A riveting machine is a piece of factory equipment that automatically sets a fastener called a rivet in order to join materials together. It is often used in place of manual rivet setting, which can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. Riveting machines can offer greater consistency, higher productivity, and lower cost than the manual process. There are many different types of riveting machines, each designed and built for a specific application. Some are pneumatic, some hydraulic and some electrically powered. The machine’s design and capabilities are determined by the type of rivet that is being set.
There are three primary types of riveting machine: compression riveting, impact riveting and nonimpact or orbital riveting. With compression riveting, the head of the rivet is formed by squeezing or pulling the rivet shank. With impact riveting, the head is formed by striking the top of the shank with a riveting hammer or punch. With nonimpact riveting, a spinning or rolling action of the end of the shank forms the head of the rivet.
Riveting machines are available in a wide variety of configurations, including portable handheld guns and multi-head automated riveting tools that are electrically, pneumatically, or hydraulically actuated. The types of rivets that can be set vary as well, from small, hollow metal rivets used in electronics to large, forged aluminum rivets for use in aircraft and automobile parts.
To determine which type of riveting machine will work best, assembly planners must first define the assembly processes that they are trying to accomplish. This will help them understand the critical assembly factors that must be met and the operating constraints within which they need to function. These include product quality characteristics, assembly cycle times, the footprint or space required for the machine, plant utilities available and finished part aesthetics.
When choosing a riveting machine, the manufacturer must also decide whether to use an automatic or manual feed. An automatic machine will have a rivet hopper and a feed track that delivers the rivets to the riveting tool. The riveting tools then apply the required downward force to deform the rivet. This force may be delivered manually by a foot pedal or by hand levers on the riveting gun.
If the operation requires high repetition, an automatic machine will be the best choice because of its increased speed and reliability. It is possible to produce thousands of rivets per minute with these systems. This makes them ideal for applications such as aircraft and automotive production.
Welding is a better option than riveting for products that require high strength and rigidity. Welded joints are stronger than riveted ones and can handle heavier loads. They are also more resistant to corrosion than riveted joints.
Blind (pop) riveting is another type of fastening process that can be performed on a riveting machine. This type of riveting uses a mandrel shaft that is inserted into a hole in multiple laminated sheets. The rivet ends are then snapped off with a tool that snaps the mandrel off the shaft, which causes the head to expand and curl around the hole opening and fasten the sheets together. The process is a ‘clean’ joining technique with low energy requirements, as well as low fume emissions.