Metal stamping is the process of cutting and molding metal alloys into specific forms, especially to be used as components for large machinery or structures. Metal sheets can be molded into different pre-determined shapes for use as regular products like pans and cans. The most common alloys that are used in metal stamping are steel, zinc, nickel, aluminum and titanium. Metal stamping is a very cost-effective and productive way of producing many kinds of metal products on a large scale.
In metal stamping, the metal sheets are placed in a die or a press tool that has specially designed cavity that gives the preferred shape to the metal sheet. The upper part of the die connects to the press slide while the lower component connects to the press bed. A specific component known as the punch pushes the metal sheet through the die, thus performing the actual shaping operation. After pressing, the metal is plated with gold, palladium, nickel or tin to prevent corrosion.
Plating also increments the wearability and soldable nature of the product. Sometimes, the sheet is also pre-plated before the stamping process, and then the product is cleaned to remove excess metal stamping oils and films. The product is then heat treated to make it stronger since it is still in the soft state after stamping. The product is then subjected to the deburring process for removing the sharp corners. This is done by using chemicals or abrasives. Metal stamping also involves other metalworking processes like piercing, blanking, forming and drawing on the same machines.
Stamping presses have specific force, speed and precision for giving a specific shape to the metal. There are two types of metal stamping presses: Mechanical and hydraulic. These are available in an extended range of capacities, sizes, stroke lengths and operating speeds.
Metal stamping is slowly replacing other metal forming processes like die casting, forging, fabricating and machining. One reason for this is the very low costs involved in metal stamping. The dies used for metal stamping cost less than those used in forging and casting. Also, the metals used in metal stamping can be harder than those used in other processes, so making the end product stronger. The cost of the secondary processes, like cleaning and plating are also considered reduced.
Moreover, there are certain products that have to be produced only through metal stamping: Base weights, brackets, balance clamps, brake flanges, conveyor flights, bushing seats, engine bases, flywheel shrouds and friction plates. There are also different kinds of metal stamping including: Deep drawn stamping, electronic stamping, Fourslide stamping, medical stamping, progressive die stamping and short run stamping. The most commonly used type is the progressive die drawing wherein a metal sheet is drawn through a series of dies and stamping is done by all the dies simultaneously, thus considering reducing the time it takes.