Ah, good old sheet metal stamping. It’s been around for millennia, and in some cases is now getting a bad rap in favor of other, newer technologies like three-dimensional printing. But metal stamping has been around for nearly twenty *centuries* for a reason, and it’s not going anywhere soon. New technologies and processes are still being developed within the realm of metal stamping, and the process is being used daily around the world from the auto industry to the aerospace industries and from prototyping to production.
In this article, we intend to showcase some of the benefits and values of sheet metal stamping, which include:
At its most simple level, stamping is a manufacturing process that cold-forms (that is, without introducing heat) pieces of metal into specific shapes by pressing it between two or more dies molded into or near the shape of the final product. The process has been around since at least the dawn of the metal age, around 2000 BCE.
The first stamping methods were likely used to make coins, although there is some debate about who was the first civilization to mint hard currency. Coinage continued through the Greek and Roman classical era into the middle ages and today.
In the modern era, stamping was likely first used to make bicycle parts in Germany in the late 18th century. Although the process itself has become more mechanized and complex, the basic principle is the same, using dies to shape metal.
Thefabricator.com, a publication of the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association International, explains further: “A stamping die is a special, one-of-a-kind precision tool that cuts and forms sheet metal into a desired shape or profile. The die’s cutting and forming sections typically are made from special types of hardenable steel called tool steel. Dies also can contain cutting and forming sections made from carbide or various other hard, wear-resistant materials.”
Improvements are still being made to the process today. A team of researchers at Japan’s Kanazawa University have just developed a process, “using the most up-to-date simulation techniques” to stamp complex shapes into sheet metal without the resulting twists and deformation sometimes associated with complex shapes. It’s just one of the ways the automotive and aerospace manufacturing processes are improving even today.
Because of its nature, stamping is still extremely cost effective, rapid and less wasteful than other methods. Once setup is complete and dies are created, pieces can be stamped again and again using the same dies, basically eliminating turnaround time. Materials can be ordered to fit exact needs, reducing waste. And the setup process is straightforward and rapid, again reducing cost and time.
All these add up to massive savings in material cost, time, and labor, over other trendy methods.
At Schwab Industries, low volume production stamping and prototyping is our bread and butter. With more than 30 years of experience we’ve become masters of the process and stand by our work one hundred percent. We have the credentials, performance history, and record to stand behind our output, and we have the know-how to aid our clients and to recognize and comprehend the best practices, tooling and materials to accomplish any project or vision our clients may wish.
Bottom line? Sheet metal stamping isn’t going anywhere soon. Because of its cost effectiveness, speed, and ease, stamping will likely lead the pack for another 20 centuries. At Schwab, we’re committed to the capturing the future, and innovations in metal stamping are no different.
If you’d like more information on our processes or to speak with a salesperson or expert, please contact us or call 586.566.8090.
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Categories: Aerospace, Automotive