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Long-Run Progressive Stamping Overview

December 28, 2023

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Long-Run Progressive Stamping

OEMs and their suppliers are always in search of the most economical way to produce high quality parts to specifications and on schedule. When it isn’t feasible to manufacture parts in-house, partnering with an experienced supplier is a smart choice. One process that companies frequently outsource is metal stamping, which is a versatile process for making metal parts in many sizes, shapes, and thicknesses.

Here we’ll look at the options as well as the basics, benefits, and applications of long run progressive stamping for miniature to small parts stamped from metal coil.

Short-Run vs Long-Run Stamping

Short-run production is often defined as a total volume of 5,000 or fewer parts over a period of four to six months or less. Short-run production tends to be more expensive, as price per part will increase and a setup fee may be incurred.

In contrast, long-run production is defined as higher-volume production of 25,000 or much, much more. While these high volumes may be carried out over a period of six to 12 months or more, it is entirely possible to produce these quantities in as quick as a single day – it all depends on the customer’s needs and complexity of the job. In fact higher volume manufacturing is often more cost-effective due to the shorter total press time the project requires.

The Process of Long-Run Progressive Stamping

With this method, it is possible to make a variety of simple or complex parts and features because multiple forming and cutting operations are used in sequence to make parts quickly. These operations include bending, shearing, piercing, and coining.

Custom tooling and dies are created with the exact sequence of operations needed to make the part over a series of steps, or “stations,” that build on the preceding ones. As the metal strip advances through the press, each part moves to a new operation in the sequence. For example, a die may include 10 to 15 different operations in sequence that strike the material for a coining or flattening, followed by a shearing station and finally a bend station.

As the strip feeds through the press, finished parts are knocked out of the strip, also called the carrier web, and are deposited into a collection bin for finishing processes, cleaning, and packaging. Leftover metal strips are gathered as scrap.

Partnering with a progressive stamper for production over the long-term can be cost effective and is a great way to manage inventory. This process often involves creating a blanket order agreement, in which you and your stamper agree on a set price per part and a recurring interval for a specified volume of parts. It’s also important to understand the stamper’s anticipated lead times for materials and press time so you can factor them into your agreement. An example could be a customer needing 50,000 stamped parts every 12 weeks over a two-year period.

Benefits of Long-Run Progressive Stamping

Long-run progressive stamping does involve additional costs for custom manufacturing of tooling and dies; however, there are many benefits that may justify the investment, such as:

  • High speed, automated production for large volumes of parts with minimal labor.
  • High repeatability for very little variation in parts and excellent quality control.
  • State of the art equipment and software to run and monitor the manufacturing process from start to finish.
  • Well-suited for very tight tolerances, especially in applications that affect safety, such as advanced driver assistance system components, or in other cases where proper part fit is critical to end product functionality.
  • Cost-effective pricing, as larger volumes of material may be available at better pricing, or your supplier may arrange for scheduled batches and planned purchases throughout the production period at a price break. Some material vendors may offer better prices for bulk purchases or blanket orders.

Applications for Long-Run Progressive Stamping

Progressive stamping is the perfect manufacturing method for situations in which you need a large quantity of a single product and need a corresponding volume of a single part, or when you have many products that all require the same single part.

Stamping is an excellent manufacturing method for custom items like clips, tabs, brackets, pins, small plates, latches, switches, and contacts. Some of the industries that use these and other parts include:

  • Electrical, electronics, and PCBs
  • EMI/RFI shielding
  • Automotive, EV, and e-mobility
  • Telecommunications and power protection
  • Medical and healthcare
  • Defense/military
  • Appliances and industrial equipment

Choosing CEP Technologies for Your Long-Run Progressive Stamping Needs

CEP’s core capabilities include progressive stamping of miniature to small components from metal coil or blanks up to 6×6 inches square, a range of finishing processes, cleaning, and custom packaging. We work with many different materials including stainless steel, aluminum, high- and low-carbon cold rolled steel, pre-galvanized steel, nickel-plated steel, precious metals, brass, bronze and copper in thicknesses from 0.002” to 0.080”.

As your source for long-run stamping projects, we can accommodate medium to large runs of 25,000 to 100,000,000 pieces annually to meet your requirements. Please contact us to discuss your next stamping requirements or request a free quote today!

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