Precision stamping products using precision dies and punches that can accurately press and form the sheet material into the desired print specified shapes. Given the accuracy of output tolerance and geometries needed, there is a lot of planning and skill required to accurately produce tooling equipment.
Today’s manufacturing demands getting into production as soon as possible to meet market needs as well as to stay ahead of the competition. In the area of precision metal stamping, suppliers expect products to be produced accurately and shipped quickly. The challenge is to fabricate the die and tool quickly to start production. Standard dies that support general requirements are available when parts become sophisticated then this calls for skilled machining which makes for a time-consuming exercise.
Enter additive manufacturing, a new wave of manufacturing technologies that are able to accurately produce objects. In the general sense, additive manufacturing is a term used to describe technologies that produce 3D objects using layer by layer of a material such as metal, plastic, clay etc. Its main components are a computer, 3D modeling software such as CAD, building equipment and base material. Technologies include 3D Printing, Direct Digital Manufacturing, Rapid Prototyping, layered and additive fabrication.
In a metal forming case study, a press brake tooling was 3D printed using a fiber reinforced polymer. This method showed that using 3D printing can help design and build punches and dies quickly to get into production faster.
Apart from helping to greatly shorten the lead time of precision stamping products tool set up, here are some of the other tangible advantages of adopting additive manufacturing for tool and die production both from a production and financial perspective.
Fabrication can be made in-house without using third-party assistance
Provides added flexibility when set-up is added into their workflow
Ramp up is shortened due to streamlined digital processes
Traditional tool and die manufacturing processes that are used for precision stamping products account for a lot of material wastage in production. Additive manufacturing reduces wastage by precise layering of source material.
There is a lesser tooling investment also more value for money with respect to production yield.
Offers greater quality control which results in lesser error occurrence.
The equipment set up is also easier to accommodate space wise compared to physical tools and jigs.
All of the above advantages prove that additive manufacturing is a worthwhile alternative to produce dies and tools. These can be initially considered for precision stamping products of smaller batch sizes and for faster getting to production scenarios while keeping the robust metal type production machinery for longer and more high-pressure precision metal stamping manufacturing.
Eigen Engineering offers precision tool & die design and manufacturing services to develop custom tooling designed to exactly meet client manufacturing needs. We have garnered a reputation for production speed, accuracy, and competitive costs.