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What is an Ironworker Machine?


An ironworker machine is a fabrication unit used in metal workshops to process metal in various ways. A typical ironworker can shear, punch, notch or even bend metal products without requiring extensive setup times or complicated jig setups.

There are several different ironworkers on the market, ranging from manual home hobbyist machines to large, hydraulic production units; they all allow for more detailed fabrication of metal products.

How does an ironworker work?

A typical ironworker is comprised of a fixed frame, motor, safety shields, the metal working pieces as well as a control panel/foot pedal. Most machines are electronically and/or hydraulically controlled, and some typical working principles include:

  • A sliding plate with a cutting edge to shear metal materials against a fixed edge.
  • A movable punch to produce customizable holes in a variety of metal materials.
  • A ram or sliding arm to force metal products around a fixed point or into a die.

A single operator can complete most actions using a foot pedal or button, with many actions often repeated in quick succession for a steady production flow.

Due to the high forces required to bend and cut metal, hydraulic transmissions are common on ironworker machines.

Using an ironworker machine

Since ironworkers are equipable with a wide range of punches, dies and cutters, you can use them for many different fabricating purposes. The most common applications are cutting and punching metal; however, these machines can also:

  • Punch pipes, flat bars, angles and H-beams
  • Shear angle bars, square bars, round bars, flat bars, channels and I-beams
  • Notch (square and vee)
  • Bend angles

Because of their versatility, any industry that uses metal will have a need for an ironworker.

General capabilities of an ironworker machine

An ironworker machine can come in many different sizes, with the specifications of each one varying accordingly. For example, the weight of an ironworker machine can vary from 1,500kg to over 12,000kg, with the corresponding cutting force ranging from 600kN to 2500kN respectively.

Ironworkers can cut plates from 16mm thick up to 40mm thick, punch through metal up to 35mm thick and cut channel up to 300mm.

Depending on the size of the actual machine, you can feed different lengths of the metal products into an ironworker – it is possible to shear flat plates up to 750mm in length. This makes these machines incredibly versatile and a useful addition to any metal workshop.


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