Metal stamping is a very cost-effective alternative to casting, which is why it is used in so many industries today, particularly by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’s), who are well aware of how recyclable sheet metal is. OEM’s in the aerospace industry, as well as those who deal in appliances and in automotives, are among the biggest makers of metal-stamped parts, often producing their own parts right on-site. Metal-stamped parts are extremely popular across many industries, by virtue of their high quality and cost-effective nature. Here is how the metal stamping process works.
The metal stamping process
During the metal stamping process, some metal such as steel is cut, and formed into a shape which is desired by a client. The metal stamping process requires three essential components: the metal from which the part will be made, a stamping press, and a stamping die. To begin the process, a flat sheet of metal called a blank, is inserted between a punch and a stamping die, in order to create the shape which is desired. The stamping press is composed of the following parts:
The blank holder – during stamping, this will hold onto the blank for control
The die – the die will determine the outside shape of the component being built
The punch – the punch determines the inner shape of the component being built
The bolster plate – this is the lower portion of the die, which is stationary
The blank – this is the part of the metal which is punched through the die.
When a blank is punched from the sheet metal, it comes right through the die, which has been constructed at a slight angle so as to prevent the blanks from becoming stuck inside the press. The press itself is a very powerful machine which requires approximately 70 tons of pressure to cut a 10 inch circle out of sheet metal that is .125 inches thick. Presses built today can range anywhere from 10 tons to 50,000 tons of force which can be exerted on the metal being cut.
In order to work correctly, the metal stamping process requires a number of different workers at various stages of the operation. A machinist is necessary so that the die components can be cut to the correct dimensions. Then a die maker must test the dies for uniformity and will also assemble the stamping tools. A maintenance technician is also necessary, so that any repairs can be made and the dies can be maintained. If any problems arise during the metal stamping process, the maintenance technician will likely be able to resolve them.
After the stamping process has been completed, some parts will require additional work. Another process called deep drawing is sometimes necessary, and in this process, a flat blank is drawn very slowly over a special kind of forming die in order to achieve a shape which is desired. After this has been accomplished, any excess material is cut away from the deep drawn metal, and that metal might then have to be flanged.
Other metal stamping services
Beyond the ordinary metal stamping process, a number of other metal stamping services are sometimes required, such as progressive die stamping, blanking, laser cutting, piercing, coining, forming, and bending. Together all these metal stamping processes are responsible for the creation of a huge number of products used by people in their everyday lives.
A few examples are washers and dryers, which are made from a specific metal stamping process, as well as many of the pots and pans that are used for baking and cooking. Even silverware are often derived from a metal stamping processes. Metal stamping has probably been a big influence on your life, without you ever having realized it.
AAA Tool & Machine has become recognized as a valued partner in the metal stamping industry for our strong Tool Design and Build competency. This, combined with our metal stamping capacity, precision machining services, and EDM capability make us a full service provider that can deliver value in your tooling and stamping needs. Contact us today to see how we can help you work even better.