Case Study: Reducing costs and improving manufacturability with selective plating on a stamped contact

A customer needed a contact for an automotive application. The original design for the L-shaped part included a gold-plated contact that was welded to the terminal. This added tremendous cost due to the multi-step manufacturing process.

The precision stamping challenge

As designed, the part required nickel plating over a base of stainless steel as well as a gold-plated contact. This created a relatively complex manufacturing process and a large amount of gold material. The stamping challenge was finding a way to eliminate the gold-plated contact, thus allowing for a one-stage stamped product.

CEP’s Solution

The solution to this challenge illustrates the stamper’s role in improving cost-effectiveness and manufacturability of a part. CEP redesigned the contact feature, replacing it with a round dimple that is selectively pre-plated with gold. In addition, the stainless steel strip material was also pre-plated with a nickel undercoating.

The outcome

This customized solution preserves the function of the contact while restricting the expensive precious metal to smaller area, thereby reducing the material cost. By optimizing the design, CEP also provided for a higher degree of manufacturability and an overall more efficient process of production.

Process details

  • Equipment Used: 45-ton Minster          
  • Overall Blank Dimensions: 3.37” width x 0.560” progression
  • Tightest Tolerances: angular tolerance held to 0.5 degrees        
  • Material Used (base): SAE 302 stainless steel, 0.031” x 3.370”, ¾ hard temper
  • Material Finish: nickel (undercoat), gold (selectively plated)
  • Industry for Use: automotive    
  • Volume : between 500,000 and 1,000,000 annually