Progressive stamping is the ideal method for optimum efficiency. The process has grown to become leaner, faster, and more productive than ever before, offering excellent value for money with lower costs through higher outputs.
The equipment used in progressive stamping ranges from bare tooling (dies), adapted to specific parts straight through to complex multi-station presses (multi-tool) that can produce multiple parts with no tool changes or set up. Once installed, it will be one of the most flexible sub-assemblies within the assembly line, producing finished components fast while maintaining accuracy, and offering an excellent return on investment. Using progressive technology in the manufacturing process provides a low-stress method for meeting delivery deadlines and reducing operator fatigue.
Progressive technology is particularly successful in high-volume work where costs are driven by setup times, tooling reworks, and scrap. The ability to change dies quickly without set up or tooling changes saves time across the entire operation, which then helps increase output rates.
The Benefits of Progressive Stamping
High-volume stamping without increasing tooling costs
Progressive stamping enables high production volumes and therefore offers many opportunities to control the cost of part production.
The progressive process starts with a die that performs several forming operations during one stroke. The result is a combined shearing, drawing, closing, and ejection phase. Multiple metal deformation processes occur as the workpiece profile changes from its initial flat state into the final part geometry. This results in reduced or eliminated secondary machining costs.
The progressive process is suited for high volume work where die wear and replacement costs can quickly become very expensive.
Low scrap rates
In the past, progressive stamping has been considered cost-effective in eliminating much waste by increasing production speeds without increasing tooling expenditures.
Intelligence in press controls allows optimization of part flow through the section, substantially reducing secondary processing steps, particularly when combined with good layout practices that take full advantage of the machine’s ability to run multiple parts simultaneously.
Avoidance of costly secondary operations
Production methods have advanced significantly over recent years to the extent that secondary operations have become a thing of the past. Secondary operations can cost 75% or more than the first operation, so it is in the best interests of parts manufacturers to ensure that their stamping production techniques take full advantage by moving towards high productivity equipment and processes.
Reduction in part dimensions
The progressive process does not involve sliding between tooling stations as conventional transfer lines or turret presses. Each stroke produces its parting line for part ejection, regardless of stroke number. This results in much higher efficiency than other processes through avoiding slide or transfer time penalty concerns when combined with multi-tool technology.
An added benefit is reduced variation from specification requirements due to complete control over secondary machining.
Fast setup times
The progressive process from start to finish is highly flexible and can be set up quickly, taking one operator less than three hours.
The entire machine operates as a unit, and tool changes are significantly reduced or eliminated. By eliminating dies, slides, and other components that experience wear during their use within an assembly line, not only is initial capital expenditure significantly lower, but the running costs are much lower too. There is no need for experienced operators at each station, as all press controls are at a central control panel or PLC interface.
In addition, tools such as touch probes enable accurate die positioning to take place automatically with ease of use from a PC screen, eliminating costly mistakes. This ensures that the operator never misses a beat, as the entire system is fully automated, creating a lean and mean production line ideal for high volume stamping.
Intelligence in press controls allows optimization of part flow through the cell
Using multi-tool presses with multiple dies, the scrap material percentage may be reduced. For added value, if a combined shear and form die can be used, there is a potential reduction in first operations costs because it eliminates secondary machining.
Allows use of lower-cost materials
As well as promoting faster throughput rates than conventional metal forming techniques such as deep drawing, progressive technology also enables you to produce parts with a lower material thickness and cost. It allows for thinner-walled elements to be created, both stronger and lighter than their conventionally grown counterparts.
Higher quality components
The consistency, accuracy, and surface finish that can be achieved are significantly more advanced than turret or transfer line systems. There are multiple slide movements because of the enclosed cell of each stroke being created within an individual die. This enables 3-5 times better dimensional control than turret presses, while stamping speeds are greater. You can look forward to having more freedom in choosing less expensive materials of construction too.
Ability of progressive technology to create complex geometries
While some advanced stamping machines are designed to make simple shapes, others can make complex geometries. Although each progressive press has its limitations, many companies specialize in custom tool design for specific jobs. For example, engraving tools can produce some awe-inspiring results for small-batch production runs.
Supports high volume capacities
Each progressive cell has a maximum capacity determined by stroke length and number of tool stations, allowing thousands or tens of thousands of pounds per hour ability on some presses if necessary. This is achieved by being able to run for hours at a time without operator attention.
It is possible to use multiple progressive tools to produce parts in internal and external configurations simultaneously, increasing efficiency further.
Most metal stamping processes have drawbacks, such as size limitations imposed by tool length. However, for short runs or large sheet stock, a progressive press system is a viable option that may save you money while improving speed and quality.
Supports large parts with thick walls where appropriate
Depending on the specific system, the tools can accommodate part thicknesses up to 10 mm, with a stroke length of between 8 and 40 mm. Parts can have complex shapes or different geometries on either side, if required.
Some companies offer “true two-sided” presses which allow full opening or closing motions during strokes, incorporating indexing movements so that both sides of a part are stamped simultaneously.
Higher quality for increased life cycle costs
Improved tolerances, dimensional accuracy, and surface finish translate into better part performance in service over the product’s life cycle, resulting in higher quality and lower-cost products overall.
Progressive stamping can also reduce the number of secondary finishing operations and their costs and streamline assembly processes. By combining stamping and forming functions, secondary machining is cut out entirely, resulting in another cost savings for you.
Supports a variety of materials
In terms of material selection, progressive technology can be used with aluminum alloys, non-ferrous alloys such as copper and brass, carbon fibre composites, and sheet steel. All require a significant amount of force to accomplish the stamping process, so lightweight components may prove difficult, e.g., delicate, flimsy sheet metal. However, the greater the number of stations that a die can have, the more flexible it is in material type.
Allows for faster changeovers
All presses are driven by electro- pneumatics and hydraulics. They can be connected to motorized via plug and play wiring through simple electronic interfaces. Suppose you need to switch between different tool types or materials, which should not take long because of the low maintenance requirements. In that case, it is possible without needing to rework anything other than swapping out your tooling. The same applies should you wish to swap press lines, e.g., move from one work station to another along the production line’s direction within minimum downtime.
Background information on progressive metal stamping technology, Progressive metal stamping, or progressive die stamping, is a process in which the part geometry is progressively built up by adding another layer of material after each previous operation. This approach allows much more complex parts to be made from sheet metal than a conventional tool and die technologies.
Simplified operations using one machine
As you progress down the production line, each progressive press station shares the same common control unit. This means companies can rely on one machine to drive their operations, reducing both capital expenditure and maintenance costs. Standardization also helps cut tooling costs compared with conventional presses, since each station needs only a single set of tooling to perform all stamping operations in which it may be involved.
Stamping using progressive technology is ideal for low to medium-volume production runs when your order sizes are too big for more traditional methods but too small for economies of scale that would make automated assembly worthwhile. It is also well suited to short production runs because it reduces the need to store large amounts of finished parts. Progressive metal stamping technology offers a range of benefits to manufacturers, including lower costs and more flexibility.
Progressive stamping is a cost-effective manufacturing technology that can create high-volume quantities of parts in various materials, making it ideal for complex, multi-component assemblies. It has significant advantages over conventional metal forming methods, such as deep drawing, and can produce the same or better functional results with significantly fewer operations and less expensive tooling.