As one of the most common materials used in project design, it's essential that the right fastening methods are applied for sheet metal fabrication. But which methods are the most effective?

In this article, we’ll discuss the most common sheet metal fastening techniques and how to get the most out of your design projects, covering:

The Most Common Sheet Metal Fastening Methods

Sheet metal can be used in almost any project. It can be applied using various methods, such as loose hardware application, welding and self clinching. Loose hardware can include rivets, nuts and bolts.

In the fastening industry, the two most common methods of application are welding and self clinching fastening.

Welding Application 

Welding is historically one of the most common sheet metal fastening methods. The welding technique is a fabrication process consisting of two or more parts fused through heat or pressure. Conventional fasteners used for this method include tack weld and spot weld fasteners. 

In project design, welding provides physical, strong bonds between sheet metals, resulting in high structural performance. However, this method has a few drawbacks, including:

Self-Clinching Fastening Application 

Self clinching technology is most commonly used for sheet metal fabrication. This can be found in all industries where two components need to be held together.

This method involves installing the fastener into an anvil hole and placing the mounting hole over the fastener's shank. A robust solution for any type of sheet metal, self clinching fasteners can provide stable threads or attachment in metal as thin as 0.30 mm/.012”. 

Self clinching is an innovative fastening method that provides environmental benefits and saves time and money. Specific self clinching fasteners used for sheet metal include: 

Would you like to learn more about sheet metal fastening and self clinching solutions? Our Self-Clinching vs. Weld FastenerClass® course in our FastenerSeminar™ covers everything you need to know. Register now to expand your knowledge with our fastening experts. 

Key Considerations for Sheet Metal Application 

The most important consideration when applying sheet metal fastening methods to any component is knowing your material's hardness. Some panel materials may be too hard for self clinching.

Using accurate self clinching technology can push the metal to deform, causing it to cold flow into a specially designed recess in the shank or pilot of the fastener. Knowing your panel hardness can enable self clinching selection for any type of standard material, including stainless steel and aluminum panels. 

Why Choose Self-Clinching Solutions for Sheet Metal? 

While self clinching and welding processes are effective ways of applying fasteners to sheet metal, self-clinching has various benefits that set it apart from welding. The benefits of self-clinching innovation include:

Learn More About Self Clinching Fastener Innovation

Self clinching fastening is the most effective choice when fabricating strong sheet metal bonds in your design project. But the fastener used is only as reliable as the manufacturer. With an 80-year history, PEM® fasteners are an industry-leading provider of self clinching innovation. Our expertise spans globally and across multiple industries, including automotive electronics (AE), electric vehicle (EV), consumer electronics and more. 

Want to learn more about fastener types, applications and considerations across these industries? Our Design Engineers Fastener Guide covers all you need to know. Download the guide for free today.

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