At Tempco Manufacturing, we field plenty of questions about our custom metal stamping and sheet metal fabrication processes. Below are answers to some of the queries we hear most often. Read on to find detailed responses to your metal stamping and fabrication questions. If you don’t see the answer you need, feel free to contact us. We’re happy to help!
What is the difference between metal stamping and metal fabrication?
Metal stamping can refer to any of a number of metal forming operations—in addition to stamping, bending, pressing, folding, and stretching actions may be used to produce the final part. All metal stamping processes utilize punch presses with custom-made tooling and dies to produce a shape, pattern, or other characteristic a part requires. In general, the stamping process can provide tighter tolerances than metal fabrication. It is a fast and cost-effective way to produce metal parts in large quantities.
Metal fabrication entails the manufacturing of three-dimensional metal parts via cutting, bending, and/or other assembly processes. Fabrication generally requires more specialized equipment, such as CNC laser cutters, CNC press brakes, CNC turret presses, and welding. Metal fabrication is often the more economical way to produce parts in lower quantities, as the tooling associated with stamping can be costly. Fabrication also provides greater design flexibility than stamping, as there is no tooling to change should your part design require alteration.
Can you help me design metal stamping prototypes?
Tempco offers engineering and prototyping services to help you turn your stamped metal part designs into reality. Our expert engineers can help you optimize your part for the best fit, form, and function, and to make the stamping process faster, easier, and less expensive. Our prototype manufacturing service allows our customers to test-run their parts to ensure that their designs deliver the performance they require. Benefits of prototyping include:
- Faster production for better time-to-market
- Reveals strengths and weaknesses of your design
- Helps eliminate design flaws that may prove costly down the road
What materials can be used to manufacture stamped metal parts?
Tempco works with a variety of material in our metal manufacturing processes. Every metal behaves differently in the stamping process, but our experience and expertise enables us to produce all types of metal parts with the same high levels of quality and precision. We can manufacture your metal parts from:
How can I minimize the cost of metal stampings?
For custom metal stampings, two of the biggest factors that affect price are material type and the tolerances of the part design.
More common or readily available materials are less costly than specialty materials or alloys. To reduce metal cost, consider using an alternative material that provides performance similar to your original material choice. Similarly, materials in “standard” thicknesses cost less than “non-standard” thicknesses. If your parts can be produced from standard thickness materials without significantly altering their fit, form, or function, it is worthwhile to consider this cost-saving option, as well.
Tight-tolerance designs (those requiring tolerances of ± 0.005” or less) generally require more machining operations to hold those tolerances. Tight tolerance parts also often require secondary services , which increases costs, as well. It may be possible to revise your design to reduce certain tolerance requirements or to reduce the need for secondary processing.
Metal stamping vs machining: which is right for my parts?
The choice between stamping or machining usually comes down to the manufacturability of the part, as well as the quantities required. See “What is the difference between metal stamping and metal fabrication?” (above) for more detailed information on each process.
The metal stamping process generates less material scrap than machining. This helps keep costs down and can be especially important when working with more expensive specialty materials like titanium or tungsten. There are multiple types of stamping operations, including punching, blanking, embossing, flanging, and coining. In general, metal stampings are far lower in price-per-piece than machined parts, even when secondary services are required to meet tolerances.
Metal fabrication is generally used to produce more complex parts that require multiple operations to complete. Whereas metal stamping is often used to create a simple flat (or 2D) part, fabrication is often a better choice for producing 3D parts.
What is a “progressive die”?
A “progressive die” is a series of punch press tools that have been specially designed to perform all the punching, cutting, coining, and bending required to produce a metal part through a multistep process. In progressive die stamping, a strip of metal is fed through all stations of the progressive stamping die; each station performs one or more operations until the part is completed.
Do I need a progressive die to manufacture my parts?
If you require complex, three-dimensional parts in quantities greater than 15,000 per year, progressive die stamping is an excellent manufacturing solution. Progressive die stamping is fast and efficient, and, for larger quantities, is one of the most cost-effective manufacturing processes available.
Do you (Tempco) make your own tooling and dies?
At Tempco, we manufacture all of our own tooling, dies, and fixtures. Our state-of-the-art tool and die shop enables us create high precision tooling and dies for even the most complex metal stamping and fabricating projects. We also store, maintain, and replace non-permanent dies at no cost to our customers.
How long does it take to manufacture custom tooling?
In general, the lead time for tool and die manufacturing depends on the complexity of the punch design, the number of total operations needed to produce your part (for progressive stamping), and the quantity of parts required. Single stage tooling usually takes roughly 4 to 6 weeks to produce; progressive tooling usually takes 8 to 10 weeks.
Why choose domestic manufacturing vs. offshore manufacturing?
With U.S.-based manufacturing, you can count on better quality parts and components, reliable two-way communication, and on-time delivery. American manufacturers are the best in the world, producing the highest quality, tightest tolerance parts. Domestic manufacturing allows for faster turnaround times and more dependable deliveries. For top quality parts delivered on your schedule, there’s no substitute for American manufacturing.
Benefits of domestic manufacturing include:
- Competitive costs: The former advantage of offshore manufacturing, low cost, has been all but erased by rising wages for workers and the ever-increasing cost of transporting the finished product across the world.
- Guaranteed quality: With an offshore manufacturer, quality issues may not be addressed, corrected, or even noticed, leading to high quantities of products with major flaws/defects. Domestic production makes it easier to communicate your quality expectations and to contact the manufacturer should problems arise.
- Faster response times: An offshore manufacturer may literally be half the world away. This distance makes shipping take far longer, and time zone differences can present a major communication challenge. Domestic manufacturing shortens shipping distances for faster delivers and reduces time zone differences to no more than a few hours.
Contact Us for Custom Metal Stamping, Fabrication & More
If you have additional questions that are not addressed here, contact Tempco Manufacturing today. We’re ready to discuss your custom metal stamping or custom metal fabrication project!