It isn’t uncommon for people to feel confused about the differences between metal stamping, and metal fabrication as production processes. Both of these are used for manufacturing metal parts in a variety of industries after all. Understanding the differences between these two processes is important though because it can have a direct impact on the quality, costs, and other factors related to the creation of a project.
For anyone not involved in our industry, it can be easy to get mixed up when talking about metal stamping and metal fabrication, but at the same time, any sensible business venture starts with solid research and information gathering. Having a clear idea of the advantages, disadvantages, and costs related to these different processes can have a big impact on the ultimate course of a project and the expected results.
THE BASICS OF METAL STAMPING
Metal stamping—also called pressing—is a fairly straightforward process. We place a flat sheet of metal on a stamping press and we can then bend, press, fold, or stretch the metal. This operation can be a single or multiple-stage process.
Metal stamping can refer to any of a number of metal forming operations—in addition to stamping, bending, pressing, folding, and stretching actions may be used to produce the final part. All metal stamping processes utilize punch presses with custom-made tooling and dies to produce a shape, pattern, or other characteristic a part requires. In general, the stamping process can provide tighter tolerances than metal fabrication. It is a fast and cost-effective way to produce metal parts in large quantities.
Metal stamping is a quick and economical method of producing large quantities. The cost per piece decreases as the production order rises. So if you have a large production run, metal stamping may be the best option.
THE BASICS OF METAL FABRICATION
Metal fabrication entails the manufacturing of three-dimensional metal parts via cutting, bending, and/or other assembly processes. Fabrication generally requires more specialized equipment, such as CNC laser cutters, CNC press brakes, CNC turret presses, and welding. Metal fabrication is often the more economical way to produce parts in lower quantities, as the tooling associated with stamping can be costly. Fabrication also provides greater design flexibility than stamping, as there is no tooling to change should your part design require alteration.
Metal fabrication, while versatile, is more labor-intensive and requires a longer production period than metal stamping. The material costs for metal fabrication tend to be higher and the complex parts and components used for stamping may not be possible with fabrication. Finally, the ability to repeat a process is more challenging than when stamping metal.
SO WHICH PROCESS WORKS BEST FOR ME?
Choosing between metal fabrication and metal stamping can be a very complicated decision because both methods have advantages and disadvantages. Various aspects such as cost, time, quality and design must be taken into account. It is advisable to consult with an experienced team of professionals so that you can get good advice and make the entire process easier.