Peter Ulintz Peter Ulintz
Technical Director

Technology Advances in Metal Stamping

January 25, 2021

Technologies in metal stamping continue to advance and mature —as they have always done—but today this occurs more rapidly than in the past, and these technologies are profoundly more complex, resulting in an ever-widening knowledge gap. If you plan to attend FABTECH (September 13-16 in Chicago, IL), the technical conferences offer solutions for narrowing the knowledge gap. Readers of this column should find the following Stamping Track topics particularly helpful. For more details on the stamping tracks slated for the FABTECH technical conference, read the article in this issue

Press Technology

Recent advancements in steel technology have led to a new class of high-tensile-strength materials called advanced high-strength steels (AHSS). Except for the boron-based hot-forming grades, these materials are designed to be cold formed in traditional stamping dies and press lines at room temperature. Today’s third-generation AHSS materials—with tensile strengths equivalent to some hot-formed stampings but still possessing enough ductility to be cold formed—surely will push existing press lines beyond their deigned-for capacity limits.

Characteristics of servo-driven presses, such as high torque availability at low speeds and programmable stroke and speeds, help stampers form difficult materials. In his presentation, Understanding Servo Metal Stamping Presses, Jeff Fredline from Meco helps attendees understand the proper use of servo-driven presses and how troubleshooting and maintenance procedures differ from those of flywheel-drive presses.

Now, consider this: What if you could get one more stroke/min. from your press line…would you do it? The result: 60 additional parts/hr. or nearly a quarter-million more parts/yr. (based on two 8-hr. shifts). In most slow- to medium-speed operations, press speed can be increased and the feedline slowed for better efficiencies. Rob Meyer from Nidec will discuss feedline optimization, die protection and setup procedures—especially helpful in servo press applications—to get the most out of your press line during his presentation, What’s Holding You Back?  

Part Quality

Part-quality issues and missed production quotas can sink profitability in a competitive marketplace. These problems tend to reappear—due to stress, lack of training or hard delivery deadlines, companies struggle to find the time to solve the root cause of these problems. The challenge of workforce retirement drives companies to understand how to integrate new generations into the press shop and successfully drive culture change throughout the organization. Will Healy from Balluff Worldwide offers methods to systematically achieve operational excellence using best practices and technology to improve uptime and eliminate nuisance stops. Drawing on more than a decade of personal experiences, Healy presents successful philosophies to overcome challenges in metal stamping production during his presentation, Steps to Creating Operational Excellence in the Press Shop. When operational excellence is achieved, manufacturers find that they have improved their competitive position, reduced waste, eliminated die crashes and boosted productivity.

Implementation of an in-die part-measurement, die-adjustment and part-tracking system can result not only in 100-percent verification of critical part features, but also in significantly increased machine utilization, more-reliable die protection and reduced scrap rates. James Barrett from Link Systems presents In-Die Part Quality Monitoring and Automatic Tool Adjustments to help stampers learn practical methods to select, apply and integrate sensors and control systems in order to fulfill the accuracy and quality demands of today’s metal stampings.

Digital Solutions

The digital world is working hard to keep pace with advancing stamping technology. Examples include optical scanning technologies that capture and digitize dies and stampings in order to assess and properly modify the tooling; morphing solutions that enable rapid and repeatable development of compensated die surfaces; and software for sheet metal-formability, springback and die-kinematics analysis.

Digital solutions also provide benefits for reducing risk associated with tool buyoff—the culmination of a complicated process of engineering and building stamping dies. Product design, sheet metal type, die process, press line and other variables influence the outcome of all stamping processes. Kidambi Kannan from AutoForm discusses how software can be leveraged early in the design phase to estimate capability of the die and stamping process to identify early opportunities for corrective actions that manage cost and result in timely buyoff.

Die Estimating and Stamping

Procedures and technologies required to successfully price metal stamping dies are crucial to the success of any metal stamping company. Emphasis must be placed on improving accuracy, saving time and lowering costs related to die quoting. Jeff Bennett from Tool Planners walks attendees through a sample estimate, including quote request, production-part design, process feasibility, die-construction specifications and standard die-cost-estimating methods. 

Also offered at FABTECH are several presentations on die design, including Engineering Principles for Progressive Dies, Evaluation of Progressive Die Strips, Deep Drawing Cylindrical Shells and Deep Drawing Box Shells.

Finally, no matter the accuracy of the die quote or the precision of the die design and build, the process will not live up to expectations without the proper lubricant. Bob Anderson from Tower Metalworking Fluids will present Evaluating Your Lubricants for Performance and Safety, where attendees will learn what to look for when evaluating process lubrication, why evaluation is required and when it should be performed. Anderson also provides an overview of new lubrication technologies, corrosion-protection advancements, considerations for environmental health and safety, and methods of capturing trial data to evaluate the financial impact of a lubricant or process change.

The time has come to narrow the knowledge gap. See you at FABTECH! MF

Industry-Related Terms: Die, Drawing, Ductility, Form, Lines, Scrap, Strips, Stroke, Torque
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms

Technologies: Management, Materials, Quality Control


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