Many factors contribute to determining how much metal stamping will cost to produce your parts at high volume. While most factors such as material, tooling investment, labor, and overall part count are well known, many businesses fail to include the cost of die maintenance in their calculation for overall cost per part. Several aspects of the metal stamping process inherently cause wear. Without a strong die maintenance plan, you’ll end up spending even more than you calculated – because you’ll need to replace your tooling. Here are some areas that contribute to the overall cost of die maintenance.
Wear Stamping Die Failure Modes
Your tooling goes through a high friction and cyclical load process to create your parts. This creates natural wear on your die that causes the tooling surface to lose material as the part material is compressed and slides between the surfaces of the die to create your part features. This is called abrasive wear. Excessive abrasive wear can lead to fatigue cracking originating near complex notch features. Adhesive die wear occurs when the heat generated between the die and the part material during the stamping process create microwelds originating from the surface roughness of the two materials, that cause material to be “torn” away from the die. As this process continues the tooling surface is continuously degraded until maintenance is required to maintain part quality. The material hardness of the die, any coatings used, and the overall hardness of the part material determine the amount of wear per strike. Galling is the opposite of adhesive wear and occurs when the sheet metal being formed adheres to the tooling surface. Again, the friction and heat generated in the metal stamping process creates physical or chemical adhesion based on the material and the tool steel used in the die. Abrasive wear, adhesive wear, and galling can be controlled and minimized by using the correct coatings or surface treatments on your tooling – but ultimately, all dies need maintenance from wear.
Destructive Stamping Die Failure Modes
When proper manufacturing process best practices or maintenance schedules are not applied correctly, it can lead to more extensive die damage. Deformation of tooling occurs when the compressive force of the press applied to the die exceeds the compressive yield strength of the tool steel used to make the die. While the proper tooling material helps avoid this issue, operator error can create an issue like this that requires extensive maintenance. Chipping of the die can happen when there are excess metal flakes or scrap from cuts that are not properly cleared from the die after a strike. This can also occur by exceeding the strikes that the tooling is rated for, thus surpassing the fatigue strength of the tool steel. Chipping typically appears along the edges or corners of the tool as stress lines carry there from the high contact areas. Cracking of the die happens when the press impact force exceeds the fracture point of the material. In this scenario, sharp corners and radii in a die design enable cracks to form and spread until there is some level of tool failure.
As your tooling goes through an average of 1,000,000 strikes prior to requiring maintenance, it is designed to handle repetitive thermal and mechanical stress – but even the best dies wear out over time. When maintenance of your die is required, the team must take it offline and take it apart to repair the wear. The tooling for your part needs to be maintained properly so it can continue to produce high quality parts for your business. Planning the down time into your annual schedule allows you to properly care for your die (or multiple dies for progressive die stamping), project your overall cost per part, meet your lead times, and reliably fulfill on orders for your customers.
When sheet metal formed parts are needed in high volume, metal stamping becomes the most viable option for a production process. This acceleration in part count means an even greater focus on per part cost and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). While many aspects of the part design and metal stamping production process factor into the overall cost, material selection is an area that a business can control and plan to ensure the best possible long term per part price for their metal stamped parts.
Material Wear on Die
Every strike of the press causes wear on the die or dies involved in the metal stamping process. The material used to make the end components affects the timeline for die tooling surface wear due to the friction produced in the forming process. The most common materials used in metal stamped parts are steel, stainless steel, copper, brass, nickel and aluminum. Softer and more malleable material like copper will cause less wear on the die, while harder and stronger materials like titanium are more difficult to stamp and cause more wear on the tooling in a shorter period of time. There are different tool steel and die coating options that exist that can slow die wear when stronger materials are required, but that increases the overall cost of the parts being produced.
Material Properties, Thickness, and Part Quality Concerns
The composition and physical properties of the material selected to produce your metal stamped components play a part in determining the difficulty of achieving highly repeatable quality control standards. While harder and stronger materials add wear to the die, they take well to the metal stamping forming process through a wide range of material thickness producing less QC issues. Softer more flexible and malleable materials perform well at greater thickness, but can shear or fail more easily while forming certain features of the component. Thin walled components made from softer materials will tend to have more challenging QC processes required, driving up the cost of your metal stamped parts. Work with the Design For Manufacturability (DFM) team closely when working with very thin materials. They can help you identify alternatives or die design approaches to overcome the difficulties this requirement produces.
Material Sheet Size and Coil Width
Your metal stamping supplier can help select the appropriate sheet metal size or coil width to best produce your part. The geometry and features of your part will dictate the amount of material necessary to produce the end result, but your supplier can design the best orientation for the metal stamping process to save you the most money. The percentage of scrap produced per run creates additional cost per part with no benefit. Reducing scrap saves you money and does not affect the performance of your parts. This is a good way to keep your overall costs down.
Material Cost and Availability
As we saw through 2020 and 2021 material cost and availability can be impacted by much more than the standard supply volume being outrun by a sharp increase in demand. Tariffs, shipping challenges, scarcity of 3PL services, mill closures, geopolitical discourse, and global pandemics can all affect the cost of your material pricing and in turn your per part price. Widely used materials like 6061 Aluminum are the most likely to be available at the best price during the most difficult of times and challenging situations. Materials with other valuable properties like high conductivity can be harder to get due to the multi-use end case for the raw material. Titanium and other exotic metals will always be on the more expensive end of the material cost spectrum and have a high likelihood to be harder to find when external factors impact your supply chain.
Be sure to understand all of your material options when moving your parts to a high volume metal stamping process – it is a big part of the answer to the question “How Much Does Metal Stamping Cost?”. What may have worked well at low volume should be reassessed, evaluated, and either confirmed to have the same material requirements or an alternative can be identified to save you money.
Quality assurance (QA) testing refers to the process of ensuring that a product is of the highest possible quality. The success of metal stamping and fabrication companies heavily depends on the level and degree of quality testing they provide, as the components they produce are often used in critical settings like automotive, aerospace, or medical applications.
At Manor Tool, we have built a reputation for providing unparalleled custom metal stamping and fabrication services to critical industries. We recognize the importance of quality assurance in metal stamping and metal fabrication, so we have a comprehensive, in-house quality assurance department and QA equipment.
Here you’ll learn more about how QA works in metal stamping and the types of QA equipment.
How Quality Assurance Works in Metal Stamping
ISO 9001:2015 section 3.6.2 defines quality as the extent to which an object’s set of inbuilt properties fulfills requirements. Quality control helps prevent defects when manufacturing metal parts. It also ensures the formed parts meet design specifications and work properly. A well-planned quality assurance program ensures time and cost efficiency in manufacturing while also preventing product safety issues that can lead to additional costs due to product recalls.
The first step during the pre-fabrication process is to inspect the raw materials. They should have the properties necessary to meet the specification of the parts.
Then follows a failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA). This systemic evaluation establishes where and how the fabrication process may fail and assesses the relative effect of different failures to identify the parts of the process that require adjustments.
Advanced product quality planning (APQP) also comes during pre-fabrication inspection. It involves creating a framework of manufacturing procedures and techniques that are satisfactory to the client.
Fabrication Process Controls
This phase involves monitoring and documenting fabrication in real time. It also involves confirming whether the process conforms to various quality standards, including:
Pressure Equipment Directive (PED)
Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS)
International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)
Military Specifications (Mil-Spec)
Internal quality policies
Post-Fabrication Confirmation & Testing
A quality assurance program is only complete if it involves inspections throughout the manufacturing process. Complex and precise quality assurance measuring systems such as 3D scanning finish off the inspection process.
Quality Metal Stamping Testing Technology
Here are the most commonly used types of quality assurance equipment.
Statistical Process Control Systems
These systems track manufacturing processes by measuring and controlling quality. They trigger various instruments and machines to give quality data, which helps control the manufacturing process.
Optical Vision Systems
Optical vision systems provide precise measurements of stampings. An example is our 2-axis optical comparator, which inspects and measures the dimensions of small turned and round parts.
Functional Gauges and Custom Gauges
Functional gauges allow immediate checks on parts output to ensure they are fit for assembly and function. The gauge prevents the creation of bad parts and reduces or eliminates non-value-added measurements. On the other hand, custom gauges help develop design and quality standards for metal stamped parts.
Digital Measuring Machines with Metrology Software
Digital measurement machines are crucial in quality assurance as they help improve accuracy, increase efficiency, and control what you measure. The metrology software interacts with optical gaging products (OGP) to control, monitor, display, and report every aspect of the measuring process.
CMM Measurement and Layout Capability
A coordinate measuring machine (CMM) helps get dimensional measurements of physical objects by detecting discrete points on the surface of the object. An example is our Brown & Sharpe CMM, a popular series that ensures high-speed, accurate measurements.
Reverse Engineering CAD Software
Reverse engineering CAD software can create a 3D CAD model from a physical part. Capturing millions of data points at a time, the computer-aided program ensures precise measurements of even the most complex products.
Quality Assurance Metal Stamping at Manor Tool
Our quality engineers and inspectors at Manor Tool collaborate with our tooling and development engineers to ensure quality metal stamping services with every project. Manor Tool uses the following QA equipment:
Our ISO 9001:2015 certification is a testament to our commitment to offering quality metal stamping services and products. We also have a certification from Perry Johnson Registrars, Inc. and maintain our processes according to the standard requirements.
Metal stamping is a type of manufacturing process used to transform sheet metal into specific shapes. Many types of metal stamping processes exist depending on the needs of each application, including deep drawn stamping and progressive die stamping. In this post, we’ll provide a breakdown of how deep drawn stamping and progressive die stamping work, along with when to use them.
The Deep Drawn Stamping Process
Custom Deep Drawn Stamping of Steel Terminal Box Cover
Deep drawn stamping forms various types of hollow axisymmetric components out of metal sheets. The name “deep drawn” comes from the fact that the end products typically feature depths that exceed their diameter. Most of the shapes that this process forms feature a cylindrical shape, but it’s also possible to form box-shaped products through deep drawn stamping. A wide variety of applications use this process to form many types of products, including baking pans, auto parts, casings, sinks, and plumbing fixtures.
The process starts with the placement of the metal sheet on the system’s forming die. A blank holder then applies compressive force to the sheet to hold it in place. At this point, a punching tool applies an axial force to the metal, which causes it to deform and draw into the die cavity to form the final shape.
This process offers a number of benefits, such as:
Increased speed due to the ability to simultaneously perform draws in multiple stations
Reduced tooling costs
Maintained tolerances and high repeatability
Durable rolled metal parts featuring a cohesive and elongated grain structure
The ability to work with a wide range of metals, including stainless steel, copper, aluminum, and more
The Progressive Die Stamping Process
Progressive die stamping involves several workstations that perform different operations on the same part. The part is carried by a stock strip through each workstation until it is completed.
The process begins when operators place the die into a stamping press. The die then opens as the stamping press moves upward. The die closes as the stamping press moves back down. Metal travels through the die at certain increments as the press makes each stroke. In the process, the stamping die modifies metal by either bending, cutting, shaving, lancing, coining, drawing, or embossing the workpiece.
Once the die closes, it performs the necessary operation on the metal to form one or more parts. These parts may be either connected to a carrier strip or separate from one another.
Progressive Die Stamping of a Mounting Bracket for a Security System
The progressive die stamping process comes with several key benefits, including
The ability to produce components at a rapid pace
The capacity to run multiple cutting or forming operations simultaneously
High press tonnage
The ability to produce multiple parts per press stroke
Maintained control over part location during the stamping process
Choose Deep Drawn Stamping & Progressive Die Stamping Services at Manor Tool
Depending on an application’s unique requirements, either deep drawn stamping or progressive die stamping may serve as the ideal solution. Both of these processes come with their respective benefits, making them compatible with many manufacturing setups to produce high-quality metal components. Learn more about the drivers that determine how much metal stamping will cost for your high volume production project.
If you need either of these metal stamping services for your application, the experts at Manor Tool have the experience, knowledge, and resources required to form nearly any type of part. Our deep drawn and progressive die metal stamping capabilities allow us to deliver quality parts and components for a range of industries, including medical, aerospace, automotive, and more.
Metal fabrication is a key service that is applicable to a wide range of industries, including aerospace. The critical and often complex nature of aerospace components necessitates precision. These components are crafted through a variety of metal fabrication services, from drawing and forging to welding and extrusion. In this blog, we’ll cover how metal fabrication works and how it serves the aerospace industry.
A Quick Overview of Metal Fabrication
Industrial metal fabrication is essentially any process that cuts or forms raw metal into a desired stock or custom product. These techniques can be used on nearly any type of metal, though steel and stainless steel, copper, aluminum, nickel, and brass are some of the most common. Metal fabrication services are an efficient, cost-effective way to produce a high quantity of identical components.
There are different metal fabrication processes, and the one you use depends on several factors such as the type of metal you’re working with, the desired size and shape of the component, and any particular characteristics the component requires. In many cases, you can combine multiple processes to achieve the desired final product. Metal fabrication processes include:
Drawing. This process involves forcing molten or sheet metal through a die to create the desired shape. Deep drawing applies specifically to parts that have depths that are greater than their diameters.
Forging. Whereas drawing uses tensile force to shape the metal, forging relies on compressive force. The metal is hit with a hammer or die to achieve the desired shape.
Extrusion. This technique is common for creating pipes and other cylindrical components.
Punching. This is the process of creating holes or indentations in a piece of sheet metal for decorative or functional purposes.
Welding. There are many types of welding, all of which are used to join similar or dissimilar pieces of metal together via heat and pressure.
Drilling. Drilling is a standard process for creating circular holes.
Milling. In this common subtractive manufacturing process, a milling machine or router is used to remove bits of material to create the desired shape.
Turning. Common for creating cylindrical components, a piece of metal is turned on a lathe while being shaped with a cutting tool.
Aerospace Metal Fabrication
Aerospace components must meet stringent standards for quality, reliability, and safety. Metal fabrication processes – especially when carried out by a top-notch fabricator – allow for the complexity, repeatability, tight tolerances, and durability these products require for use in exceptionally harsh conditions. Titanium, stainless steel, aluminum, and carbon steel, along with specialty metals and alloys, are commonly used in aerospace metal fabrication to produce components like:
Switches and relays
Oxygen generation and pressurization systems
This is only a sample of the wide array of components that can be produced through precision metal fabrication processes. Regardless of the exact part you are looking to bring to life, it is important to choose a metal fabricator that fits the following criteria:
Offers transparency and regularly-communicated updates throughout the entire fabrication process (i.e. turnaround time)
Goes above and beyond in terms of customer service before, during, and after fabrication. For instance, does their team offer design & engineering support and recommendations?
Upholds certifications relevant to aerospace requirements and follows stringent quality control and, ideally, has a quality assurance department in-house
Choose Aerospace Metal Fabrication Services at Manor Tool
Since 1959, Manor Tool has grown to become a world-class metal fabrication company, and we offer a wide range of metal fabrication services to meet the needs of the aerospace, automotive, energy, medical, oil and gas, and construction industries.
With our years of experience in working with the aerospace industry, we have an in-depth understanding of the unique challenges and requirements of this sector, and we can help you create components that are capable of holding up in aerospace environments.
From our ISO 9001:2008-certified state-of-the-art 44,000-square-foot facility, we can provide everything from prototyping and high-volume production to finishing and secondary machining.