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Choosing a High Volume Stamping Vendor

High Volume Stampings

Choosing a stamper to provide high volume stamping services should not be undertaken lightly. A variety of issues should be considered and discussed with potential stamping vendors prior to having large volumes of components produced using their services. These issues include:

What material options are best suited for the application?

It is advisable to examine the various materials options available and compare their respective costs and end-user benefits. Different materials with similar performance characteristics often vary widely in cost and ease of formability, and the users of metal stamping services can save themselves significant costs by examining all the available material options.

Production volumes
At what volumes do price breaks occur, and is it worth committing to larger volumes of stamped components to reduce the per part cost?

The economics achieved by a longer stamping run must be weighed against the forecasted need and cost of holding a finished goods inventory. If inventory carrying costs are less than what would have been paid through smaller production runs with higher costs, then it is probably a wise decision.

Tooling maintenance
Do potential stamping vendors have the ability to provide maintenance for existing or to-be-created tooling?

Metal stampers that have the ability to provide tool maintenance will have less downtime when tool problems occur and understand the modifications or repairs that must be made as a result of having run the tool in their presses. The inability of the metal stamper to maintain a customer's tooling can cause a number of negative impacts. These include:

Soft vs. hard tooling
At what volume level does soft tooling lose its cost advantage over hard tooling?

When a tool is used for high volume stamping on an on-going basis, it is typically more advantageous to develop a hard tool. End-users should conduct a cost comparison based on various volumes to determine the best tooling option for a specific application. If cost comparisons are not made for tooling, a number of negative impacts can occur to the OEM. These include:

Design assistance
Can the potential stampers provide part and tool design assistance?

Stampers that provide part and tool design services ensure that the desired part is correctly engineered so that it can be economically produced, and the tool will function as planned in the press, saving material costs and increasing production efficiency.

Lead times
What are the lead times from order to ship date?

It is critical to understand the average lead times of the metal stamping vendor being considered so end-users can safely manage inventory and production planning without needing to make an investment in a large safety stock, reducing inventory carrying costs.

Multi-press tooling
Can current or planned tools be run in more than one of the potential metal stamper's presses?

Metal stampers that can run current tools in more than one of their stamping presses provide customers with increased manufacturing versatility and stamping production redundancy, minimizing, or eliminating, delivery problems that result from equipment failure. If a metal stamper is not easily able to run a customer's tooling in multiple presses, problems can occur. These include:

Redundant tooling
Do the metal stampers being evaluated build redundant tooling so customer parts can always be run - even when a tool is being serviced?

Metal stampers that make the investment to build redundant tooling provide their customers with the extra assurance that even if a tool is out of service for maintenance or repair, custom stamped component parts will still be produced on schedule, eliminating production downtime and the need for the end-user to build up extra stock during tooling maintenance.

Optimum process
Is conventional metal stamping the optimum method for producing the required part or is there another cost effective process that is better suited?

Processes that may be cost effective alternatives, dependent on run size and part requirements, include laser cutting, water jet cutting, or the use of a turret press to achieve similar part results. If process comparisons are not made and carefully evaluated by the OEM, a number of negative impacts can occur. These include:

Special coating needs
Are the potential custom metal stampers being evaluated set up to apply any special finished part coatings that may be required?

Many parts require special coatings that need to be applied before, during, or after the metal stamping process. End-users can incur significant extra costs if the selected stamper is not set-up to efficiently handle needed coating requirements.

Finished inventory
Does the potential stamper have ability to store, manage, and ship finished goods inventory as required?

Metal stampers that have the ability (and provide the extra service) to hold finished goods customer inventory allow their customers to take advantage of the "economies of scale" by running high volumes of parts, inventorying them, and then shipping them as required.

This technical information has been contributed by
Gasket Manufacturing Company

Click on Company Name for a Detailed Profile

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