What is Metal Stamping?
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll start by defining: ‘what is metal stamping?’ before explaining exactly why you might consider it as a metal manufacturing process. Metal stamping is a specific process that involves transforming sheet metal into various shapes. We at Salamander Fabrications are metal fabrication specialists, so we’re well-placed in the industry to guide you on what metal stamping entails.
The following guide will explore the answers to the following questions:
- What is metal stamping in sheet metal?
- What does the metal stamping process involve?
- What are the different types of stamping techniques?
- Where is metal stamping applied?
At Salamander Fabrications, we are the leading experts in metal sheet fabrication in the UK, meaning that you can count on us for your metal fabrication needs – regardless of the size of your requirements.
Without further delay, let’s begin our informative deep dive covering ‘what is metal stamping.’
What Is Metal Stamping & What Are Its Use Cases?
As touched on already, metal stamping transforms sheets of metal into specific shapes, of which the finished product is often a useful component that could be used in a number of applications (more on this later). A high volume of metal parts can be produced through metal stamping, making it a highly important process as demand grows.
The Definition of Metal Stamping
Sometimes referred to as ‘metal pressing’, metal stamping is a complex manufacturing process that creates shapes from sheets of metal. This is done through a cold-forming method that forms the desired shape via a stamping tool, also known as a die. The die presses into the metal sheet with intense force in order to create the shape.
An Overview of the Metal Stamping Process
Here is a simple, step-by-step explanation of the preparation for sheet metal stamping:
- Computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) are used to design the tooling for the stamping process. These designs are accurate and precise to ensure that there is adequate clearance for each cut or bend, consequently producing high-quality metal parts.
- Raw materials (sheets of metal) are acquired.
- Tooling machines for the dies can be used to accommodate specific stamping needs.
- The stamping machine itself can be programmed or computer numerically controlled (CNC) to ensure high precision.
Once set-up is complete, the actual stamping begins:
- The flat metal sheet is inserted into the stamping machine.
- A tool and die form the desired shape into the metal through a specific technique (such as blanking, piercing, punching, or bending.)
- The finished product may then be further processed or treated.
Tool Setup and Preparation
The metal stamping process involves the use of machines and the die – both of which can be tailored to match the requirements of the stamping project. Each metal stamping press can have a variety of features that are designed for exact stamping demands.
Stamping Press Operation
During the process, the stamping press will usually be inspected to make sure that it is performing as it should. Various stamping methods can be used. These include:
- Blanking – sheet is fed into the press where the die cuts out the shape
- Forming – tremendous force is applied to transform flat metal sheets into another shape
- And more…
The method used can affect the pressure and speed that the stamping press will apply.
After stamping, the metal parts might undergo further treatments to perfect their appearance. This includes deburring, smoothing out any rough or sharp edges, and cleaning minor imperfections. Some parts might also be further coated to improve their appearance and/or performance.
As you can see, metal stamping is a versatile process that offers a myriad of different possibilities and approaches.
Metal Stamping Techniques & Types
There are a variety of metal stamping techniques to be aware of. A few examples are:
Progressive stamping involves the metal sheet being fed into the stamping press, and then passing through multiple stations with unique functions. These are often metalworking processes like punching, bending, or cutting. It will stop at each station, continuing the work of the previous station for a complex shape.
This means that progressive die stamping is frequently used for:
- Beverage can lids
- Electronic components
- Automotive parts
Transfer die stamping is another type of metal stamping that is similar to progressive stamping, with several differences. With transfer stamping, the workpiece is separated from the metal strip and a mechanical transport system moves it from station to station. This is ideal for producing large metal workpieces that cannot easily move from one die station to another.
The following industries benefit from transfer die stamping:
Single Station Stamping
As its name suggests, single station stamping refers to a stamping technique that only utilises one station. It offers a straightforward process for producing metal parts, but also requires dies to be replaced if performing a new operation.
As single station stamping can only handle one operation at a time, they are best suited for basic metalworking jobs like:
Which Metals Can Be Used in Metal Stamping?
Metal stamping can be used on a range of metals, such as:
- Copper alloys – i.e. brass, phosphor bronze, beryllium copper, nickel silver
- Steel alloys – including stainless and low- and high-carbon
Choosing the Right Metal
It is worth mentioning that material selection can impact the final product. Each metal has different properties that affect how it progresses through the stamping process.
For instance, copper alloys are often used for medical and food processing applications due to their antimicrobial properties. Aluminium on the other hand might be used for lightweight electrical components as it is an excellent electrical conductor.
Material thickness also plays an important role in the quality, functionality, and durability of the metal parts, which is why considering the thickness of the material is essential.
What Is Metal Stamping Uniquely Useful For? The Benefits
Now that you have a comprehensive answer to, ‘What is metal stamping?’, you might be wondering how you can benefit from this process. In particular, precision metal stamping offers the following advantages:
Precision and Accuracy
CNC stamping machines offer exact precision and accuracy when it comes to forming metal parts. As a result, even small metal parts can be manufactured, and made completely identical to one another.
High Production Rates
Metal parts can be produced at an exponential rate, enabling high volumes of products to be formed quickly. This is because the stamping press can process multiple parts at once, shortening production time significantly.
In comparison to other stamping processes, the costs of metal stamping are relatively low, making it a cost-effective solution for creating various metal parts. Production and maintenance costs are also generally cheaper, which is a great benefit that you could reap in terms of reducing overhead costs. As the process is highly automated, labour costs can be reduced as well.
Consistency in Quality
Using CAD/CAM designs and automated controls and tooling, you can expect consistent products that are always of high quality. The repeatability of metal stamping guarantees accurate dimensions every time. Each component is identical to a fractional degree of accuracy.
Minimal Material Waste
Precision metal stamping means that minimal waste is produced during the process – the minimum amount of material is used, ensuring that most, if not all, of the material is efficiently stamped, leaving the littlest scraps behind.
Which Industries Have Applications for Metal Stamping?
Numerous sectors in the metal sheet fabrication industry can benefit by taking advantage of metal stamping. The following sectors have applications for stamping sheet metal:
Metal stamping is crucial for the automotive industry, particularly as many components and parts are manufactured through this process. Examples of components produced through metal stamping are:
- Fuse clips
- And more…
There are many safety and quality standards to take into account regarding the manufacturing of parts for the automotive sector. Ensure that your supplier adheres to rigorous processes to ensure that they only produce high-quality and safe products.
Electronics and Appliances
Electronics and appliances, including kiosks, vending, and enclosures are also a sector that we work in that could also benefit from metal stamping. Stamped products from this sector include:
- Components for a range of appliances, including microwaves, refrigerators, grills, and more
- And more…
High-quality stamped products are key to product functionality, especially as some components will need to be of a specific size and shape for installation purposes.
Aerospace and Aviation
The aerospace and aviation industry require complex components that are manufactured through metal stamping, such as:
- Air restrictors
- Landing gear
- Internal systems
- And more…
Stringent requirements and regulations are in place within this industry, so you can expect the strictest quality control measures to ensure that the final products meet these standards.
Consumer Goods and Packaging
The retail and leisure sector, which also involves consumer goods and packaging, is another industry that we work in. Consumer products are also created and packaged through the sheet metal stamping process. This includes:
- Product packaging – skincare and beauty products
- Food and beverage cans
- Furniture hardware
- And more…
Utilising precision metal stamping for consumer goods and packaging can help contribute to a greener society, especially when it comes to minimising waste materials.
Look for Precise Quality Control in Metal Stamping
Metal stamping services utilise modern technology and specialist skills to produce large volumes of metal parts for numerous industries.
Quality is of the utmost importance when it comes to the stamping process, especially as every cut, curve, and edge of the metal will need to be precise and accurate. This is why at every stage of the metal stamping process, quality control measures should be conducted to ensure that your provider maintains the highest standards of product control.
Your metal stamping provider should undertake regular inspections of equipment, including press brakes and other tooling, to make sure they are not only safe to use, but maximise their efficiency and performance.
Compliance and Certifications
Look for certifications to back up your metal stamping specialist’s credentials. They should be keeping on top of industry standards. ISO 9001 certification is one way to see whether a metal stamping company is serious about quality management.
Metal Stamping: Commitment to Sustainable Metal Manufacture Processes
In general, metal stamping is considered to be an environmentally friendly process, particularly as metal is a sustainable material that can be used and reused multiple times. As a process, metal stamping relies on precision which means minimal waste. However, this does not mean that the stamping process has zero impact on the environment.
Look for ISO 14001 certification from your metal stamping specialist. This showcases commitment to environmentally friendly practices.
At our facilities, we have implemented green initiatives to prevent excessive waste. This plan incorporates responsible recycling and disposal practices, as well as utilising energy-efficient machinery and equipment.
We take care to ensure that only a minimal amount of waste is produced during metal fabrication, and if there is waste, then we manage and dispose of it appropriately. At Salamander, we encourage a workplace environment that fosters sustainability. We’re also ISO 14001 certified.
Looking for a Partner Who Provides High Quality Industrial Metal Fabrication? Choose Salamander Fabrications
Salamander Fabrications was established in 1968, and has been providing exceptional metal stamping services for commercial operations across the UK ever since. With 50 years of industry experience and expertise under our belt, you can rest assured that we are a reliable metal fabrication company that is committed to delivering beyond your expectations.
When it comes to metal fabrication, we can effectively transform sheets of metal into whatever metal parts you require. With excellent lead time and first-rate quality, we are the full-service metal fabrication company to turn to.
To learn more about our range of services, or if you have further questions about our metal sheet fabrication solutions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Salamander team today. Drop us an email at email@example.com or give us a call on 01484 843599.