Full-Service Precision Metal Forming
A full-service precision metal forming company handles production runs from 100 pieces to 10,000 pieces. There is also a laser capability for parts that are not suited to the stamping process or small quantities.
Cell manufacturing is also important to the speed and efficiency of the manufacturing operation. This program eliminates the costly movement of tooling and partially finished goods around the manufacturing area.
Among the materials processed in precision metal stamping operations are steel [1004 - 1095 carbon range], stainless steel [300 and 400 series], aluminum [1100 through 7075 including all tempers], brass, copper, phosphors bronze, beryllium copper, and nickel and its alloys. Thicknesses from 0.010" to 0.375" can be handled. Up to 0.500" thick stock is processed on the laser equipment.
Parts from simple blank-and-pierce to complicated formed and drawn shapes are manufactured. Presses rated from 20 tons to 350 tons should be used by operators familiar with Statistical Process Control (SPC) to manufacture your parts. First article inspection and final inspection assure that all specifications of the blueprints and purchase order are met. All secondary operations can be completed including deburring, finishing, welding and heat treating.
Size capabilities of the manufacturer are in part determined by the punch press ratings. Typically, a 3 ft x 3 ft piece can be handled with a 300-ton press. As the material thickness increases the part size decreases. The tensile strength of the material also contributes to the size of the part that can be blanked. The size of forming tool and press tonnage relationship represents another control on the part size that can be blanked. Another limitation to part size is the capacity of press brakes used in the process. The creativity and skill of personnel permits a company to exceed the normal performance limits.
The use of a CNC machining center in concert with wire EDM and a selected CAD/CAM program is a combination that can be used to build tooling. Setting up a program on a turret press to punch openings in sheet material, then cutting the contour of the blank on the laser is a good use of the CAD/CAM system, saving customer time and affording good value.
Tolerances on metal stampings are often misunderstood by the end user of metal parts. As they request tighter and tighter tolerances on hole diameters, forms, material thickness and flatness, costs go up. Very close tolerances may bring perfection to the assembly and function of a product, but sometimes designs are shelved because of the high cost to manufacture the tight tolerance components. If a tolerance is needed, it should be specified. If not, good design standards that enable working within normal tolerance ranges should be applied. Normal tolerance range on stampings are +/- 0.005" on all dimensions; 0.004/in. TIR on flatness; +/- 0.010" on parts made on a turret press; +/- 0.002" on the sheared side of all hole diameters; and +/- 0.0005" on reamed holes. Conformance to these guidelines will ensure consistent quality production.
The use of metal stamped-precision metal formed products comes with consideration for a number of consequences. They add weight to anything to which they are attached. Depending on the application, the additional weight can impact the efficiency (i.e. airplane component weight vs. fuel economy) of the product. Proper handling to avoid component scratches and good deburring to eliminate sharp edges need to be evaluated and planned in the manufacturing processes. The use of appropriate lubricants must also be considered in terms of what impact they will have on parts and the environment.
Savings can be realized in precision metal formed parts when the purchaser works with the vendor on the "front end" of all projects. By helping the customer optimize the product design, tolerances, opening placement, radii of forms, and location of dimensions, favorable economics can be achieved. Selection of proper materials and decisions regarding plated or painted surfaces are also important.
When evaluating a company as the source of precision stamped parts, the following elements should be considered:
- Are their employees willing to help solve manufacturing problems?
- What is their location in relationship to yours?
- How up-to-date is their equipment?
- Will their current customer base allow them to service your needs in time?
- How stable is their workforce?
- How many of your secondary operations can they handle?
- Are they ISO registered?
- Are sales representatives competent to service you after the sale?
- Do they have staff Engineering working on continuous improvements?
Multiple facilities, a wide range of equipment, laser equipment, competent personnel and a team approach set a vendor apart from its competition.
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