A metal forming process commonly used to manufacture parts for the appliance, electronic, and automotive industries, progressive die stamping involves the use of multiple stations within one machine; each of these stations executes at least one procedure on the part being worked. Attached to a metal strip, the part automatically moves, or “progresses,” from one station to another until it is complete and separated from the strip during the last operation.
Instead of moving through a machine while attached to a metal strip, as with transfer die stamping, a part is severed from the strip during the first operation so that it can be transferred from one station to the next in order to complete its formation.
Key Features and Benefits of Progressive Die Stamping
To advance the metal strip from each station, the movement must be done carefully and meticulously to guarantee the accuracy of the finished product. Because the part is attached to a metal strip throughout its formation, the entire process will be ruined if the strip is off by even a tiny fraction of an inch. Conical-shaped pilots insert into pre-pierced holes in the strip to ensure the precision of the alignment as the part advances.
Progressive die stamping offers a few unique benefits, including the high speed with which the products can be made; the low labor costs involved, as only one operator needs to supervise the machine; and the minimal amount of scrap left behind due to the elevated design of progressive die machines. And, as mentioned, rather than conducting several setups — as done with traditional stamping methods — progressive die stamping requires only one setup.
During progressive die stamping, the dies can endure large quantities of runs without degrading, allowing for high repeatability. Because the material is continuously fed into the machine, long production runs can be completed, producing more finished parts in less time. All of these benefits result in a lower cost per part.
Key Features and Benefits of Transfer Die Stamping
Transfer die stamping uses one press to operate multiple tools. Removed from its metal strip so that it can be freely transferred, a part is shaped by each die until it is complete. In the past, these procedures required multiple presses and transfers by hand. The automation of the transfer process streamlines the operation into a single press.
Transfer die stamping requires alignment between processes and low interference from the mechanisms that transfer the part from one station to the next. Automation efficiently handles these specifications, allowing for mass production.
The same industries that employ progressive die stamping also utilize transfer die stamping; the better option simply depends on the specific part at hand. Transfer die stamping is typically used for large parts like frames, tube applications, shells, and structural components.
Choosing Between Progressive Die Stamping and Transfer Die Stamping
When choosing whether to employ progressive die stamping or transfer die stamping, part intricacy, size, and quantity must all be considered.
To manufacture a high number of small parts in a short amount of time, progressive die stamping is ideal. The process allows for the simultaneous forming and cutting of several parts, saving on both costs and production time. Progressive die stamping requires precise execution and high die durability to ensure successful project completion, so investing in permanent tool steel die sets is often necessary.
More cost-effective than progressive die stamping, transfer die stamping provides more versatility. Should a part need traits such as knurls, ribs, threading, or cutouts, transfer die stamping can incorporate them into the procedure so that additional costs can be kept to a minimum.