Everyone wonders how things are made, but do you also wonder about how things are done? Namely, are you familiar with the different processes used by industries to prepare, treat, protect, or otherwise decorate different products? Building a product is one thing, but ensuring it stays in one piece depends on several operations and procedures. Here’s a selection of industrial processes that society benefits from the most.
Metallization is exactly what it sounds like—a procedure that enables substances like plastic, glass, and even other metals to be coated or combined with metal, offering protection, durability, and even beauty. Objects are metalized to keep a surface from being damaged or scratched, prevent corrosion, create conductivity, or make a surface more amenable to adhesives. Several metallization processes are available, including thermal spraying, vacuum metalizing, galvanic metallization, and others. Metals used in the process include tungsten, chrome, steel, nickel, bronze, and aluminum. You’ll see metalized materials in everything from jewelry to telescopes.
Despite the name, fluidization isn’t about converting solids into fluids—that’s liquification. Fluidization involves passing a liquid or gas through a solid, granular material in order to suspend the material in mid-air. This leads to the separation of lighter and heavier substances, which are then dispensed to different holding areas. The name comes from the idea of atoms in a liquid likewise being suspended and having no set form. The most well-known application of fluidization is a hot air popcorn maker. Popcorn kernels are poured into the chamber; then, hot air is blasted upward through the pile. The kernels are suspended and mixed in mid-air, and as they pop, the lighter popcorn blows up and out of the machine. Fluidization is used in coal mining, water softening, and more.
Machine elements are the basic parts of every machine that help the machine work. Specifically, machine elements can range from buttons and switches to belts and gears to ball bearings and seals and beyond. Threading, however, is one of the most common processes, with countless miles of threading added to screws, bolts, nuts, pipes, and devices incorporating worm drives, such as instrument tuners and others. Adding threads ensures that devices are secured, sealed, and stabilized through the simple use of friction. Without threading, everything would, quite literally, fall apart!
Here’s another industrial process that society benefits from every day: boring. Can boring be boring? Perhaps, but without the process of creating, enlarging, and smoothly finishing holes to the proper diameters, few machines could work smoothly and efficiently, if at all. Boring is necessary for creating engine blocks, gun barrels, and more. While making holes may sound like a simple process, it requires plenty of skill, not least because most of the work happens unseen inside the object being bored. And there are more tools for specific functions than you can imagine. Boring? Hardly!