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.

Is Precision Metal Stamping Right for Your Application?

Precision metal stamping is a manufacturing process that utilizes a custom tool and die set installed in a stamping press to turn sheet metal into the desired components. It is used in a wide range of industries to create large quantities of parts and products with high precision, accuracy, and speed. While this process offers manufacturing advantages, it is not appropriate for every production project.

The following article discusses some of the considerations to keep in mind when determining whether precision metal stamping is right for your project. It provides an overview of the process, the benefits it offers, and the typical industries that use it.

An Overview of Precision Metal Stamping

Metal stamping—also sometimes referred to as pressing—relies on specialized tooling (i.e., a tool and die set) and equipment (i.e., a press) to form metal sheets and coils into the required shape and size. The pressure exerted on the workpiece by the press forces the material to conform to the shape formed by the tool and die. This process can occur in a single stage or across several stages, depending on the simplicity or complexity of the end product. Precision metal stamping operations largely rely on the use of automated equipment, which ensures the finished components are both precise and accurate.

In addition to higher precision and accuracy, some of the other advantages the precision metal stamping process demonstrates over other manufacturing processes include:

  • Greater product and process quality. Accuracy offered by the precision metal stamping process translates to a lower error rate during production. This means there is a smaller chance of producing faulty or flawed parts making it into the hands of customers.
  • Lower production costs. A generally automated process, precision metal stamping mitigates the need for manual labor. This quality also results in a lower error rate, which translates to less material utilization and waste during a production run.

Industries Served

As indicated above, the precision metal stamping process finds application in a wide range of industries. Some of the industries that regularly employ the process for the production of their parts and products include:


Metal Stamping for AutomotiveIn the automotive industry, stamping is used to create a variety of structural and functional parts used in vehicle bodies and frames, electrical systems, steering systems, and more. Some examples of typical automobile parts made in metal stamping operations include:

  • Brackets and hangers
  • Electrical terminals and connectors
  • Wire forms (e.g., tire and under chassis components)


In the aerospace industry, parts and products are subject to strict manufacturing requirements and restrictions. These guidelines are in place to ensure the safety of the aircraft’s personnel and passengers and the public. For this reason, aerospace components manufacturers (e.g., Keats Manufacturing Co.) maintain certification and compliance with various industry standards such as Mil-spec and RoHS. Some of the metal stamped parts and products commonly produced for aerospace applications include:

  • Assemblies
  • Brackets
  • Bushings
  • Clips
  • Lead frames
  • Shields
  • Terminals
  • Wire forms

Medical Devices

Metal Stamping for Medical DevicesSimilar to the aerospace industry, the medical device industry has many standards dictating how a component should be made. These exceptionally high standards ensure the safety of medical practitioners and patients. Standard and custom metal stampings are found in a variety of medical devices, including:

  • Connectors, couplings, and fittings
  • Equipment housing and sleeves
  • Implants and prosthetics
  • Pump and motor components
  • Surgical instruments and equipment
  • Temperature probes

Electrical Distribution

Professionals in the electrical distribution industry make use of many different metal stamped parts and products in circuit breakers, distribution boxes, switches, transformers, and other critical equipment. Some examples include:

  • Brackets
  • Clips
  • Contacts
  • Inserts
  • Shields
  • Terminals


Metal Stamping for Appliances - Washing MachinePrecision metal stampings are found in a wide range of commercial and residential appliances, such as:

  • Automatic garage doors
  • Dishwashers
  • Dryers
  • Garbage disposals
  • Grills
  • HVAC units
  • Irrigation systems
  • Ovens
  • Pool filtration and pump systems
  • Refrigerators
  • Security systems
  • Stoves
  • Thermostats
  • Washers
  • Water heaters

Renewable Energy

The renewable energy industry encompasses solar, wind, geothermal, and other clean energy operations. As the industry grows in response to the push for greater sustainability, so too does the need for reliable parts for power generation and distribution equipment and systems. Some of the metal stamped components regularly produced for such applications are:

  • Antennas
  • Brackets and clips
  • Cases, inserts, and retainers
  • Fan blades
  • Grounding straps and busbars
  • Heat sinks
  • Plates
  • Shields
  • Terminals and contacts

Contact the Precision Metal Stamping Experts at Keats Manufacturing Today

The precision metal stamping process plays a critical role in the production of components for many industries. For customers looking for an experienced and knowledgeable metal stamping partner, the Keats Manufacturing team is here to help.

At Keats Manufacturing, we’ve provided custom small metal stamping solutions for over 60 years. Armed with extensive manufacturing experience and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, we can fulfill nearly every metal stamping request with a high-quality product solution. To find out more about our metalworking capabilities or partner with us on your next project, contact us or request a quote today.

Aluminum Alloys for Metal Stamping

Aluminum Alloys for Metal Stamping

Aluminum alloys are grades of aluminum containing other elements that enhance the strength, durability, and other properties of pure aluminum. Adding different alloying elements allows the material to perform in a range of applications. 

Elements often added to aluminum include:

  • Silicon
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Manganese

These elements can make up at least 15% of the final alloy by weight. Here we’ll explain the properties and types of aluminum alloys, as well as what makes a good alloy for metal stamping.

What Are Aluminum Alloys?

Aluminum alloys contain aluminum as the predominant metal along with other alloying elements. There are two major forms of aluminum alloys: wrought and cast alloys.

A cast aluminum alloy is an alloy that is melted in a furnace and poured into a mold to cool and solidify. Finished components have a low melting point, and the process creates cost-effective products. However, cast alloys generally have lower tensile strength than wrought alloys. Wrought aluminum alloys are alloys worked in solid form with the help of specialized tools. Aluminum stamping utilizes these alloys, which can be separated into two categories: wrought non-heat-treatable and wrought heat-treatable. 

Cast and wrought aluminum have different identification systems. Cast aluminum alloys are identified by three digits followed by one decimal place. Wrought alloys follow a four-digit system, in which the first digit identifies the principal alloying element. The second digit, if not a 0, signifies a modification of the alloy, while the third and fourth digits identify the specific alloy. For non-heat-treatable alloys, a suffix is added to the number to indicate temper designation.

Aluminum Alloy Properties 

One of the major benefits of aluminum alloys is their excellent strength-to-weight ratio: they are strong without being heavy. Because they are light, they are often used in commercial projects and transportation applications, where reduced weight results in cost savings. 

Since they are light and effective, aluminum alloy parts last longer and require less raw material to make. These and the following characteristics make aluminum alloys ideal for metal stamping operations:

  • Thermal and electrical conductivity
  • Flexibility and malleability
  • Shiny, smooth finish requires little maintenance
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Strength at low and high temperatures

Types of Aluminum Alloys 

There are three types of aluminum alloys:

  • Wrought non-heat-treatable
    • Made up of high-purity aluminum alloys (1xxx series), manganese alloys (3xxx series), and magnesium alloys (5xxx series), all of which are used for metal stamping
    • Hardened mainly through cold working
  • Wrought heat-treatable
    • Consists of copper, magnesium, or zinc as alloying elements
    • Includes 2xxx series, 6xxx series, and 7xxx series
    • Precipitation hardening enhances the alloy’s strength
  • Cast aluminum alloys
    • Includes non-heat-treatable and heat-treatable alloys
    • 2xxx, 3xxx, 4xxx, 7xxx, 8xxx series
    • Strength levels are not as high as those of wrought heat-treatable alloys

Aluminum Alloys for Metal Stamping

Aluminum is available in various alloys and tempers. The best product varies by project. Here are a few factors to keep in mind when choosing an aluminum grade:

  • Level of workability or formability 
  • Level of corrosion resistance
  • Strength level
  • Typical applications
  • Weldability or machinability
  • Type of heat treatment

These are the characteristics and applications of the common aluminum alloys used for metal stamping:

Aluminum Alloy Alloying Elements Characteristics Common Applications
1100 Commercially pure aluminum Ductile and soft

Excellent corrosion resistance

Useful for applications that require intricate forming because it hardens slower than other alloys

Kitchenware, decorative trim, giftware
3003 Commercially pure aluminum with manganese added Most frequently used aluminum alloy; inexpensive

Manganese increases strength by about 20% over  1100 aluminum

Corrosion resistance

Good workability 

Can be welded, deep drawn, spun, or brazed

Cooking utensils, kitchen equipment, chemical equipment
5052 Alloyed with magnesium Highest strength alloy of the common non-heat-treatable grades

Fatigue strength is better than other alloys

Excellent resistance to marine atmospheres and saltwater corrosion

Optimal workability and good finishing characteristics

Aircraft components, home appliances, heavy-duty cooking utensils

Contact Us for the Top Selection of Aluminum Alloys

For the best turnaround time and price, Keats Manufacturing recommends selecting common gauge and common alloys. Since 1958, we have been crafting stamped metal parts for each client’s needs. We have a strict adherence to our quality control system, ensuring that your customer satisfaction and confidence are our top priority.

Over the decades, unique projects and parts have come through our facility. Decisions for design details and custom tooling influence the performance of the parts, but the material used is always the most critical decision made in the manufacturing process.

To learn more about how we can help with your next project, contact our team. For more information about the materials we use, check out our downloadable eBook, Choosing the Best Raw Materials.