Precision stamped components need to be in an assembly-ready condition when they leave the stamper’s facility, and they need to stay in that condition during transportation and storage and until the customer needs them. Moving components between facilities and general handling present many risks to that assembly-ready condition the stamper achieved. That’s why careful packaging is such an important part of the stamping process.
Precision stampers use many types of metals, including aluminum alloys, brass alloys, copper, nickel, steel, stainless steel, silver, and bronze. How do you know which is the right material for each project? It has to do with a variety of mechanical and chemical properties that determine how a given metal will behave during stamping and in the finished product. Designers, engineers, and stampers need to work together to find the right balance between satisfying design intent and manufacturability of a part. Metal properties also impact the manufacturing process itself, including selecting the best tool steel, stamping oils, and plating or other finishing.
Some of the most important properties to consider are discussed listed below; however, there may be additional considerations depending on your specific application.
Change is inevitable in manufacturing. Whether you’re bringing a new product to market, re-engineering an existing one, or just need to find another supplier for your components, chances are you’ll have to switch from one progressive stamper to another at some point in time.
Most new parts change several times as they evolve from a conceptual drawing to a physical object in the real world. By the time a new part is ready for prototyping, you’ve made drawings, calculations, and prepared extensive documentation (and if you’re working within the automotive industry, you’ve also spent countless hours on the Production Part Approval Process, or PPAP). And now it’s time for functional testing or evaluating fit within an assembly.