Automobiles rely on a wide range of components to operate safely and efficiently. Most of these components — which are found in every part of a vehicle, from its frame to its electrical systems — are manufactured using metal stamping and precision machining methods.
Metal stamping, also referred to as pressing, involves placing a sheet or coil of metal into a press and forming it into the desired shape over a die or mold. This can be done in one stage or over several stages, depending on the complexity of the required end product.
Automotive stamping allows for the manufacture of many different functioning parts, which are used in automotive bodies and frames, as well as electrical, steering, alternator, and fuel systems. These components play a crucial role in ensuring optimal safety and functionality.
Terminals and Electrical Connectors
The auto industry produces thousands of vehicles a year, and hundreds of terminals and electrical connectors are installed in each vehicle.
Automotive manufacturers typically employ connectors with a two-piece socket and tab design. Using flexible materials, the male and female component ends can easily attach and disconnect, allowing for great durability and flexibility. This is crucial, given the amount of abuse these components take from weather, general wear and tear, chemical exposure, and other harsh elements cars encounter on the road.
As the auto industry depends more and more on electrical systems, demand will rise for highly protected, durable terminals and connectors. These components can be made from a variety of different materials — including copper, brass, phosphor bronze, and various grades of steel — using four/multi-slide forming and progressive die and metal stamping techniques.
Automotive Wire Forms
The wire forming process involves pulling a strip of metal through a series of lubricated metal dies or molds so it can take the desired shape. Allowing for many wire sizes and shapes, this simple, versatile process can even be applied to glass. Commonly worked materials include titanium and copper, but the ideal material choice will depend on the specific application at hand.
Wire formed products are used in a wide range of applications, including construction, which makes use of rebar, as well as heating elements and even mattresses, which make use of springs and coils. In the auto industry, wire formed products are found in tires and under chassis.
Automotive Brackets and Hangers
Metal brackets are also found in many different automotive applications — door panels, instrument panels, fender assemblies, and airbags, to name just a few. Primarily used to fasten one component to another, brackets can be manufactured from metals such as steel, as well as various other high-strength, oxidation-resistant alloys. Since automotive brackets may be exposed to the elements, these properties are particularly important.
Metal stamping and precision machining techniques are essential for ensuring optimal safety, reliability, and comfort in all types of vehicles. These processes, whether complex or simple, require experienced and dedicated technicians; companies should be sure to partner with knowledgeable industry leaders who can provide reliable solutions tailored to the specific application at hand. Components must be durable enough to withstand years of use in varying road and weather conditions, so quality is of utmost importance.
At Keats Manufacturing Co., we’re proud to offer industry-leading wire form design and manufacturing services. Committed to quality in everything we do, our facilities are ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and TS 16949 compliant, and we make use of the latest technological innovations, including CAD/CAM. Our operations are overseen by 25 of the industry’s most experienced die makers.
For more information on our custom metal stamping services for the automotive industry and discuss automotive component manufacturing options for your unique application, reach out to the team today.
Keats Manufacturing is pleased to announce that we have achieved certification under IATF 16949:2016, a technical specification for quality management systems in the automotive sector as set forth by the International Automotive Task Force (IATF).
What is IATF 16949:2016 certification?
A Quality Management System (QMS) is a set of processes, policies, records, and documented procedures that lay out the internal rules under which a company produces and delivers its products and services to customers. Within the automotive industry, one of the most ubiquitous international standards for quality management is the ISO/TS 16949. This standard harmonizes the various certification systems and assessments in the world’s automotive supply chain.
What is the significance of the certification?
This IATF certification demonstrates a consistent commitment to customer satisfaction and quality of products and services. Both internal and external audits of our QMS documentation show that Keats Manufacturing has a high-standard Quality Management System in place and that we operate accordingly.
What requirements must a company meet to be certified?
IATF16949 consists of 11 sections, seven of which detail the requirements for an organization’s QMS in order to qualify for certification:
- Section 4: Context of the organization – The organization must determine its context in terms of the QMS, including the needs and expectations of interested parties.
- Section 5: Leadership – Top management must show leadership and commitment to implementation of the QMS as well as assign process owners and other roles and responsibilities.
- Section 7: Support – This section details the QMS requirements for infrastructure, people, organizational knowledge, competence, communication, awareness, work environment, monitoring and measuring of resources, and documentation of information.
- Section 8: Operation – The organization must meet product requirements in all aspects of planning and creating their product or service. This section addresses planning, review of product requirements, design, purchasing, creation of products or services, and control of the equipment for monitoring and measuring the product or service.
- Section 9: Performance evaluation – The organization must effectively monitor the functionality of the QMS. They must assess customer satisfaction, perform internal audits, monitor products and processes, and review management.
- Section 10: Improvement – An organization must continually improve the QMS, meeting requirements for nonconformities and corrective actions, error-proofing processes, and problem solving.
Once the processes and procedures have been designed and implemented for a period of time, the records collected during the operation of the QMS serve as the basis for audits, reviews of the system, and, ultimately, certification.
How is this newer version of the certification different?
The updated version of ISO/TS 16949, IATF 16949:2016 was published on October 3rd, 2016. It replaces the previous ISO/TS 16949 and sets forth the requirements for a QMS used by an organization within the automotive industry. Meant to be used with ISO 9001:2015, it supplements the requirements for a stand-alone QMS, customizing the standard to the specifics of the automotive industry.
IATF 16949:2016 blends various standards from across the United States and Europe. It outlines best practices for the design, development, manufacture, installation, and service of automotive products. This international measure of quality is the gold standard for any company to develop a system for ensuring improvement and customer satisfaction.
What does the certification mean for Keats’ customers?
We take automotive quality very seriously. The purpose of the IATF certification is to ensure that our customers can rely on faithful delivery of high-quality products. Keats Manufacturing has long been committed to customer satisfaction and ongoing improvements, and this certification is evidence of that commitment.
To download our IATF 16949:2016 certification and our other quality certifications, click here.