Metal-PiecesFrom the metal piece for sale at a hardware store to the ones used for dental or medical procedures, every metal piece has gone through a thorough manufacturing process. It it quite a process to create screws and medical supplies from sheets of metal. There are many steps that metal has to go through before making its way to the shelves.

1.  Obtaining Materials   

Ore is mined and smelted. Smelting involves heating the ore to such a degree that the metallic components melt,becoming separated from soil and other impurities.  Later, the cooled metal is shipped to a manufacturing company. It is really a whole separate intricate process just to get the material from a mine to a factory.  

2. Obtaining Orders and Planning   

Orders can be made by clients by phone, fax, online on paper or even with a handshake. Many manufacturing companies are computerized, which makes the planning process more automated and therefore easier and less prone to errors. The order process determines what the metal will become.

3.  Manufacture   

Although there are multiple methods of shaping and manufacturing metal, it's generally agreed that the best procedures are cold forming and cold heading.  Despite the names, these procedures are actually performed more or less at room temperature.

The 2 main components in cold forming machinery are dies and punches.  Dies act as molds that contain the metal, while punches hit the metal, forcing it to match the shape of the inside of a die.  One die can be used while the metal takes multiple hits from a punch, or the metal might be placed in multiple dies, one at a time, that progressively form it into the proper shape in various steps.

Cold heading is the same as cold forming, but the punches and dies specifically focus the shaping of the metal into heads; such as heads of screws, nails and bolts.   

4.  Quality Control   

At every Cold Heading Company or other metal manufacturing facility, there are quality control specialists on hand to run samples of products through various tests and inspections.  Metal pieces are meticulously scrutinized in order to ensure proper size, shape, density and overall quality.  It's also crucial that the sample pieces have uniformity with other like pieces and are free of flaws.   

5. Packaging   

The manufacturing company has an intriguing choice to make as to how it handles packaging within its business plan.  Packaging must either be done in-house or outsourced to a separate packaging company.  Many factors must be considered, including cost, efficiency, timeliness, branding, convenience and reliability. Packaging ranges from small plastic bags with a few products, to large boxes.

6. Stocking   

Once the metal pieces are packaged, they are shipped to various merchants; hardware stores, for example.  The stores then stock the items on the shelves according to each individual store's categorical preference. One they are on the store shelf, the consumers now have access to them!

Thanks to each step in an exhaustive process, the metal pieces are now officially for sale to the general public. It takes quite a bit of work for metal to get from a mine to the store shelves. Most people don't think about how this process takes place, but next time you buy nails at the hardware store or are fixing up your bookshelf, you can appreciate the work it took to get something as simple as a screw into your hands.