Contrary to popular belief, not everything is turning to plastic. Many products, even smaller items continue to contain one or more metal components. These parts may be made out of thin metal with various holes, angles, embossments and other fabrications. Brackets, specialized grommets and electronic contact parts are examples of stamped metal components. Often a manufacturer will produce these metal components in house, through a variety of fabrication techniques.
The process known as stamping may make better sense because it can combine several steps in the fabrication process. With dynamic stampings, a die maker will design numerous copies on the component on a single die. Depending on the size of the part, the die may contain several dozen copies. The die is installed on a large hydraulic press and thin sheet metal is fed into the machine. With each stroke of the press, the die can stamp dozens of parts at once. A smaller machine may take several steps for the same task. Holes may be drilled on one machine; an embossment is made on another, etc. A quality die will also cut the parts to size. A servo and computerized programs are used to ensure the metal is fed in synchronization with the stroke of the press. A dynamic stampings press may be capable of applying up to 300 tons of pressure per stroke. A press of this size is used for thicker metals or more intricate parts.
Heavy duty presses may not be in the budget of a small manufacturer. In other cases, the number of parts produced through dynamic stampings may not justify the investment in the heavy machinery. On the other hand, there are companies that will handle component manufacturing on a per job basis. The company needing the part may supply the die to be used. In other cases, the company may hire the tool and die maker of the stamping company to design a die consistent with the part specifications. In the US, domestic stamping companies can be in great demand because of shorter turnaround times between order and delivery and greater ease of communication than an overseas operation.