Common Defects Found in High Volume Runs & How to Prevent Them

Avoiding defects is a major goal in metal stamping. Over time, machinery needs recalibration, and punches and tools need sharpening or realignment. If these issues are ignored, stampings may drift out of tolerance, leading to extra time and money for rework.

Your stamping partner should value quality control as much as you do. At Keats Manufacturing, we are always watching for defects and out-of-tolerance stampings during manufacturing and with specialized inspection methods. Keep reading to learn more.

Defect Rates

In small production runs, it’s often possible to inspect individual stampings manually – this is not so much the case at high volumes. Defect rates can soar if problems are not fixed early. Stampers turn to inspection methods that use computers and automation to find defects and errors while maintaining efficiency.

One option is coordinate measuring machines or CMMs. These devices use delicate probes or vision cameras to physically or optically assess a part’s dimensions and features. By comparing the part against stored coordinate data or a digital image, CMMs identify when a part is out of tolerance.

To speed up the process, specialized fixturing is used to position multiple parts for inspection at once. This helps operators maintain their workflow while incorporating quality control.

Forming and Dimensional Defects

Forming and dimensional defects can occur as a result of the material used, worn or improperly assembled tooling, or design problems like defect-prone part features or specifications that are challenging to achieve.

Defects or problems that appear repeatedly signal a stamping error. Identifying and resolving them quickly makes it easier to avoid scrap and rework and minimizes the risk of defective parts reaching you or your customers.

Forming Defects

Metal forming is the process of changing the shape of a metal workpiece without adding or removing material. Common examples of forming defects include:

  • Cracking and tearing
  • Galling or scratching
  • Misalignment or shifting inside the press
  • Incorrect punch or guide angles

Dimensional Defects

Metal stamping involves changing the shape of a workpiece by cutting, punching, shearing, blanking, or otherwise removing material to create a finished part. Defective parts are often out of tolerance, which affects their fit and function in an assembly or finished product.

Common sheet metal stamping defects include:

  • Twisting, wrinkles, or improper flatness
  • Incorrect hole placement, size, or shape
  • Incorrect bend angles or springback
  • Burrs and deformed edges
  • Overall part length/width defects

Stamping defects are often caused by a misaligned material feed, worn or broken punches, material defects, improper force or tonnage, or other problems.

Packaging Defects

Packaging mistakes can also lead to damaged parts, scrap and rework, fulfillment delays, and extra expenses.

Incorrect or Missing Shipping Markings and Barcodes

Incorrect barcodes or labels in the wrong place are inconvenient in smaller orders, and it only compounds in a high-volume production run. It takes time and money to relabel dozens or hundreds of boxes and cases, or to recheck part numbers, shipping info, or dimensional details. That in turn causes fulfillment delays, so it’s critical that inspection includes checks for these errors.

Container and Product Defects

Components may be packaged manually by workers or with automated or semi-automated equipment, or even a combination. Regardless of the method, parts can be damaged if they are packed incorrectly, jostled and scratched, or if the packaging itself is damaged, bent, or torn. Some packaging methods like tape and reel encapsulation for very small parts, or custom trays to isolate individual parts, can prevent damage during packaging.

Another important step is the final inspection of packed parts. This ensures packaging is correct and no defective parts were missed in earlier inspections. It can be done by workers as they pack items or with machine vision equipment, comparing an image of a correctly packed tray or box with items as they exit the packaging line.

Metal Stamping Services From Keats Manufacturing

Errors and defects can happen at many points in the stamping and packaging process. That’s why you should work with a manufacturer who prioritizes attention to detail at every turn and has taken the steps to mitigate the risk of defects.

At Keats Manufacturing ee are ISO:9001, ISO:14001, and IATF:16949 certified. We provide high-quality metal stamping and finishing services with careful inspection and packaging to meet your needs. Contact us to learn more or request a quote to start your order.

Why You Need Custom Metal Clips

When an off-the-shelf clip just won’t get the job done, you can turn to the experts at Keats Manufacturing Co. to manufacture your custom clip exactly to your spec. We specialize in the design, manufacturing, and assembly of high volume custom metal clips for a broad range of applications, including highly technical industries requiring the tightest possible tolerance windows and specialized materials. To produce our extensive range of wire clip shapes and sizes, we use Four-Slide / Multi-Slide metalforming machines and mechanical punch press machines. We utilize a number of secondary services such as deburring, austempering, plating and dip spin coatings. Over 300 different custom clips are produced at Keats’ multiple state-of-the-art production facilities.

Read on to learn more about how we provide customers with the most effective metal clips of any shape, size, and material using industry-leading metal stamping technology and exacting quality controls.

Different Shapes for Clips

Our production expertise and facility capabilities extend beyond simple shapes and include a wide range of complex custom designs based on our client’s exact needs. Some of Keats Manufacturing’s most heavily relied on metal wire clips include:

  • U-clips
  • C-clips
  • S-clips
  • D-spring clips
  • Solar Panel array wire management clips
  • Flat spring clips
  • Dart clips
  • Round metal clips
  • Terminal clips
  • Tubular clips
  • Metal hinge clips
  • Industrial metal shelf clips

Materials for Custom Metal Clips

Our experienced fabrication technicians are adept at shaping a vast range of source material types, providing our customers with innumerable choices. We can design, prototype, and fabricate custom metal clips made from metals as varied as:

  • Aluminum
  • Phosphor bronze
  • Beryllium copper
  • Low carbon steel
  • High-carbon steel
  • Stainless steel
  • Nickel
  • Brass

Keats Manufacturing’s metal clips are crucial components in many industries and technologies, including the automotive, communications, construction, aerospace, and military sectors, along with medical devices, solar panels, home appliances, electrical components, and much more.

There’s virtually no general manufacturing procedure that doesn’t require metal wire clips in at least some part of the process. We work carefully with each customer to fully understand their custom metal clip needs and ensure the finished product is exactly the right solution for their needs.

Benefits of Our Metal Clip Services

The Keats difference means customers never have to compromise on quality or customer service. Our experienced tool and die makers are equipped with advanced CAD/CAM, CNC, and EDM technologies that make more detailed and effective designs possible. From prototypes to full-production runs, we ensure every product adheres to the most stringent quality standards by collecting and analyzing a comprehensive range of production data.

The end result is total certainty that each customer receives the most effective metal clips, all at an affordable price and with just-in-time delivery. Customers across numerous industries can rest assured that our facilities are compliant with ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and IATF 16949 standards. To provide current and prospective clients with maximum confidence, we make copies of our updated certifications and other credentials available for download at any time.

No matter where our clients are located or how complex and large-scale their projects are, we always deliver final products of the utmost quality, on time, and at a competitive price.

Rely on Keats Metal Clip Services

Since 1958, Keats Manufacturing has advanced the field of precision metal engineering to meet the stamping and fabrication needs of countless global industries. We’ve outfitted our facilities with the best manufacturing equipment and QA procedures, making us fully capable of advanced design and prototyping processes, up through multi-million-part production runs with maximum efficiency.

If your company has any metal clip or other stamping needs, contact us or request a quote. Our highly knowledgeable representatives are standing by to learn about your metal fabrication needs.

Compound vs. Progressive vs. Transfer Die

Compound, progressive, and transfer die stamping are all methods used to produce metal stamped parts for many industries. The three die stamping methods allow manufacturers to meet unique design specifications, tolerances, and volumes, but it is crucial to choose the right process method that meets your needs.

Compound Die

Compound die stamping is a metal stamping method that simultaneously performs multiple bends, punches, or cuts in a single stroke. It is ideal for producing flat parts like washers and wheel blanks in medium or high volumes. Compound die stamping is a high-speed stamping process, but larger components can take longer to exit the machine, reducing the overall speed.

Compound die stamping delivers various benefits to manufacturers. The benefits of using compound die stamping include:

  • Less costly tooling than progressive die tooling
  • Efficient and fast production of simplistic and small parts
  • Facilitates high repeatability of single-die cases
  • One stroke produces flatter parts

Progressive Die

Progressive die stamping can produce parts with tight tolerances in large volumes. This stamping method can simultaneously shape, bend, and punch parts from a metal coil that is fed through the stamping press.

In progressive die stamping, the workpiece stays attached to the metal strip from start to finish. The part is removed only in the final step in the stamping process. This process is compatible with a range of materials; however, it requires costly steel tooling and is not suitable for parts requiring deep drawing. 

Progressive die stamping provides several benefits, including:

  • Saves time and money by performing multiple operations simultaneously
  • Reduces waste
  • Can perform long production runs
  • Lower labor costs and reduced setup
  • Permits complex geometries
  • Can quickly produce large runs of small parts with exacting tolerances

Transfer Die

Transfer die stamping starts by separating the workpiece from the metal strip to focus on the individual part. The process relies on automation to transport and align the workpiece to several stations, each performing a different operation. The multiple-step process of transfer die stamping allows for designs with high levels of intricacy, including threading, ribs, and knurls. 

Transfer die stamping is suitable for manufacturing deep drawn parts because the metal strip’s removal occurs at the beginning of the stamping process. It is also ideal for manufacturing tubes and applications that require a workpiece separate from the metal strip.

Transfer die stamping provides the following benefits to manufacturers:

  • Cost-effective for small production runs
  • Improved versatility
  • Efficiently produces complex and intricate parts
  • Suitable for large parts
  • Reduces the need for secondary operations for specialized parts

Metal Stamping From Keats Manufacturing Co.

Metal stamping is an efficient method of creating various parts from a strip of metal material using a die and press system. Because each type of metal stamping method has its differences, it’s important to work with an experienced partner that understands each process and can help you determine the best option for your needs.

At Keats Manufacturing Co., we deliver custom metal stamping using various die stamping methods. Our industry-leading metal stamping capabilities allow us to fulfill order quantities in a range of sizes and provide support from prototyping to production. For more information on our metal stamping capabilities, or for help choosing the right metal stamping method for your project, contact us or request a quote today.


Vehicle / Car Electrical System

Modern cars have a range of electrical connectors and terminals that control the internal system. This complex equipment controls and operates dozens of functions while providing critical real-time information to the driver. As the world makes the transition from ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) to electric-powered vehicles, the technology and components needed to support that transition will change as well. The main components of an ICE vehicle’s electrical system are the starter, battery, and alternator. The battery is a source of energy for the starter, while the alternator provides power to the car. With electric vehicles, there is no longer a need for a starter or alternator. The main battery provides enough power for the propulsion of the vehicle as well as the operation of all of the other components within the vehicle.

How Does Your Car’s Electrical System Work?

The primary function of a car’s electrical system is to generate and store energy while supplying electrical current to power the various car systems, including power windows, digital devices, electrical gauges, a central locking mechanism, and more. This system offers precision control and convenience of operations. 

The electrical system is incorporated throughout the vehicle to ensure communication between all parts of the car with the help of a central computer. Power is distributed from the main battery through a PDU (Power Distribution Unit) to all of the other components within the vehicle. 

Most electric car batteries operate between 300-800 volts which is substantially different from the traditional 12 volts from ICE vehicles. This system has very different requirements for components. Since the battery provides the power needed to propel the vehicle as well as operate all of the different functions and controls these cars have circuits with high amperage and bigger parts to efficiently bear the load without failure. 

Vehicle Electrical System Precision Metal Stamped Parts 

How does Keats play a role in the automotive electrical system? We produce precision metal stampings, wire forms and assemblies. We specialize in copper alloy parts which can be found in nearly every component within the vehicle electrical system.  Some examples of the components which Keats supplies parts for are ECU (Electronic Control Unit), Power Steering Sensor, Internal and External lighting systems, Adaptive Suspension Sensor, Ignition Coil, Fuse Box and many more

Some of the main components of a car’s electrical system include the following:


terminals - vehicle electrical system

A terminal is a conductor attached to the end of a wire within the vehicle that easily connects the various electrical parts within your car. Nearly all of the terminals within a vehicle are produced using the progressive stamping process. Once produced they are crimped to the ends of wires and become part of a larger wire harness. These terminals are responsible for electrical conductivity by providing power to the vehicle’s systems along with mechanical and electrical resistance to withstand harmful elements. Therefore, the durability and high quality of the car terminal connectors are crucial. 

Bus Bars

busbars - precision metal stamped parts

Bus bars are an amazing engineering feat that helps make complicated systems of power distribution simple, flexible, and more affordable. The battery bus bar is typically located inside the panel boards, busways, or switchgear and conducts an electrical current. This component enables the new electrical circuits to branch off at any place along the busway route, rather than branching off the primary supply at a single location. The car battery terminal bus bar connects high-voltage equipment with low-voltage devices within battery banks and high-voltage devices with electrical switchyards. There are also busbars located within the fuse box which play a key role in distributing electricity throughout the vehicle. Busbars are almost always made from copper. Keats specializes in the production of automotive bus bars using progressive die stamping and stage tooling in order to ensure the most stable and cost-effective production of these critical components.

Wire Harnesses

Wire harnesses are bundled wires and data circuits, but they are so much more than that.  Think of a wire harness as the nervous system of the vehicle.  Every switch, light bulb, sensor, assembly, regulator, gauge, or button needs to receive power from the wire harness and oftentimes provide a signal back to another component.  As vehicles become more and more complex through the use of sensors, the need for more complex wire harnesses with more connection points becomes larger. At Keats, we specialize in developing the terminals that attach to the end of each and every wire in the harness and work directly with our customers to develop custom stamped terminals and connectors to meet the changing needs of the electric vehicle market.


The EV switches within the car’s electrical system shut off or switch the power supply off from a battery circuit system. These switches protect the car as well as those around it from accidental electrical shock. The most common or easily recognizable example of an automotive switch is the one used to raise and lower the windows. Switches provide high-performance safety due to their interlocking design, which prevents a false power supply.  Keats supplies critical components that are used within these switches such as spring terminals.  

Custom Solutions From Keats

A car’s electrical system needs quality parts to ensure its maximum, safe performance. Keats is a leading automotive parts manufacturer that provides a wide range of high-quality, durable custom car electrical system parts, including bus bars, connectors, car battery terminals, and more. We use state-of-the-art technology and our industry expertise to provide you with premium-quality electrical system car parts that deliver superior performance and give you maximum return.   

We are certified to IATF:16949,  ISO:9001 & ISO:14001 so you can rest assured that we have the experience and the quality system necessary to meet the changing needs of today’s automotive electrical system market.

Get in touch with us now to request a free quote!

Key Considerations When Choosing a Metal Stamping Partner

Metal stamping is a manufacturing process that employs a specialized press, as well as tool and die set, to form sheet metal into a specified shape and size. Industry professionals employ metal stamping processes to produce a wide range of industrial parts and products. When looking for a metal stamping partner, there are several considerations to bear in mind. You’ll want to vet a company that offers the greatest value for your project.

The following piece provides an overview of some of the key factors to consider when choosing a metal stamping partner. In addition to metal stamping capabilities, qualities such as a broad selection of other fabrication and finishing services, extensive industry experience, and high quality standards are indicative of a high-value partner.

Partner vs. Supplier

When sourcing a metal stamping company, it is important to know the difference between a supplier and a partner. While a supplier has the metal stamping capabilities necessary to fulfill the project, a partner offers the required metal stamping services and more. The latter should be able to assist with all project needs, including design and engineering assistance, manufacturing, and/or finishing services. These offerings help shorten production timelines and reduce production costs.

Advanced Stamping Capabilities

While specialization is good, narrow specialization is not. For example, some projects may not overtly indicate which metal stamping process is appropriate. A metal stamping company that offers a wide range of in-house stamping capabilities—e.g., bending, blanking, coining, piercing, etc.—is better able to accommodate such projects. However, for projects that required advanced metalworking—i.e., deep draw stamping—it is essential to work with a specialist to ensure greater precision and accuracy in the finished parts.

Tooling Design and Development Services

Metal stamping companies that maintain an in-house tooling design and development team have greater control over part and process quality. As they have the ability to create custom tooling for every project, they are better able to ensure production proceeds as intended.

Secondary Services

As indicated above, a metal stamping partner should ideally offer more than just metal stamping capabilities. These secondary operations—provided in-house or through a network of reliable vendors—allow clients to receive a full-service stamping solution. Some of the other fabrication and finishing processes a partner may offer include:

  • Heat treatment
  • Forming and welding
  • Painting and electrocoating
  • Passivation and sterilization
  • Pre-plating and post-plating processes
  • Precious and non-precious metalwork
  • Specialty edge cleaning and deburring
  • Assembly
  • Kitting & Custom Packaging

Industry Experience

Regardless of whether you [the customer] are in the aerospace, automotive, construction, appliance, or other industry, any potential metal stamping partner should have experience producing parts and products for your industry. This quality ensures the partner is familiar with any requirements or restrictions specific to the industry (e.g., using FDA compliant materials for medical devices).

Production Capacity

Both the type of equipment employed and the lead time for raw material orders estimated affect a company’s production capacity. A metal stamping partner should utilize metalworking equipment that allows them to complete projects efficiently without sacrificing precision or accuracy.

Quality Management

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) develops and publishes standards aimed toward ensuring the quality, safety, and efficiency of products and services. The ISO 9000 family of standards focuses on quality management principles regarding a company’s products and processes. Companies certified to ISO 9001 comply with the ISO’s criteria for quality management systems, meaning they are knowledgeable about best practices regarding quality and sustainability, and are actively and adequately working to integrate them.

Metal Stamping Solutions From Keats Manufacturing

At Keats Manufacturing Company, we are an ISO- and ITAF-certified manufacturer of high-quality custom metal stampings, wire forms, and assemblies. Equipped with over 60 years of metalworking experience and three state-of-the-art facilities, our team has the knowledge, skills, and tools to meet virtually any small metal stamping need, ranging in size and design complexity. Our metal stamping capabilities include:

  • Bending
  • Blanking
  • Coining
  • Curling
  • Drawing
  • Embossing
  • Piercing
  • Punching

We also offer in-house tooling design and development services, which allows us to create die and tools sets that achieve up to ±0.0005 inch tolerances throughout a metal stamping project.

The industries we serve include:

To learn more about our metalworking capabilities or partner with us on your next project, contact us or request a quote today.