Are you considering hiring professional metal stamping services?
The more you know about stamped metal, the more prepared you’ll be to choose the right company for the job.
Stamped metal is used for all sorts of tasks today, and if you need stamped metal parts, you should know exactly what you’re paying for. In this guide, we’ll show you everything you need to know about the industry. Keep reading so you can hire the best business for the task!
History of Metal Stamping
The first widely used stamped metal parts came about in the 1880s, during mass production of bicycles. Stamping took the place of machining and die forging, allowing parts to be made at a much lower cost.
These stamped metal parts aren’t quite as strong as die forged metal, but the quality is good enough for most tasks.
By 1890, those stamped bicycle parts were being imported from Germany to the U.S. After that, some U.S. machine tool companies started to make their own custom stamping machines.
After the bicycle came the automobile, of course. Even before Ford Motor Company popularized the assembly line method of making cars, some automakers were using stamped components for their vehicles.
Ford’s engineers actually recommended the use of stamped metal, and Ford didn’t listen at first. But it soon became apparent that the company wouldn’t be able to meet customer demand with die forged metal parts, and stamped metal was introduced.
Stamped Metal Today
Now, parts made from stamped metal permeate many different aspects of modern life. For example, household appliances like washing machines and dryers are made using stamped sheet metal.
Basic items like silverware that we eat with and pots and pans that we cook with are made using metal stamping. And the cars we drive still use stamped metal parts to this day.
Some other common things made from stamped metal include cigarette lighters, aluminum drink cans, gun shells, and some solid gold jewelry. Even modern technology, like your computer, uses some stamped metal parts. In short, stamped metal is all around us, all the time.
Perceptions of Metal Stamping
Stamped metal is essential to our lives, but not everyone has the same perspective on the people who do it.
Some people believe that metal stamping is an unskilled, dirty factory job. However, the reality is that the people who do this work are skilled artisans who need a great deal of knowledge to get the job done.
Creating stamped metal parts involves a long list of tasks. People must design and make the die, troubleshoot issues as they come up, and do maintenance on the machines and parts involved.
Although it’s a hands-on job, the best metal stampers have to be creative, intelligent problem solvers. And as new technology takes over some of the hands-on aspects, brainpower has become an even more essential part of metal stamping. Without smart, experienced people, these parts would never get made.
Many metal stampers become masters of the industry and strive for perfection in their work. Their pieces have to fit perfectly in order to function well – and fit and function are essential for stamped metal parts.
For example, some parts of the die have to have very precise, accurate dimensions in order to work. A good metal stamper will take the time needed to make these parts precisely, while knowing which parts can be made with less effort.
Appearance Doesn’t Always Matter
One thing that’s not important in many steps of the metal stamping process is appearance. The finished product needs to look great, but the die and tools themselves only need to look good enough to get the job done.
If a stamped metal company doesn’t have perfectly polished tools and a spotless workspace, don’t worry – they’re probably focusing their efforts on the more important aspects of the business. The tools need to perform well, not look good.
Stamped Metalwork is Science, Not Art
There is a popular misconception that making stamped metal is an art form. Although some creative problem-solving skills can be needed for the job, it’s not actually an artistic pursuit. Making stamped metal parts is more of a science.
The best metalworkers are creative, but they build things for practical purposes, using practical experience and a professional skill set. A solid knowledge of physics is necessary to make parts that will perform well.
Professional metalworking is a career path that takes a lot of education and training. A lot of that education is on-the-job, although some of it comes in a more traditional academic form. The combination of academic and real-world knowledge can help get the job done right.
Diemakers have to do their jobs well, because the industry doesn’t leave much room for mistakes. A bad die is completely worthless, so scientific knowledge is needed to make sure things come out right every time.
The Metal Stamping Process
A number of different tools and machines might be used in the process of making stamped metal, but only three things are essential: the sheet metal for the part, the stamping die, and the stamping press.
The goal of the entire process is to get the piece of sheet metal into the correct shape and size for its intended purpose. Sometimes, a specialized process called hot stamping is used, but most of the time, the metal is stamped using cold forming. This means that no added heat is used throughout the operation.
However, even during cold forming, heat is naturally generated in the process. When the metal is cut and formed, friction between the metal and the die creates heat. This means that the metal coming out of the dies is usually very hot.
Do You Need Stamped Metal Parts?
Stamped metal components are needed for many different industries.
If you need them for your business, be sure to choose a metal stamping company that does precise, professional work. Otherwise, you’ll end up wasting money on poorly constructed parts that may not work at all.
Looking for more tips on choosing the best company for the job? Check out this post.