Metal stamping, also referred to as metal pressing in some industries, is the process of creating two-dimensional metal components from a sheet of metal using a stamping tool or die. Raw pieces of unblemished sheet metal are fed through a stamping press and altered by the die to produce a high volume of identical components. Metal stamping is a quick process that can produce a high volume of identical components in a short amount of time.
Metal Stamping Processes/Techniques
Several techniques can be performed during the metal stamping process, including:
Exactly as it sounds, bending is the process of twisting and flexing sheet metal into a desired shape. Typically, pieces are bent around one axis into L-, U-, or V-shaped forms.
Blanking involves cutting pieces out of a piece of sheet metal using a die. It creates clean components, or blanks, that can undergo further processing by the stamping press or other machinery.
During this process, a technician places a piece of metal between a die and punch in a stamping machine, and then uses the tip of the punch to penetrate the material and bend it. This process is repeated to relieve internal stresses throughout the component. When flexed, a coined material should not exhibit any spring-back effects.
Curling is a technique wherein a hollow and circular roll is introduced to the component. The curl is stronger than the rest of the component and safer to handle.
Primarily used in the creation of electronic components, drawing is a process that uses tensile force to shape the component into a desired thickness and shape. During the drawing process, blanks are drawn over a die, slowly stretching them and manipulating them into a new structure.
Blanks can be embossed by both raising and recessing the sheet metal components. Embossing is a process referring to the creation of recessions or protrusions in the component, which is achieved by passing the blank along a roller die or against a die with the desired shape.
Flanging uses dies, presses, or specialized machinery to introduce a flange onto a component. It shouldn’t mark or wrinkle the material.
Forming is a catch-all term that refers to the processes and techniques that are used to form or shape blanks.
Piercing is a technique wherein a technician uses a punch and die to introduce holes, slots, or notches into the component. The tight tolerances produced by piercing allow for a cleaner cut than drilling, and it’s also more productive than laser cutting.
Similar to blanking, punching is the process of removing parts of a blank to further refine it. Instead of cutting new blanks out of a sheet of material, punching removes parts of a component that will be scrapped.
Types of Stamping Operations
There are six types of stamping operations, including:
Deep Draw Stamping
During deep draw stamping operations, a sheet metal blank is pulled into a die via a punch, which forms the sheet metal into the desired shape. The depth of the drawn component must exceed its diameter for the process to be considered a deep draw.
Also known as fine-edge blanking, fine blanking is a highly accurate process of creating blanks that have smooth edges. After blanking operations have been performed on the piece of sheet metal, the created blanks are ejected from the machine for further processing.
In four-slide stamping operations, four different tools are used simultaneously on the component to bend it into complex shapes. The biggest advantage of four-slide stamping is its flexibility. The process lets technicians custom design and process intricate parts with precision.
Progressive Die Stamping
Progressive die stamping occurs via a series of stamping stations. Each step in the stamping process performs a different action that alters the shape of the component being stamped. Progressive die stamping operations are long-lasting because the dies are unlikely to become damaged the process is easy to repeat.
Ideal for small projects and prototypes, short-run metal stamping doesn’t require much upfront tooling to produce a component. The custom nature of short-run stamping operation can create a higher price per piece, but the lack of upfront tooling throughout the run can make the method cost-efficient for some projects.
Transfer Die Stamping
Transfer die stamping operations are the same as progressive die stamping operations except the sheet metal blank is separated early and transferred along a conveyor belt or similar structure.
Sheet Metal Stamping Materials
The following materials can undergo metal stamping:
- Copper (including beryllium copper)
- Phosphor bronze
- Steel (including cold rolled, hot rolled, galvanized, and stainless steel)
Applications of Metal Stamped Components
Components that have been created via metal stamping are commonly used in the following industries:
- Electrical distribution
- General manufacturing
- Medical device manufacturing
- Military and defense
- Renewable energy
Custom Metal Stamping Services from Associated Fastening
At Associated Fastening, we provide precision metal stamping services, including prototyping and custom stamping, at a fair price. To get a quote for a custom project, contact us today.
For more information about our company, please visit our website.