Metal stamping is a form of metalworking that is completed using various levels of difficulty. Almost anyone can form their own jewelry, flowers, numbers and letters out of metal using metal stamping kits or other tools. The higher the quality of the metal used, the longer these personal things will last. Metal stamping is also an industrial fabrication process used to create weaponry, vehicle components, dollar bill changers, vending machines, decorative sheet metal parts, medical life-saving devices, and many other items.
Stamping includes a variety of sheet-metal forming manufacturing processes, such as punching using a machine press or stamping press, blanking, embossing, bending, flanging, and coining. This could be a single stage operation where every stroke of the press produce the desired form on the sheet metal part, or could occur through a series of stages. The process is usually carried out on sheet metal, but can also be used on other materials, such as polystyrene.
When working with metal stamping in the industrial world, material quality is very important. A metal stamping company may work with aerospace or medical industries creating products that can save lives-if the metal used is of low quality, lives can be destroyed instead.
Stamping simulation is a technology that calculates the process of sheet metal stamping, predicting common defects such as splits, wrinkles, springback and material thinning. Also known as forming simulation, the technology is a specific application of non-linear finite element analysis. The technology has many benefits in the manufacturing industry, especially the automotive industry, where lead time to market, cost and lean manufacturing are critical to the success of a company.
Recent research by the Aberdeen research company (October 2006) found that the most effective manufacturers spend more time simulating upfront and reap the rewards towards the end of their projects.
Stamping simulation is used when a sheet metal part designer or toolmaker desires to assess the likelihood of successfully manufacturing a sheet metal part, without the expense of making a physical tool. Stamping simulation allows any sheet metal part forming process to be simulated in the virtual environment of a PC for a fraction of the expense of a physical tryout.
Results from a stamping simulation allow sheet metal part designers to assess alternative designs very quickly to optimize their part for low cost manufacture.
Quality control is important, from verifying the metal when it's received to complete testing and inspection once the product is completed. Metal stamped parts can be made into fuel injectors for an automobile, engines in an aircraft, bayonet assemblies, and navigation systems used by the military. With components that can take lives if they fail, it's important to ensure the company you're working with takes quality control very seriously.
First inspection of the material when it is received is an important quality control process. If the metal company can verify where the materials that will be used in production come from, it is likely they take care to make sure your components do not fail on you. Material identification provides documentation as to where the metal has been before being used in fabrication; it shows where it's made and how it's transferred. By using metals from reputable sources, metal stampings are more durable, smoother, and last longer than questionable materials.
Final inspection of the completed component is just as important as material identification. By performing non-destructive testing and other inspection methods on the product, any defaults or other issues will be noticed. A company with high quality standards keeps their rejected products to less than 1%. This shows that quality control is completed during every step of the fabrication process.
Metal stamping prototypes are a great way to ensure that the final fabrication of all parts will be correct in tolerance, size, durability, and design. Whether the prototype is a working part or not, working with companies who offer this as an option can mean the difference between getting exactly what you want and a completed order that doesn't match your needs.