What is Die Stamping?
"Die" in die stamping refers to the tools that are used in the process of stamping metal. The primary use of a stamping die (Figure 1) is to use basic techniques like cutting, slitting, and bending to morph a metal sheet into the form needed.
It consists of a pairing of male and female parts. The metal cutting and shaping components of a die are made of various materials. The most important component of die stamping is called "tool steel," which is made up of hardened steel. But there are other durable and resilient materials like carbide etc, which can also be used to serve the purpose.
Dies come in various size ranges. It could be as small as those to make microelectronics and as large as to make automobile bodies.
Materials Used in Die Stamping:
Tool steel is one of the main components used in die stamping. Hence it is made up of different types of materials. Deciding which material will be right depends on the type of metal being molded. There are generally two categories of metals:
- Ferrous metals- the ones that contain iron e.g. steel.
- Non-Ferrous metals- the ones that do not contain iron e.g. aluminum.
Along with iron component factors, high volume and size of the die also plays a crucial role in the type of material used.
- Carbon tool steel: It is cost effective and has good processing ability but it lacks when it comes to strength and heat resistance.
- Low alloy tool steel: In comparison to carbon tool steel it has better heat resistance and is better able to withstand wear and tear. It is more hardened and can resist cracks.
- High carbon high chromium tool steel: It is long lasting, more able to harden and has little malformation as a result of friction.
- High carbon medium chromium tool steel: It has less but evenly distributed chromium unlike high carbon high chromium. Hence better performance overall.
- High-speed steel: It is the toughest and hardy among mold steels and has the highest ability to withhold pressure.
- Base steel: Little alterations with high speed steel i.e. carbon content and the addition of other elements, results in base steel which is an even improved version of high speed steel.
- Carbide and steel cemented carbide: The most tough and resistant one but has poor molding or bending strength.
Types of Die Stamping:
Die stamping can be segregated based on production. Following are some of the divisions:
Line Die Stamping:
Line stamping performs one function per cycle. It is appropriate for small scale operations where the high volume of the products is not required.
Compound Die Stamping:
Medium or large scale manufacturers can use compound die stamping as it is an improved version of line die stamping. It performs one or more functions simultaneously e.g. it can do piercing and blanking at the same time. Unlike line die stamping, compound die stamping is faster and cost effective in producing larger volumes. But it doesn’t do well with bending and morphing.
Progressive Die Stamping:
It handles more than one operation per cycle by utilizing its multiple stages of processing. This feature enables progressive die stamping to produce larger amounts of piece parts with less labor and less interference.
Transfer Die Stamping:
Transfer die stampings are like progressive dies. They involve moving stations that transfers piece parts from one position to another for processing. These often offer less tooling costs.
Die stamping has industry wide applications like in automobile industry, medical industry and also household industry. A very niche example is the cover of a beverage, produced by a progressive die stamping.
Why choose Die stamping:
Difficult materials can be processed using die stamping. The varieties of tool steel materials used have the tendency to cut and bend different types of metals.
No. of units required can be accomplished more efficiently. For example die cutting can manufacture more piece parts than laser cutting at the same time.
Automation of higher levels is offered by die stampings as compared to other tools. It immediately decreases the cost to micromanage the process.
Speed is also a selling factor as described as large volumes can be manufactured in less time by die stamping.
Cost can be adjusted as per user’s finances while using die stamping, depending upon the volume and scale of operations.