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The Basics of Sheet Metal Stamping

Operator using a sheet metal press machine.Sheet metal stamping is one of the most cost-effective ways to produce a high volume of identical parts at a rapid rate. While using a combination of dies and stamping presses, sheet metal can be pressed or transformed into the desired shape by feeding the raw material between die sections and applying pressure to the material. The flexibility and durability of sheet metal allows for this transformation to take place into the desired shape; however, this transformation must occur under tons of pressure using a specialized machine to apply this pressure.

What machine do you use to stamp the sheet metal?

To effectively transform the sheet metal, thousands of pounds of pressure are required. This can be done using different types of presses such as servo-drive, crank-drive, and hydraulic-drive presses.
Image of a 440 ton blanking line
With an automated blanking punch press system such as the 440-ton blanking line above, an uncoiler holds the raw material until it is ready to be used. Once production is ready to begin, a straightener pulls the coil material from the uncoiler into the ultrasonic loop control (gives direction to the straightener using ultrasound) and a servo-feeder motor then pulls the material from the loop and into the punch press (tool).  The servo-feeder is fully programable and allows for control of the feed length and pilot release.
Image of a uncoiled equipped with peeler threader.During the press brake operation, other specific metal forming processes can occur at the same time. These specific processes can include:

  • Blanking
  • Punching
  • Coining
  • Bending
  • Embossing
  • Flanging

Advantages and Disadvantages of Stamping

While stamping can be a cost-effective production process for both low and high-volume parts, it has its own set of advantages and disadvantages depending on the application.

Some advantages to using a punch press system include:

  • Lower piece price
  • Faster blanking and forming run rate
  • More consistent quality due to a repeatable production process
  • A Progressive Die ensures all forms/features are “Tool Controlled” – No missing features or formed backwards parts, etc.

Some disadvantages include:

  • Initial NRE (Tooling Cost) can be higher than other fabrication methods
  • Longer lead time to initial shipment (tooling lead time)
  • Typically, more difficult to integrate revision and/or part design changes

Being an important production process that reaches a variety of industries, sheet metal stamping is an essential production operation that touches our daily lives in some way. From stamped parts inside the vehicle you drive, to the oven you cook your food with, you are encountering stamped metal parts. Have a project you would like our engineers to evaluate for a cost-effective production solution? Reach out to us today at sales@mcalpin-ind.com with any questions.

 
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