Making the transition from fabricating to stamping

Typical fabricating job shops and OEMs make parts using traditional fabrication methods, such as turret punching, laser cutting, and press brake bending. But for the production of some flat sheet metal parts, the most efficient method is stamping using hard tooling.

Many companies already have both a fab department and a stamping department, and they understand the benefits of fabricating for lower-volume parts and stamping for higher-volume parts. They also know the part quantity they need to hit before they can justify moving a part to stamping, which involves a higher investment in tooling.

But how do shops and OEMs that haven’t yet ventured into stamping decide when to transition a specific part to this process? Before addressing that question, let’s explore some general information about stamping.

Advantages of Stamping
The primary advantage of stamping over fabrication is the reduction of labor. Running a progressive tool from a coil will yield 20 to 100 parts/min., and rates are much higher in high-speed applications. For hand-fed tools, such as single- and multiple-station stage tools or line transfer tools, production rates can be 80 to 180 parts/hour. These tools are suitable for jobs that don’t have the volume required to justify building a full progressive tool—perhaps an assembly that combines fabricated parts and hard-tooled stampings to eliminate costly press brake operations.

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