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Glossary A-Z


The physical force that pushes the melted material out of the cut zone. The most commonly used assist gases for laser processing are oxygen, nitrogen, mixed gas, and high-pressure air systems.

A substance that has metallic properties and is composed of two or more chemical elements; at least one of the elements must be a metal.


A wheel-shaped die with a groove in the outer circumference that conforms to half the pipe circumference. It will most often have a straight section used as half of the clamp set for holding the pipe against the die. This type of die is used in rotary draw or compression bending to generate the bend radius.

A metal forming process that can be performed on a variety of machines. It involves the straining of material, usually flat sheet or strip metal, by moving it around a straight axis and applying stress. The bend is permanently set after the removal of the applied stress. Usually, the metal’s inside bend radius is in compression and the outside bend radius is in tension.

An angular cut on the ID or OD of a tube end.

Welded tubing normalized in a controlled-atmosphere furnace and which exhibits a bright surface.

The property of metals that do not deform under load, but tend to break suddenly; the opposite of plasticity.

A sharp protrusion or thin ridge of roughness remaining on sheet metal as a result of a cutting operation.

A joint between two members lying or aligned approximately in the same plane.


Computer-aided design; the process of using a computer drawing program to develop electronic equivalents of paper drawings.

Computer-aided engineering; using a computer program, rather than traditional methods, to design a part, product, or process CAM (Computer-aided manufacturing)- Computer-aided manufacturing; using data extracted from a part CAD drawing to control a machine that produces the part.

Computer numerical control. A designation for a machine that uses a dedicated computer to control the actions of the machine and increase its precision.

An abbreviation for cold rolled, which is a classification of metal that has had additional treatment after it has been hot rolled, pickled, and oiled. The metal is moved through a series of rollers that provide uniformity in the thickness of the metal and improve the surface smoothness. This process is done at room temperature.

An instrument with two legs or jaws that can be adjusted for measuring linear dimensions, thickness, or diameter.

The amount of curvature or deviation from exact straightness over any specified length of material.

A gas laser that uses CO2 as the lasing medium, along with nitrogen and helium, to increase the laser’s effectiveness; operates at a wavelength of 10.6 micrometers (1 x 10-6 meters).

A type of steel in which carbon is the primary alloying element, with the level of carbon contained in a steel being one of the most important factors governing its mechanical properties. Carbon steels have no more than 1.65 percent manganese, 0.6 percent silicon, or 0.6 percent copper. Carbon steels are available with varying levels of formability. The more formable grades are typically more costly than the less formable grades. Also called mild steel.

An inspection machine for measuring 3-D (X, Y, Z) coordinates of a part.

Chemical or electrochemical deterioration of a metal or alloy. See also galvanic corrosion, intergranular corrosion, and pitting corrosion.

The ability to resist attack by corrosion.

A design feature, investment, or operating cost that is figured into the price of a part.

Tubing ordered to a specified length and permitting a tolerance of a standardized fraction of an inch over, but nothing under, the specified length.

The smoothness or lack of burrs on the edge of the tube.

The angle from side to side or top to bottom, generally measured as a degree from a perfect 90 degrees with the tube side.


The actual length of the straight section between the tangent points of two adjoining bends (i.e., common tangent).

The angle, expressed in number of degrees, to which the bend is formed (e.g., 45 degrees, 90 degrees, 180 degrees).

A precision measuring device with parallel jaws or legs, with a shape similar to a clock face. The device is used to measure linear dimensions, thickness, or diameter.


An electroplating process performed on steel to prevent corrosion. Zinc, which is in a solution form, is deposited on the steel surface by an electric current.

The deposition of a metallic coating onto an object by putting a negative charge onto the object and immersing it into a solution which contains a salt of the metal to be deposited. The metallic ions of the salt carry a positive charge and are attracted to the part. The negatively charged part provides the electrons needed to reduce the positively charged ions to metallic form.

Metal forming process that creates raised or sunken designs in sheet or strip metal. In theory, there should not be any change in metal thickness. The material is passed between rolls with the desired pattern.


The designation used for certain straight chromium steels that exhibit microstructure consisting mainly of ferrite at ordinary temperatures. Ferritic stainless steels are divided into two classifications: hardenable, and nonhardenable. When rapidly cooled from elevated temperatures, the nonhardenable grades (ferritic) have a ferritic microstructure. The hardenable grades (martensitic) will exhibit a martensitic microstructure when rapidly cooled.

The type of surface condition desired or existing in the final product.

A process of heating the surface layer of an iron-base alloy above the transformation temperature range by means of the flame of a high-temperature torch followed by quenching.

A projecting rim or edge of a part, usually narrow and of approximately constant width for stiffening or fastening.

An operation converting a flat sheet metal workpiece into a 3-D part.

The condition of the steel strip after going through the process of cold rolling and before it is annealed or tempered. In this stage, the steel is strong but is also springy and brittle.


The process of coating steel with zinc to create a surface that is highly resistant to corrosion.

A procedure for producing a zinc-iron alloy coating on iron or steel by keeping the coating molten after hot-dip galvanizing until the zinc alloys completely with the basis metal.

Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), or tungsten inert gas (TIG), is a welding process where an arc is formed between a non-consumable tungsten electrode and the metal being welded. The gas is fed through the torch to shield the electrode and molten weld pool. TIG is often used in high quality, high precision, welding applications. It’s also a somewhat complicated welding method, since coordination is required by the welder.


Heat-affected zone. The portion of the base metal which has not been melted but whose mechanical properties or microstructure has been altered by the heat of welding or cutting.

An abbreviation for hot-rolled, which is a term that defines steel bars that have received no further treatment after they have been rolled to the desired thickness or gauge. Hot rolling is a process that is performed at an elevated temperature which makes the metal pliable.

An abbreviation for hot-rolled pickled and oiled, which is a treatment applied to some metal after it has been hot-rolled. The treatment consists of passing the metal through an acid to remove surface oxides, and then rinsing and oiling the metal to reduce the formation of rust.

A broad category of steel products commonly having yield strength in excess of 40,000 PSI. Also called high-strength steels.

One of the items found on the identification tag that is attached to each coil when it is received from the steel mill. The heat number is the identification number of the batch of steel from which this steel coil was made.

A process in which material is folded back on itself or over a mating part. This is a multistage forming operation. First, a sharp-angle bend is made; next, the bend is closed using a flat punch and a die. See teardrop hem, rope hem, and open hem high-strength steels.

Passing a steel strip through a molten zinc bath for the purpose of protecting the surface from corrosion.

A treatment applied to some metal after it has been hot-rolled. The treatment consists of passing the metal through an acid to remove surface oxides, and then rinsing and oiling the metal to reduce the formation of rust.


refers to practices that focus on continuous improvement of processes in manufacturing or business management.


An imperfection in a coil of steel resulting from blisters, seams, foreign material, and/or scratches on an ingot or billet of steel that is not repaired during the rolling process.

The use of a highly concentrated beam of light to generate enough heat to pierce and cut. Based on the principle of light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation, laser machines generate waves of light that are consistent in phase, frequency and direction of travel; the light is described as correlated, coherent, and collimated. Although the metals industry initially relied on carbon dioxide (CO2) lasers, fiberoptic lasers began to gain ground in the middle of the 2000s decade.

Any manufacturing process in which all steps that produce no value for the customer, such as material handling, have been reduced to a minimum or eliminated.


Often referred to as wire-feed welding or a semi-automatic welding process, metal inert gas welding arc welding process that uses heat generated by a DC electric arc to fuse the metal in the joint area. Wire is fed continuously from a spool during welding.

A sheet of paper containing detailed information on the hazards of each hazardous material in the workplace. OSHA requires all employers to provide these and make them readily accessible to employees. Also called material safety data sheet.

A measure of the ease with which a material can be shaped with the aid of cutting or abrasive tools.

Removing material from a metal part, usually using a cutting tool, and usually using a power-driven machine.

The extent to which a good can be manufactured with relative ease at minimum cost and maximum reliability.

The movement, protection, storage and control of materials and products throughout the process of their manufacture and distribution, consumption and disposal.

A sheet of paper containing detailed information on the hazards of each hazardous material in the workplace. OSHA requires all employers to provide these and make them readily accessible to employees.

A term used to describe the difference between the raw material weight used to produce a part and the actual weight of the finished part. The higher the percentage of utilization, the better and more economical the stamping process.

A precision measuring instrument used to determine thickness to an accuracy of one-thousandth of an inch.

A type of steel in which carbon is the primary alloying element, with the level of carbon contained in a steel being one of the most important factors governing its mechanical properties. Mild steel has no more than 1.65% manganese, 0.6% silicon or 0.6% copper. Mild steel is available with varying levels of formability. The more formable grades are typically more costly than the less formable grades.

The wall thickness specified on the fabrication drawing or computed in accordance with the applicable specification as the minimum acceptable for the design criteria.

An elastic modulus, or modulus of elasticity, is the mathematical description of an object or substance’s tendency to be deformed elastically (not permanently) when a force is applied to it. The elastic modulus of an object is defined as the slope of its stress–strain curve in the elastic deformation region.


The cutting out of various sheet metal shapes from the edge of a blank, strip, or part.


An undesirable coil condition in which the material appears dished. It can be caused in the cold rolling process if too much pressure is placed on the center of the strip, overstretching and lengthening the center of the material. If the material is rolled, the bumps simply transfer to the other side or pop in and out like an oil can.

A hem is a flange that has been bent more than 180 degrees. The open hem is primarily used for the attachment of one sheet metal part to another.


Used for bending sheet and plate material, but most commonly sheet metal. The piece that is being worked on is clamped between a matching punch and die, forming predetermined bends. Normally utilized in a very typical metal fabricating machine process.

The daily plan of what products will be produced that day.


Welding processes performed and controlled by robotic equipment. In addition to executing specific steps dictated by a software program, robotic welding often is augmented by a vision system or other sensors to verify the presence of the parts to be joined. A chief advantage over manual welding is consistency. A corresponding drawback is that the workpieces usually must be manufactured to closer, more consistent tolerances than those joined by manual welding.

A metal forming process in which metal stock is passed through one or more pairs of rolls to reduce the thickness and to make the thickness uniform.


Damage resulting from the movement of a hard pointed object.

A manual arc welding process that uses a consumable electrode coated in flux. An electric current, either alternating current or direct current, forms an electric arc between the electrode and the metals to be joined. As the weld is laid, the flux coating of the electrode disintegrates, providing a shielding gas and a layer of slag, both of which protect the weld from contamination until it cools. Because of the versatility of the process and the simplicity of its equipment and operation, shielded metal arc welding is the most commonly used welding process.

Small particles of nonmetallic material that are expelled during the fusion of the filler metal and base metal.

The movement of the bent pipe or tube toward the original straight configuration after release of the bending moment.

Fine irregularities in the surface texture of a material, usually including those resulting from the inherent action of the production process. Surface roughness is usually reported as the arithmetic roughness Ra and is given in micrometers or microinches.


A nonstandard term for gas tungsten arc welding.


A measuring instrument used to do close-tolerance length measurements.


The thickness of the material.

A weld resulting from a weld pass.

Joining two or more pieces of material by applying heat or pressure, or both, with or without filler material, to produce a localized union through fusion or recrystallization across the interface.

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