Precision metal Stamping Parts starts with the mouse, not the metal. By first prototyping, engineers can understand how the metal behaves when bent or cut into specific patterns. But even before making models, engineers started using software to build virtual versions in computers.
The stamping process has multiple stamping options and machining methods. The choice of press depends on the operation-manual or hydraulic.
Mechanical presses: Generally, slower mechanical presses rely on flywheels to store and transfer energy. These presses range in size from 20 tons to 6,000 tons and stroke sizes between 5 and 500 mm, making them more suitable for small projects.
Hydraulic press: Hydraulic power promotes a small amount of mechanical movement to a large mechanical movement. Larger hydraulic machines with higher stroke size and speed. Size range up to 10,000 tons, stroke size up to 800mm.
The press is part of the equipment and the other part is the mold used. The machine applies the force required for stamping, and the mold customizes how that force affects the shape of the metal. Some molds are cut open while others are formed.
- Metal used
The metal used for stamping starts with flat metal or coiled metal. Metals are ideal because of their durability and ease of use. To achieve the level of accuracy required for the equipment available, most metals used are soft or medium in hardness.
The choice of metal usually depends on the required quality. Since stamping usually occurs on room temperature metal, the natural properties of the raw materials remain in the final part. Conductivity, strength, gloss and other qualities make certain metals more suitable for projects.
Ferrous metals: Iron-based metals used for stamping can include stainless steel and other ferrous alloys.
Non-ferrous metals: zinc, bronze and brass are examples of non-ferrous metals often used for stamping.
Precious metals: Gold, silver and platinum have practical uses in addition to decoration.
For progressive projects, each part may have shared drawings that move between presses. This worksheet puts the unfinished parts together until the entire process is completed. Finally, the finished part may need to be trimmed from a common sheet, but some processes can omit the need for that sheet or create a design that can greatly reduce waste.
To ensure quality, most precision stamping projects start with computer modeling. The computer can simulate the metal's response to the stamping process to see if the design needs to be changed before production begins. This virtual design step sends the plan directly to the machine, saving time and avoiding human error.
Soft tool: The simplest process uses the soft tool method, which uses only one machine, although each machine rarely exceeds 10,000 parts per year.
Stage tooling: Workers move parts to each of two to five presses during processing. Other machines used can double the output, but the labor required to transfer work in progress slows the process slightly compared to a fully automated approach.
Hard tools: High-volume projects that require more than 20,000 units often require a hard tool that fully automates the stage tool process by using computer controls.
When using one of these machining methods, the part may have to perform one of the five most common stamping procedures:
Wire Forming: When parts require wires, springs or clips, engineers can use wire forming, a process that pulls metal through a hole in a mold to pull it into wire.
Fine Blanking: Fine blanking creates carefully cut blanks with smooth edges and is designed for the complex work required for many precision projects.
Fourslide stamping: Four tools work from four sides to fold or shape metal at one time. This method works best for highly complex parts.
Deep drawing: Components that require recessed areas are usually deep drawn to pull the metal into the desired shape.
Multi-sliding stamping: Similar to four-sliding stamping, multi-sliding stamping coordinates the operation of multiple dies on metal in a press.
After the parts are completed, some stampers will also assemble the base unit. Although this pre-assembly does not include a complete circuit board or engine, it saves time during the main assembly, which shortens the time from production to shipping. In the business world where time is money, assembly services, as part of precision stamping, can make a huge difference in terms of cost savings and productivity improvements.