Many of our clients wonder whether metal stamping or fabrication is right for them. Each of these techniques is a good choice for different reasons. Look over the details below to see which method will best serve your needs.
Sheet Metal Stamping
Sheet metal stamping involves bending, punching, or flanging the object with a stamping press. The stamping is either done in separate parts or through multiple stages. Manual presses are an option but coil-fed press equipment is the industry standard.
This method creates formations simultaneously or with progressive die. Sheet metal stamping is typically done when replicating parts in high volume. Precision stamping is done when creating unique products with very specific criteria. Bending and forming with CNC equipment is preferred if you are creating two or three-dimensional objects.
Many businesses opt for metal stamping because of its cost efficiency. For complex products, precision stamping is a quicker solution than fabrication. Metal stamping is not cost-effective for short production runs but it is invaluable for long runs.
Should You Choose Metal Stamping?
Simple products with minimal customizations can be effectively produced via sheet metal stamping. This technique can have benefits over fabrication. Primarily, metal stamping is a cost-effective choice for production runs with mid-to-high volumes. Complex products with some customizations are possible with precision stamping. While the level of control is not as extensive as with fabrication via CNC cutters.
However, remember the downfalls…
- Stamping is typically too expensive for short production runs.
- It can take far too long to make design changes after tools are already produced.
- Longer lead times are sometimes required.
Sheet Metal Fabrication
Sheet metal fabrication involves cutting, drilling, or welding the object with CNC cutters. Fabrication can involve tapping or thread rolling with a tapping machine. The process might also include folding by striking or with press brakes or folders. After assembling, the separate parts can join together with fasteners or crimped seams, or be welded or riveted together.
Customizations are more diverse with fabrication. Lead times are lower for complicated creations. The high level of flexibility with this equipment makes it easy to adjust a design on the fly. Meanwhile, it can sometimes be impossible to make any design changes when using a stamping press.
Many businesses prefer sheet metal fabrication because of the fast design-to-production timeline. Producing prototypes is much easier with fabricating versus stamping. Likewise, with fabrication it is not cost-prohibitive to run a small volume production.
Read more about the pros and cons of custom sheet metal fabrication.
Should You Choose Metal Fabrication?
Complex products with a high level of customization should be done via sheet metal fabrication. This technique can work effectively in ways not possible with a stamping press. A big advantage with metal fabrication is the short lead times. You can make adjustments to your design without messing up your production schedule. Furthermore, metal fabrication is more cost-effective on short production runs.
However, remember the downfalls…
- The amount of labor required will vary depending on your expectations. In the most advanced cases, the cost of labor will be high which should be a consideration.
- Any odd shapes or complex parts can greatly increase the amount of time that it takes to produce a single unit.
- Production takes longer and repeating a process is not as easy as it is when stamping the sheet metal.
- The level of consistency is not as dependable when fabricating as it is with stamping dies.
Both sheet metal stamping and fabrication are common practices. The appropriate metal formation method will vary depending on the application. One of these two techniques will be more favorable than the other. It’s important to consider the circumstances when deciding which method you will use to create your product or part.
Confused about which option is right for your needs?
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