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Metal Stamping or Metal Fabrication
Jul 26, 2017

The process of deciding how to manufacture metal parts using either metal stamping or fabrication techniques is an important decision that ultimately affects the design, quality, timing, cost and repeatable performance of the metal components to be produced. The purpose of this engineering white paper is to investigate the benefits, disadvantages and costs associated with each of these processes; and to develop a framework for deciding how to most efficiently produce parts that will best align with your design and production requirements.

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Metal Stamping vs. Metal Fabrication 

To consider the advantages and advantages of metal stamping vs. fabrication, it's helpful to review the basics of these two technologies: 

Metal stamping (or pressing) encompasses a variety of manufacturing processes such as punching, blanking, embossing, bending, flanging and coining using a machine press or stamping press. Metal stampings can be a single stage operation where every stroke of the press produces a metal part, or parts can be produced using a series of operations. 

Metal fabrication refers to creating metal parts by using cutting, bending and assembly processes. Cutting can be done by sawing or shearing parts, or via CNC cutters using a laser, mill or waterjet cutting. Bending is typically done by striking (manual or powered) or using press brakes and similar tools. Assembly joins individual pieces together by using hand or robotic welding, adhesives, riveting, threaded fasteners or even bending in the form of crimped seams.

Benefits and Disadvantages of Precision Stamping Metal stampings are utilized throughout industry to create a wide range of precision parts. Stamping is an effective process for creating high volume production runs of parts using hard tooling to reduce costs, and increasingly incorporating secondary operations that produce unique product designs. 

Benefits of Metal Stamping o Precision stamping is a fast, cost-effective solution for manufacturing large quantities of complex products. The process is well-suited for highervolumes because the per piece set-up and labor costs drop as production levels increase o Precision stamping can be highly automated and incorporate secondary operations within both the press and/or die. Value add operations including automatic stud or nut insertion, in-die tapping, even in-die welding and assembly can be incorporated to increase the value of parts. 

Complex products and innovative designs can be created using sophisticated precision stampings. Benefits include material flow or drawing as well as very tight tolerances, and repeatability not possible with fabrication techniques. This is especially evident in thicker materials and heavier parts o Metal stampings generally allow for lower per piece material costs through the ability to purchase in coil stock vs. sheet steel, and produce less scrap in manufacturing. There is a correlation between capital equipment investment by the company and their ability to perform advanced stamping techniques. Tonnage and press size are a key differentiator. Type of press and ability to run various die set-ups including: progressive dies, deep draw stampings and transfer dies o Stamping companies with abilities in advanced production techniques as well as prototype design services or simulation software that can prove out concepts before investing in dedicated tooling, will prove to be an additional benefit.