1. What is precision metal stamping?
Precision metal stamping is a high-volume metalworking process that uses stamping tools to press material into the desired shape to create sheet metal parts. This is done according to a pattern where each part is removed from the motherboard after stamping.
Precision metal stamping enables manufacturers to create parts that require undercuts, multiple features, or frangible walls for assembly. It uses high-pressure equipment to press the metal plate into the mold, so the shape of the product has geometric accuracy and good surface finish.
Second, the advantages of precision metal stamping
Precision metal stamping offers manufacturers and end users a variety of advantages. These include:
1. Mass production
Precision metal stamping can make thousands to millions of parts in a single run. This is more productive than other metalworking processes such as CNC machining, fabrication or welding.
This process is ideal for high volume manufacturing, where hardware parts are manufactured in large volumes.
Precision metal stamping is versatile, the same tooling can be used to produce a variety of components, and requires little additional setup or adjustment between production runs.
Therefore, precision metal stamping has higher uniformity compared to other industrial processes. Since all products are stamped from sheet, they have the same wall thickness and nearly the same surface finish, making post-production assembly and quality control inspections easier.
Precision metal stamping also supports mass customization of final products through automated variable design to quickly meet unique customer requirements.
Precision metal stamping is a versatile process capable of producing a range of parts with varying surface finishes and tolerances.
It also produces parts with thin walls, deep draws and undercuts that would otherwise be challenging to produce using other processes such as CNC machining or fabrication.
This makes precision metal stamping an excellent choice for aerospace, medical implants, automotive, lighting and consumer electronics product development where precise shapes and thin walls are required.
Precision metal stamping is one of the few technologies capable of producing the specific thin-wall geometries required for demanding electronic packaging applications due to its ability to create deep-drawn features.
4. Ease of use
Engineers and designers find precision metal stamping easy to use because it can replace complex shapes with minimal tooling.
This capability provides customers with greater design flexibility and opens the door to conceptual exploration early in product development.
It also helps them reduce costs by minimizing material waste, as fewer mold changes are required with each new part design iteration.
Using precision metal stamping makes it easier to manufacture precisely designed parts because they require less machining time for secondary operations throughout the production process. This results in a more efficient workflow, especially at high volumes.
5. Minimize material waste
Precision metal stamping is an economical manufacturing process because it uses the minimum amount of material needed to make the part.
This feature allows manufacturers to manufacture thin-walled products without the need for complex secondary operations, such as CNC machining, which can be time-consuming and expensive.
Compared to large die casting machines for mass production, precision metal stamping has lower start-up costs. Therefore, it is beneficial when the production demand is not large but the volume is still high.
It also provides a high degree of flexibility, with design options available to manufacturers for custom-made items that cannot be produced any other way. This means they can earn higher profits without much initial investment.
7. Least secondary operations
For precision metal stamping, secondary operations, such as cutting threads after production, are usually not required. The process simultaneously creates accurately shaped features without any errors, such as pre-drilling, countersinking, or cutting threads. Secondary machining often adds cost and time-to-market, but hand-finishing is minimal after stamping, again saving money and time.
3. Precautions when using precision metal stamping technology
1. Surface quality
The surface quality of a stamped part depends on the metal used, its hardness, thickness and whether it is heat treated after stamping. Softer materials are more prone to scratching during the stamping process, while thicker metals are less prone because they are more resistant to pressure from the tool. Heat treatment helps improve the grain structure of the metal, making it harder and more resistant to wear without compromising the strength of the material.
Undercuts can cause difficulties during stamping because they make it difficult for the tool to fully penetrate the sheet metal.
One way to get around this is to use a progressive die instead of one big die to cut out the shape of all the parts at once. Multiple dies perform small cuts until all part features are achieved. Progressive punching also reduces the force required to release the undercut, but it also limits production speed and can lead to irregular shapes that require secondary operations to clean up.
3. Tolerance and Accuracy
Tolerance refers to the amount of variation allowed in dimensions in the part design, while accuracy refers to how close the final measurement is to the expected dimensions.
Precision metal stamping can achieve precise dimensions and tight tolerances because, unlike other manufacturing processes, it uses controlled forces to produce parts.
Parts produced using this process are closer to specification than parts made using alternative methods such as CNC machining or welding.
4. Material strength and tool wear
To keep costs low, manufacturers often use softer, cheaper metals to make tools. However, using less robust tooling results in a compromise in material strength that can adversely affect design and quality, especially when the product requires thin-walled geometries. Such tools can place excessive compressive stress on components.
Stress from the tool is a major cause of material deformation, so this trade-off must be considered when designing metal stampings.
5. Product complexity and cost
The complexity of a part’s design determines how many tools are required to manufacture all its features. However, manufacturers may address this cost by performing secondary operations on specific components in the same production run, rather than making unique tooling for complex shapes or geometries such as undercuts.
This allows manufacturers to produce multi-component products in multiple materials at once without increasing costs.
Precision metal stamping is used in a variety of industries to produce metal parts with complex geometries and other features that are too costly or impossible to manufacture with alternative manufacturing methods such as die casting and machining.
While manufacturers need to consider budget, machine capacity, tool quality, and other factors when choosing the right process for their business, precision metal stamping is known for its accuracy.Read More →