A Brief Guide to Metal Stamping
At Clairon Metals Corporation, we are a premier contract manufacturer offering a variety of metalworking services to customers across a wide range of industries. One of our core service offerings is metal stamping, both progressive and hand transfer. Armed with over 30 years of industry experience and advanced equipment, we have the knowledge, skills, and tools to provide comprehensive production solutions for simple to complex stamping projects.
What Is Metal Stamping?
Metal stamping is a metalworking process that employs tool and die sets and specialized presses to form metal sheets and coils into net shapes. It is a cold working manufacturing method, meaning it typically creates the desired parts and products from room temperature materials in room temperature conditions.
Compared to other manufacturing methods, metal stamping offers a number of advantages. For example:
- It produces strong and durable components that conform to tight tolerances.
- It allows for quick and cost-effective production of identical pieces in high volumes.
- It utilizes tooling made from durable materials, which enables them to withstand thousands of cycles without sustaining excess wear.
The process encompasses a variety of metal forming operations, such as:
- Bending: This stamping process forms bends and/or curves in the component.
- Blanking: This stamping process cuts the component from the larger piece of metal.
- Coining: This stamping process creates fine details on the surface of the component.
- Embossing: This stamping process creates raised or recessed patterns or designs on the surface of the component.
- Flanging: This stamping process creates flanges on the ends of the component.
- Punching: This stamping process forms holes in the component.
- Extruding: This stamping process draws material into a punched hole to create a circular flange
- Drawing: This stamping process pulls or stretches material into shapes that wouldn’t normally be formed without wrinkling of the material
These operations may shape the material (e.g., bending) or trim, cut, or bore the component. Many stamping projects combine multiple stamping operations into a single cycle to increase production efficiency and, consequently, decrease production costs.
Types of Metal Stamping Methods
Two of the primary metal stamping operations are: single hit and progressive die operations.
- Single-hit dies are typically less expensive and smaller but require interaction with the die and press for each single operation or stroke to be completed. The dies can have one station or multiple but an operator puts in a blank or moves the parts from station to station and presses palm buttons after each move to stroke the press and hit the part or parts in each station. This can be automated to transfer the blanks or parts between stations but the blanks and parts are independent of each other.
- Progressive dies have a series of stations in one die through which coils of steel or strips are fed automatically from which a complete part typically comes out after being processed through all stations in the die. The press strokes automatically and a feeder advances the material with each stroke. You can watch the part go through all the stations and become a completed part which exits the die onto a chute or conveyor typically.
Single hit dies run slower than progressive dies but can sometimes produce features that are difficult if not impossible in a progressive die and can be very expensive, however progressive dies are fast and very consistent to reduce cost and improve repeatability.
At Clairon Metals Corp., do a high percentage of progressive die handling volumes from thousands to millions of parts per year.
There are many characteristics of stampings which are part of the process and should be considered when designing stampings such as:
- Edge condition – A stamped edge or sheared surface has both shear and breakaway. The amount of breakaway or roughness on the edge depends on die clearance.
- Radii and Burr – the top edge of a sheared surface has a radius while the bottom edge has a burr that is typically less than 10% of material thickness
- Gussets – These are formed ribs typically in corners that can provide significant added strength to reduce weight.
- Galling – Formed and drawn surfaces can show signs of material dragging on the surface which can create an unacceptable cosmetic condition.
- Thinning – When drawing material it can thin as it stretches but this can be controlled.
- Lancing – Stampings can be only partially punched leaving a tab that is still connected and embedded in the material.
- Compressing – It is possible to decrease the thickness of the steel in the area by compressing the steel in the press.
There are these and many more characteristics that should be considered for the best design and cosmetics of your part.
Many other operations can be incorporated into stamping dies and tapping is one example. Tapping refers to the process of cutting or forming threads into holes. While many metal stamped components require this design element, stamping companies do not have experience with this in die tapping capability. As a result, tapping was performed after the completion of the stamping process, which increased lead times and labor costs. As stamping technology advanced, however, in-die stamping became possible.
In-die tapping uses specialized in-die tapping units which can be fitted to the stamping dies. They enable metal stampers to combine the stamping and tapping process into a single step, allowing for the production of complete stamped and tapped parts without the need for a separate tapping step. By replacing separate tapping operations with in-die tapping operations, metal stampers can decrease labor costs while increasing production rates.
Contact Clairon Metals for Your Metal Stamping Needs Today!
Whether you need progressive die stamping, transfer die stamping, or in-die tapping for your metal stamping project, Clairon Metals Corporation has got you covered. We offer metal stamping capabilities for simple to complex components and medium-volume to high-volume production quantities.
We work with a variety of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, including, but not limited to, low-carbon cold-rolled and hot-rolled steel, high-strength, low-alloy (HSLA) coil, high-carbon, and spring steel, prepaint coil, galvanized and galvalume steel, and stainless steel.
In addition to our metal stamping capabilities, we offer a variety of other services to support customer projects, such as:
- Engineering design consultation
- In-house tool/die design and construction
- Manual and Robotic Welding
- Secondary machining and assembly
- Custom packaging
To learn more about our metal stamping or other services, contact us today.
To discuss your next metalworking project with one of our experts, request a quote. Our team will work with you one-on-one to determine the most effective and affordable manufacturing solution.