When you require a new metal part to be manufactured, there are two processes you may want to consider: metal stamping and metal fabrication. Both of these are used by many industries, but they are quite different. Each has certain advantages and disadvantages that can make them more suitable for your product. Here are the key differences between metal fabricating and metal stamping to help you make your decision.
Metal stamping is also known as ‘pressing.’ It is a relatively straightforward process where a flat sheet of metal is taken and laid on a stamping or machine press. The metal is then worked using a range of processes that can include bending, folding, pressing, stretching, blanking and punching. With this process, metal parts can be produced in one stage or in multiple stages.
The advantages of metal stamping are that it tends to be fast and economical when it comes to large production runs. The larger the production run, the cheaper the cost for each piece becomes. It is a good option for high-volume runs involving complex and innovative products, and it can be automated to a high degree.
The problem with metal stamping comes when you only need one product. If you are creating a custom product, the cost will increase dramatically for this, often to the point where it is too expensive to be viable. It is also not a particularly flexible option. This means that if you decide you need to make some changes to the design, implementing these can be very expensive.
Metal fabrication is where metal is shaped into parts through a range of processes, including stretching, bending, sawing, shearing, and cutting. Materials are removed during the process, and individual pieces are then joined together, usually by hand. This is used by manufacturers like Midlake, which makes custom spring hinges.
Metal fabrication has many advantages. One of these is that it is very quick, making it an ideal option for a prototype. It is also very versatile and flexible, as lots of production techniques can be used to create highly-customized metal parts. Design changes can also be made very quickly in a way that is not possible with metal stamping.
The downside, however, is that it is more labor intensive usually has a higher cost-per-piece. It is also not as ideal as metal stamping for repeating a process.
Decide on the Most Suitable Option
Deciding between metal fabrication and metal stamping is always an important decision to make when you are producing a new product. It will affect every element including the quality, the cost, the production time, and the design, so make sure you think carefully about the two options before making a decision. Speak to a specialist metal worker and get his or her recommendation. Then use that expert advice to help you make your decision. It could save you time and money in the long run.
Julie Shrum has worked at Midlake since her father decided to retire way back in 1996. She has accumulated a vast knowledge of hinges and metalworking during her time as sales manager. Julie works closely with the sales team to create the best customer experience possible. She continues to learn daily about new applications for sheet metal fabrication.