The clinching process is a fairly new process which allows to or more sheets of metal or other materials to be joined without the use of welding, rivets, screws or nuts and bolts. Obviously this is a process which can save time in a lot of industries as there is less need for safety than with welding and less work and better results than with using rivets, screws or nuts and bolts. The process was developed by Jurado Tools who quickly patented it and have since patented many of the tools which are now available to successfully clinch materials together. As there may yet be more uses for this process, Jurado Tools have combined their research with an Italian University to hopefully discover them. It would appear though that the medical industry certainly believes that the process could have more applications, especially in their field and so they are carrying out research of their own to discover those. At this time neither the aerospace or railroad industries are using this process but they are investigating the possible uses it could have to them but the auto industry is already using the process at it manufacturing plants. Engineers in the construction and oil and gas industries are already using the process which has particular advantages to the oil and gas industry as the joins are unaffected by weather conditions or chemicals. Even the manufacturers of household appliances have started to use the process and have indicated that they could use it more in the future.
The process is better described on the Jurado website or on Wikipedia but basically it uses a clinching machine, special pliers and dies to compact the sheets of material together, creating a join between them known as a ‘button’. This button can be in a variety of shapes and sizes, depending on the types of material to be joined, the number of sheets to be joined and the thickness of the sheets to be joined. Although primarily intended to join sheets of metal together, it has been shown to be effective in also joining metal sheets with polymers. Two shaped dies are mainly used, a round die and a trapezoid die but the round die is most commonly used as it is designed to be used to join just two sheets with a join that can withstand pressures from any angle. The trapezoid die is used when more than two sheets are to be joined but even that can withstand pressures from many angles. The size of the tool which is used with the die will depend on how thick the sheets to be joined are and the location where the joining will take place. Although some of the larger tools are designed to be static, used in just one place, there are smaller more mobile ones which can be used in multiple locations. Some of the tools have even been especially designed for use in areas where access is very limited and often where other processes could not be carried out.