, buggies, tractors, and heavy equipment built for extreme duty cycles. Larger rivets can withstand shear loads not possible with welding. Riveted joints also better tolerate flexing from jumps and cornering. Quick field repairs can be made by replacing damaged rivets even in remote locations.
Industrial Equipment
Agricultural, construction, mining, oil, gas, chemical, and other industrial machinery rely on rivets for robust long term performance in dirty demanding environments. Rivets provide reliable connections between hardened steel parts that handle high static and dynamic loads while operating. Critical driveshaft, gearbox, blade, bucket, arm, axle, hinge, and chassis joints are often riveted on large machines. Conveyors, cranes, rigs, presses, and more utilize rivets at pivot points and stress concentrations. Rivets allow safer equipment operation by reducing risk of structural failures.
Military and Defense Applications
Rivets have been fundamental to military equipment and vehicles for over a century. Army tanks, artillery vehicles, troop transport trucks and more operate reliably in combat thanks to riveted joining of thick armor plating that helps resist enemy fire. Aircraft carriers, destroyers, frigates, submarines and other naval vessels all rely on vast numbers of rivets allowing global force projection. Rivets also help military aircraft like fighters, bombers and helicopters withstand inflight stresses and damage resilience when shot. Rivets even facilitate quick access panels for in-field equipment service and maintenance.
Other Notable Applications
Other common items that use rivets in their production and assembly include:
- Kitchen appliances like stoves, ovens, dishwashers and refrigerators
- Office furniture including desks, cabinets, shelves and cubicles
- Playground equipment and park benches
- Railings, ladders, fire escapes, and scaffolding
- Signs, light posts and guard rails
- HVAC ducting and plumbing pipes
- Bicycles, motorcycles, and locomotives
- Musical instruments like guitars, pianos, and drums
- Jewelry findings for necklaces, rings and bracelets
In summary, rivets serve innumerable purposes across almost every manufacturing sector ranging from delicate electronics up to massive ships and buildings. They provide unrivaled versatility, strength, durability, economy, and reliability as fastening solutions. Continued innovation in rivet designs and metal alloys ensure they will remain indispensible industrial fasteners for the foreseeable future. CNC Milling CNC Machining