A new sheet metal part drawing comes across your desk. Which do you choose- metal stamping in a punch press or fabricating by starting in a laser or turret and finishing the forming in a brake press? Often the sales staff of a contract manufacturer is asked to guide the customer. Customers are looking for the best value for metal parts and there are a few factors that go into making that decision.


Speed: Clearly the speed and timing though production in a progressive die is faster than cutting and forming the material. Advantage-stamping. However, the speed to market from new concept to production for fabricating is faster. Any tooling for a press brake generally can be produced in under four weeks while progressive tooling timing can start at eight weeks. Advantage-fabricate.


Cost: The short-term cost for tooling in fabricating is much less expensive. The engineering time for design and development in progressive tooling can take weeks and the materials for the tools are considerably more robust and costly. Advantage-fabricate. However the long-term costs are to be evaluated in the impact of the efficiency of the machinery and process. There is a tipping point where the stamping tooling is an investment that over the number of pieces being produced benefits the long-term overall cost of the program. Advantage-stamping Limitations: It is possible that the part configuration due to tolerances is more appropriate for a progressive tool. Conversely, the size of the part may exceed the press size in relation to the types of tooling design which may prohibit a supplier from building stamping tooling. Certainly, material availability must be considered for either process.


We find there is a value in the marketplace for contract manufacturers that offer both processes. It allows the seller to offer both options and also offers the option to start in fabricating with lower upfront costs. This will result in getting to market faster while still investigating or investing in tooling to be built. Most importantly, the consultative sales approach benefits both parties. Asking questions on volume, not just through peak years but life of the part including service, will shed light on the best options.
At R&M Manufacturing, we have lasers and turrets for fab and presses up to 300T for stamping. We offer a lot of value add. Our customers partner with us for many reasons including delivery and quality but also for the ability to make a large range of parts both in size and quantity. We will contract 100-1,000,000 pieces. Most importantly, we have a team of experiences metal formers to guide you to the overall best value in your metal fab needs.