Riveting machinery is used to fasten materials together. It works by applying heat and pressure to the rivet which fuses them, resulting in a strong, durable and leak-proof joint. It is commonly used for metal and thermoplastic fabrication, including automotive and aircraft components, furniture, textiles and electronics. It is a fast and economical alternative to other joining methods like welding, but it requires access on both sides of the joint. It is also a relatively noisy procedure, which can be an issue in production environments.
Rivets are a permanent type of fastener, making them unsuitable for applications where the joint will be disassembled or adjusted frequently. However, they are easy to inspect, and provide an ideal solution for applications that require high levels of strength and resilience, such as brake linings in vehicles or aircraft.
The most common types of riveting machine are impact and orbital riveting machines. Both use a piston or hammer to apply a downward force to the rivet head and deform it. These machines are available in both manual and automatic feed versions, with the latter relying on a hopper and feed track to automatically deliver and present the rivet to the setting tool and overcome the need for an operator to position the rivet manually.
An important feature of a riveting machine is the intensification valve, which creates the downward force and controls the amount of air supplied to the gun. Once the valve is opened by the operator, the pressurized air from the tank escapes through a sliding valve against the piston, driving it against the head of the rivet to compress and deform it. Then, the air escapes to the atmosphere through an exhaust valve and a spring pushes the piston back to its initial position ready for another cycle of riveting.
There are many different variants of riveting machinery, and selecting the right one for your needs can depend on your assembly process objectives, production constraints and budget. It is a good idea to define these in advance so that you can select the right machine for the job.
Other factors to consider include the power source of the machine, whether it is pneumatic or electric, and what kind of monitoring you require. For example, an electronic servo-system like Orbitform’s ‘Watchdawg’ uses dedicated sensors to monitor the setting force and punch movement throughout the process, producing a curve that is compared to a trained reference curve. If the process curve fits within tolerances, it is approved and the system continues; if not, it is flagged for attention or halted.
Despite its drawbacks, riveting remains a popular method of joining materials due to its versatility and cost-effectiveness. Its main benefits are that it is quick, requires little setup, produces low emissions and has the added benefit of a robust and leak-proof join. It can be used for a variety of materials, from wood to metals, and it can even be used on thin metals that are not suitable for welding.