Sheet metal manufacturing is not an industry that is well known or understood by the general public, and part of the reason for this is the scale of the industry as well as the complexity of the machines and processes used. This week, we thought we’d begin to demystify the industry with a glossary of basic key terms which pertain to modern sheet metal manufacturing processes.

sheet metal processing

Laser cutting

Using a highly concentrated light beam to pierce or cut metal.


Referring to the thickness of the metal. Some of the standard guage sizes include Galvanised Sheet Gauge (GSG), Birmingham Wire Guage (BWG), and United States Standard Guage (USS).


An abbreviation of Computer Numeric Control which is a machine run by a computer which is programmed with commands.

Die cutting

This refers to the process of cutting metal pieces without melting or burning. Also known as shearing, die cutting produces no chips.

Die forming machines

Metal forming machines which impart a contour on a sheet of metal with a  pair of mating dies.


A metal forming technique which uses liquid pressure to shape plastic or metal. As a metal forming technology, fluid pressure is used to move the ram for open and closed die forging and in plastic moulding the fluid itself is used to exert the forming pressure.

Press brake

A tool used to bend both sheet and plate metal.


Where rotary cutters remove material from a piece of metal. The axle of the tool is used to advance the cut in an angled direction.


Cutting and shaping alloys into specific shapes such as machinery parts, pre-determined shapes, and structural components.

Stretch forming

A forming process used to produce parts with a large radius of curvature. It’s achieved by applying tensile forces to stretch the sheet over a form block.

Roll forming

A bending process wherein metal passes through rolls to form sheeting.

Hydraulic breaks

A tool which creates bends at predetermined angles to simplify the fabrication process.

Plasma cutting

A cutting technology which uses a concentrated jet of ionised gas (plasma) to generate electricity and heat in order to melt and blow away the molten metal.


ACRA are trusted vendors of both new and used sheet metal manufacturing machinery. To learn more about our range of products, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling 03 9794 6675.