Metal stamping, or metal pressing, is a term that encompasses a wide range of techniques designed to create precise shapes from a flat sheet of metal. This efficient, cost-effective manufacturing process is used by industries such as automotive, aerospace, agriculture, medical, electronics, and others for producing durable, reliable stamped steel components. Because metal stamping is automated, it requires less manual labor and reduces the risk of error and material waste, resulting in highly accurate, high-quality components at a lower price point.
In metal stamping, stainless steel is one of many materials used to create complex parts, and it’s preferred in many industries for its appearance, strength, and durability.
Metal Stamping Processes
Metal stamping can involve various metal forming processes depending on the application. Common techniques include:
- Blanking. This process cuts a piece out of the sheet metal using a die. It creates the general shape of the product, with consideration to the diameter of the hole, the geometry and tapering, and the space from the edge to the hole. During this process, it’s important to minimize burrs and jagged edges, as correcting those errors will add expense and time to the project.
- Bending. This is the twisting and turning of sheet metal, typically into an L-, U-, or V-shape. When bending metal, there are several considerations you have to make before you start the project. The part has to be designed so that there is enough material to complete a bend. Every corner should have a radius that’s at least half the thickness of the material, and any slots or notches should have a width of at least one-and-a-half times that of the material’s thickness. Putting a bend too close to the hole can deform the shape, and care must be taken to avoid burrs.
- Coining. This process involves using the tip of the die in a metal stamping machine to bend the edges of the metal component, which relieves internal stress and creates more strength in localized areas. Coined parts don’t spring back when flexed, and sometimes this process can be used to flatten or break burrs without turning to a secondary process like deburring or grinding.
Typically, a finished component will require several of these processes, among others. Which ones you need depend upon the structural requirements for the part as well as any aesthetic requirements.
Stainless Steel Stamping
There are many materials used in precision metal stamping, including steel, stainless steel, brass, copper, aluminum, and other alloys, and each has its own advantages for specific applications. For example, brass is common for decorative fixtures and corrosion-resistant agricultural tool components, while aluminum is often used for aircraft components, ductwork, and cooking utensils.
Stainless steel stampings, in particular, are growing in popularity because of the many benefits this material has to offer, including:
- Cost Effective. Although stainless steel may have higher upfront costs compared to other materials, it lasts for years without losing its appearance, quality, strength, and integrity.
- Attractive Appearance. Stainless steel has long been prized for its sleek, modern aesthetic, making it a popular choice for external finishing components. Stainless steel can also be electropolished to further enhance its appearance.
- Strong and Durable. Stainless steel retains its strength at both high and low temperatures. When compared to carbon steel, stainless steel is harder and more ductile.
- Resistant to Heat. When alloyed with chromium and nickel, stainless steel resists fire and thermal stress, making it an ideal choice in many high-temperature applications.
- Formability. Stainless steel has a high tensile strength, and it’s relatively easy to form.
- Sanitary. Stainless steel doesn’t encourage mold or bacterial growth. It’s also easy to clean, which is why it’s common in industries where sanitation is a priority, such as medical, food, beverage, and pharmaceutical.
- Sustainable. For companies who want to be more environmentally responsible, stainless steel is among the most sustainable choices. It creates durable components that last a long time, and when those parts do need to be replaced, stainless steel is 100% recyclable. Many of the new stainless steel components produced today are made of recycled stainless steel.
Precision Metal Stamping Capabilities
Stainless steel stamping is ideal for creating components for various industries, such as appliances, medical device manufacturing, construction, electronics, military & defense, aerospace, automotive, renewable energy, communications, and more. Common applications include:
- Brackets and hangers
- Electrical connectors
- Lead frames
- Surgical instruments
- Implants and prosthetics
- Motor components
- Ovens, thermostats, washers, and other appliances
- Clamps and clips
- Fan blades
- Grounding straps
- Irrigation systems
- Pool filtration systems
- And more!
At Associated Fastening Products, Inc., we offer custom stamped steel solutions for prototyping as well as small and large production runs. With a press rating of up to 450 tons and a press speed of 50 to 450 cycles per minute, our team of experts can produce complex steel components ranging in length from .25 to 240 inches with diameters and widths of up to 12 inches, thicknesses of up to .25 inches, and tolerances of ± 0.0005 inches.
We produce parts according to stringent industry standards, including ANSI, ASTM, DIN, ISO, IFI, and MWFA. We are also ISO 9001:2008 registered and QS 14000 compliant. Our internal quality control systems are designed to ensure complete satisfaction with your metal stamped products, and we work closely with you throughout your project to ensure we meet your unique application requirements.
The Associated Fastening Stamped Steel Advantage
More than 30 years ago, we saw the need for greater quality and consistency in the manufacturing and distribution of standard and specialty fasteners. Over the years, we’ve expanded our offerings to include hard-to-find stamped steel items and a wide range of machined products, including cold-headed fasteners, screw machine parts, and fastening products.
As a full-line supplier with multiple distribution centers throughout the country, we work to elevate the customer service experience with short lead times, on-time delivery, and hot-rush orders. In addition to specialty component manufacturing, we offer a range of secondary services that allow us to complete your entire project under one roof.
We believe our service makes the difference, which is why we invest heavily in our team and equipment to ensure we have the most up-to-date knowledge and systems to streamline your project. Contact us to learn more about our steel stamping capabilities, or request a quote to get started.