Various manufacturing processes require the use of precision metal-stamped products made from slit coil steel, copper, and brass, among other materials. These products are manufactured using power press stamping machines specifically built to produce parts from coiled metal or another similar materials.
There is more than one type of stamping machine. The first is the progressive die stamping machine, which allows operations on a piece of metal until a final component is produced. This type of machine combines an automatic feeding system with punching, coining, bending, and other processes for modifying metal raw material and turning it into finished products.
Another type of stamping machine is four-slide/multi-slide stamping machine, which makes possible the production of shapes and bends of varying complexities. This type of machine is used in the mass production of stamped components made from bar or wire stock.
Progressive Die Stamping
Progressive die stamping machines utilize a vertical motion when processing slit coil metal. Bending and cutting operations are performed simultaneously within a die to complete at least one part with every stroke of a machine. The coiled material is fed through the die and is processed progressively in steps. Progressive die tooling can have as little as one step or as many as 40 steps depending on the complexity of the part. Because of the nature of the process which requires material to be pushed into the next station with every stroke of the tool, a progressive die must pilot material in order to locate it within the die prior to cutting and forming. The requirement of pilot holes within the progressive material strip can sometimes lead to excessive scrap or waste within the process.
However, progressive die machines take 38% less time to set up than four-slide or multi-slide machines. This can allow manufacturers to produce smaller lot sizes and be more flexible with production scheduling to produce only what the customer needs when they need it. The principles pioneered by legendary Japanese manufacturing engineer Shigeo Shingo: SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Dies) can be applied to progressive die machines and is standard practice at Keats. Progressive dies are also capable of producing more than one part per stroke, making them ideal for manufacturing high volume:
- Lead frames
As the name suggests, four-slide metal stamping machines have four moving slides. In contrast, multi-slide stamping machines may have more than four moving slides. Four-slide or multi-slide metal stamping works horizontally based on right angles, with the slides (rams) in the machine striking the coil material to produce the finished product.
The production of complex bends and shapes is made possible by the servo motors or mechanically actuated cams acting on the slides. With this type of machine, adding threading, screwing insertion, staking, and other value-added assembly operations are possible.
Four-slide and multi-slide stamping produces 31% less scrap on average when compared to progressive die stamping. This is made possible by removing the requirement of pilot holes and replacing piloting operations with slotted blank holders which allow the part to move from the punching to forming operations without the need for pilots. This also allows Keats to purchase raw material to the exact width of the part and eliminate trimming. Since Four-slide production allows use of an infinite number of planes and axes, it can produce a maximum of 375 parts per minute, making it ideal for mass production of highly-complex parts such as:
For context, 96% of all clips made at Keats are made using multi-slide die stamping.
Because multi-slide machines are much more complex, they can take longer to setup than progressive die machines. Four-slide production is ideal for components with high volume requirements where material cost and scrap are large contribution factors to the cost of the component.
They may be different, but multi-slide stamping and progressive die stamping each have their own set of advantages. Whatever stamping method is right for your needs, you can be sure Keats Manufacturing Company has the capabilities to provide it for you. We perform a detailed analysis of every RFQ and provide our customers with the most cost effective production solution.
Keats has been providing custom metal stamping, assemblies, and wire forms for 60 years, and our facilities contain nearly 150 metal stamping and wire forming machines that operate 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. We provide everything from custom prototyping to high-volume orders containing 100’s of millions of parts.
To learn more about our metal stamping processes or other services, contact us or request a quote.