Mastering Progressive Die Stamping: Key Process & Terminology

Progressive die stamping is a multi-die metal stamping process. It is popular for producing small to medium-sized metal parts with tight tolerances. It is widely used in different industries, but the leading users are automotive, electronics, appliances, and medical devices.

This article goes deep into the progressive die stamping process and explains the popular terminologies that you must know if you are considering progressive die stamping for your next project.

What is Progressive Die Stamping? 

Progressive die stamping uses a series of dies that perform custom metal stamping operations. All these dies are referred to as working stations and are designed to transform a flat sheet of metal into a desired metal-stamped part. These metal parts are assembled into equipment, therefore variations in its designs are unacceptable.

The metal stamping operations at each of its working stations are carried out by a set of dies that are mounted on a press and arranged in a sequence of stations. 

Progressive die stamping companies with highly skilled workforce deliver a highly efficient and cost-effective manufacturing process to produce high-quality parts at a large volume. 

Step-wise break up of the progressive die stamping process

Step 1: Feeding the Material

First, metal stampers feed a flat sheet of metal into the press. The sheet is usually fed into the press using a coil or a strip, which is mounted on a reel and unwound as needed. 

Step 2: Blanking and Piercing

The first station cuts out the flat shape of the part or a “blank”. Here the die and punch are designed to match the shape of the part. The punch pushes down on the sheet while the die holds it in place to create a clean cut-out. 

At the next station, the piercing operation ta pierces the holes or slots in the blank, using a smaller punch and die that are designed to match the location and size of the holes. This operation is called piercing, and it can be used to create various features such as holes, slots, or notches in the part.

Step 3: Forming and Bending Operations

The next set of stations performs forming and bending operations on the blank. These operations use a combination of punches, dies, and strippers to shape the metal into the desired form. The strippers hold the metal in place during the metal stamping operations. 

Commonly used forming operations are drawing, embossing, or extruding. 

Step 4: Drawing Operations

Drawing operations are used to create three-dimensional shapes in the part, such as cups or shells using a die and a punch that is shaped to create the desired shape. The punch pushes the metal into the die, creating a cup-shaped form.

Step 5: Trimming Operations

Finally, the last set of stations performs trimming operations to remove excess metal from the part. Trimming leaves a clean and smooth edge to ensure the metal part meets the required tolerances and specifications.

Common Terminology Used in Progressive Die Stamping

Some of the most common terms used in progressive die stamping are:

  • Die

A die is a tool that shapes the metal into the desired form. It must withstand the high forces and pressures of the stamping process. 

  • Punch

A punch pushes the metal into the die to create the desired shape. 

  • Stripper

A stripper is a tool that holds the metal in place during punching to prevent the metal from sticking to the punch and ensure a clean and accurate stamping operation. 

  • Cam

Cam controls the movement of the press and dies. It can be adjusted to control the timing and sequence of the operations, ensuring that each station performs its task at the right time.

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