Uses for Rivets in Manufacturing and Construction(chamfer the edges Winifred)

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Rivets are one of the most versatile and commonly used fasteners in manufacturing, construction, and other industries. A rivet is a mechanical fastener that joins two or more pieces of material by passing a metal rod through aligned holes in the pieces and then forming a head on one or both ends by upsetting. The shank of the rivet fills the hole and the malleable head holds the rivet in place. Rivets come in a wide variety of styles, sizes and materials for different applications. Here are some of the main uses for rivets.
In Metal Fabrication and Machining
Rivets are ubiquitous in metal fabrication and machining applications. They are used to join sheet metal parts in everything from aircraft fuselages to file cabinets. Rivets create strong permanent joints between metal parts and are relatively easy to install with either manual or pneumatic rivet guns. Common rivet types used in sheet metal fabrication include:
- Solid rivets - made of one piece of metal in various alloys. Used for high strength applications.
- Blind rivets - tubular rivets that can be installed from one side without access to the back. Used when full access to both sides is not possible.
- Self-piercing rivets - pierce through stacked layers of material and do not require pre-drilled holes. Used to join dissimilar or multi-layer materials.
- Drive rivets - designed to replace weld studs for attaching materials to metal structures. Provide good electrical conductivity.
In addition to sheet metal parts, rivets are also extensively used to assemble machined metal parts in all types of machinery and equipment.
In Construction and Infrastructure
The versatility, strength and ease of installation of rivets make them ideal fasteners for construction projects using metal structural components. Some common uses of rivets in building and infrastructure include:
- Assembling steel beams, girders and columns for bridges, high-rises, stadiums and other large structures. Rivets provide reliable connections that can handle vibration and load stresses.
- Joining rails for railroad tracks. The gap between rails is spanned using steel tie plates that are riveted to the rails.
- Assembling transmission towers, radio masts, wind turbines and other tall structures where vibration resistance is critical.
- Connecting steel reinforcement rebar inside concrete structures. The rivets allow strength transfer between rebar while permitting some movement.
- Building metal facades, canopies, staircases, handrails and other architectural features. Rivets allow pre-fabrication for faster on-site assembly.
- Connecting drainage grates, manhole covers, lampposts and other street furniture items made of steel or iron.
For all these uses, different rivet types are selected based on strength, corrosion resistance and installation factors required.
In Aircraft and Aerospace Applications
Rivets have long been the fasteners of choice in aircraft manufacturing. Early aircraft frames were assembled using millions of rivets. While welding is now used more extensively, rivets are still used in many locations:
- Riveting aluminum alloy sheets to form the exterior skin and structural components. Rivets allow flexibility to handle flight stresses and vibration.
- Attaching stringers, ribs, bulkheads and other interior structures that give the fuselage shape and strength.
- Joining wings, stabilizers and flight control surfaces. Rivets provide strong smooth joints that minimize drag.
- Installing engine mounts, landing gear struts, and other components where high strength is needed.
- Assembling access panels, doors, windows and other removable parts to allow maintenance access.
Aircraft rivets are precisely engineered and manufactured to aerospace standards for diameters, head styles, materials and drive settings. Rivet selection depends on location, materials being joined, structural loads, and other factors.
In Ships, Boats and Maritime Applications
The abundant use of metal in ships and boats makes rivets an essential fastening method in these applications:
- Assembling hull plates and frames out of steel or aluminum. Riveting produces watertight joints that can withstand sea forces.
- Joining decks, bulkheads and other internal structures. Rivets allow ship flexing without fastener failure.
- Installing piping, rails, ladders, and other fixed equipment through drilled holes.
- Attaching propellers, rudders, and other propulsion components. Rivets handle vibration and resist corrosion from saltwater.
- Building offshore oil platforms, buoys, channel markers and other marine structures exposed to harsh sea conditions.
Marine grade rivets offer high strength as well as excellent corrosion resistance from ocean water and weather. Stainless steel and monel rivets are common choices.
In Automotive and Transportation Applications
Rivets are commonly used to assemble many components in vehicles and transport equipment:
- Joining panels to form chassis, bodywork, doors, hoods and storage compartments in cars, trucks, trains and aircraft.
- Attaching brackets, tubes, panels and other parts in the vehicle frame or interior.
- Installing equipment like seats, racks, doors, windows, wheels and axles.
- Joining drive train and engine components where vibration resistance is critical.
- Assembling freight car and shipping container bodies out of metal panels.
- Building truck trailers, rail cars, bicycles and motorcycles.
The main advantages of rivets in transport applications are strength, vibration resistance, corrosion resistance, ease of automation, and ability to absorb shock loads. Automotive rivets come in a wide range of head styles, materials and coatings tailored specifically for vehicle manufacturing and assembly.
In Consumer Products and Electronics
Countless consumer products use rivets in their manufacture and assembly:

- Joining parts on appliances like washers, refrigerators, kitchenware and power tools made of sheet metal and plastic.
- Assembling aluminum cases for smartphones, tablets, laptops and other electronics. Rivets allow thin, lightweight and rigid construction.
- Building retail display units, shelving, furniture and other products from metal tubing or sheet material.
- Attaching handles, hinges and other hardware on luggage, cases, recreational products and storage equipment.
- Joining components on exercise equipment, playground structures, bicycles and numerous other consumer items.
- Assembling musical instruments such as guitars, drums, wind instruments and pianos.
The range of rivet types, sizes, styles and materials allows cost-effective manufacture of almost any riveted consumer product. Automated riveting systems are commonly employed in high-volume production.
In Summary
Rivets have proven to be versatile, reliable and economical fasteners suitable for almost limitless applications. They are used extensively wherever strong permanent joints are required between metal parts. The riveting process is fast, simple and readily automated. By selecting the optimum rivet type and alloy for the materials and service conditions, manufacturers and builders can achieve robust assemblies and structures. Rivets will continue to be ubiquitous industrial fasteners for the foreseeable future. CNC Milling