All you need to know about metal stamping in China.
Looking to source metal stamping products from a China manufacturer? Whether you are new to China sourcing or Amazon selling business, it is important to know the multiple facets involved in sourcing stamped metal products from China. This includes knowing the basics of the process, tools and technology used in design and manufacturing as well as finding the right manufacturer in China which is possible after negotiating a good price and ensuring the supplier understands your technical specifications.
Although this sounds complex, sourcing metal stamped products from China can be seamless and easy with the support from a China sourcing agent who specializes in custom metal stamping manufacturing.
Metal stamping is a process of manufacturing where flat metal sheets are converted into specific shapes with the application of high amounts of pressure. As a complex process, metal stamping involves a number of techniques and steps such as punching, blanking, embossing, coining, flanging, piercing and bending. The high-speed and low-cost manufacturing process is used to make a large number of identical metal components.
The process of creating stamped metal parts can involve a single stage where the desired shape of the part is produced with each stroke of the stamping press. It can also involve a series of stages where progressive dies are used to progressively shape the component. While the stamping process is typically performed using sheet metal, other flat materials can also be shaped using this technique.
Known also as ‘pressing’ or a cold-forming process, flat sheet metal is transformed into the desired part or component with the help of dies and stamping presses. The sheet metal pieces, known as blanks, are fed to the stamping press that has a tool and die surface which creates the required shape from the blanks.
Custom metal stamping refers to the metal forming process in which the manufacturer uses custom tooling and stamping techniques to make parts according to the customer’s specifications.
Custom metal stamping is utilized by multiple industries for meeting the demand for high volume production and to make identical precision parts.
Metal stamping, known also as pressing, is a process where flat sheet metal in the form of blanks or coils are placed in the stamping press. In the press, a tool and die surface the tool and die on the press give the desired shape to the metal.
Before shaping the metal in the press, the tooling has to be custom designed as per the product specifications using computer aided design and manufacturing or CAD/CAM technology. These designs need to be precise to make sure that the punch and bend retain proper clearance as well as optimal part quality. A 3D model of a tool can have hundreds of parts, making the design process complex and intricate.
After the custom tool is designed through CAD/CAM, the metal stamping manufacturer uses various manufacturing methods including machining, wire EDM and grinding to complete the stamped metal parts production.
The various processes used in metal stamping include:
Metal stamping machines can go above just stamping and can punch, cut, cast, as well as shape metal sheets. Machines can be numerically controlled by computer or programmed to offer repeatability and high precision of each stamped piece.
The metals used in custom metal stamping depend on the application of the finished product. Different metals have their own unique qualities that makes each metal the perfect choice for the specific product. In some cases, for certain products, base common metals may be processed into alloys to achieve an optimum strength or other properties of the end product.
Many metal stamping manufacturers in China have expertise in stamping various metals and materials including:
Some of the metals used in different applications and industries include:
Some manufacturers may also provide plating of the above metals with gold, silver, nickel, bright zinc and tin.
Metal stamping is widely used across industries to make many components such as hinges, frames, pins, springs, lead frames, contacts and terminals. These products are used for multiple applications in home electronics, appliances, utensils, telecommunications, construction, automotives and agriculture equipment.
Metal stamping applications extend to 3D designs/letterings, surface engraving and other decorative finishes.
Stamped metal parts are also used in the computers found in medical devices. Custom metal stamping manufacturing finds various applications in different industries such as:
The main techniques used in metal stamping include
Deep draw stamping: Deep draw stamping is one of the metal stamping techniques where the machine pulls the sheet metal blank into the die through the punch to create the desired shape. This technique is called ‘deep drawing’ as the drawn part’s depth exceeds its diameter. This technique of metal stamping is suitable for making components which require a range of diameters. As a cost effective technique compared to turning processes where more of raw materials are consumed, deep drawing finds wide applications including
Progressive die stamping- This is one of the most widely used processes of metal stamping. Many traditional metal stamping techniques could only perform a single action at a time which would mean a different tool is required for each operation to produce the finished product. This leads to long turnaround times as well as high labor costs. The process was also not suitable for creating tight tolerance or intricate parts.
Progressive die stamping involves passing the sheet metal into a series of workstations. Each die in the series can bend, cut, punch, emboss, coin, draw or shave the metal depending on the specifications. Based on the complexity of components, the sheet metal may require one step or may go through forty steps.
Progressive stamping yields many benefits including:
Progressive die stamping is suitable for a wide range of metals including
Four-Slide stamping- Fourslide stamping or multi-slide stamping is commonly used to make complex parts that have multiple twists or bends. The die features horizontal alignment as well as four different slides. This means that four tools are simultaneously used to shape the part.
Fourslide metal stamping confers several advantages as compared to traditional press stamping, making this technique an ideal choice for various applications. The main advantages of four slide stamping include more flexibility in design changes as well as versatility to create complex parts.
Four different tools can be attached to the four slides to simultaneously achieve multiple bends. The shaft in each tool bends the part quickly as the material is fed into the tool.
Transfer die stamping- This is similar to progressive die stamping except that the material to be shaped is transferred to stamping stations with conveyor belts or other mechanical transport systems.
Many Amazon sellers start their search for metal stamping manufacturers on Alibaba.com, which is the biggest marketplace in China. According to the search results displayed on Alibaba.com for metal stamping manufacturers, there are about 33,580 metal stamping products while the top region or country for stamped metal parts suppliers is China.
Made in China and Global Sources are other marketplaces to find stamped metal parts suppliers and manufacturers. For bulk sourcing, DHGate can be useful where two million sellers are listed apart from guaranteed refunds and escrow protection. You can also visit the trade fairs and conventions such as the one organized by Hong Kong Trade Development Council as well as the Canton Fair.
The Canton Fair is the biggest trade fair in China where virtually all types of industrial products ranging from automotive to consumer goods, electronics and sports goods are featured. The Yiwu commodities fair and ECF (East China Import and Export Commodity Fair) are the other trade fairs that you can attend.
Although there are many trade fairs and marketplaces, there is also the chance of you getting deceived by scammers on these sites and fairs. Looking for a genuine, reputable and reliable metal stamping manufacturer in China can be tricky and involves time, effort and patience- particularly when you are a business that is new to the Amazon selling platform.
When you want to source stamped metal parts from China, there are many factors that you need to be aware of. One of the most crucial aspects you need to be well versed with relates to the basics of metal stamping and involves the techniques, steps and technology used. Many metal stamping manufacturers in China use the latest CAD/CAM engineering technology to make stamped metal products while many are also ISO certified.
While you can check the website of each manufacturer and ask for documents, licenses and ISO certification, actual proof from the supplier acquired by inspecting the factory on ground is the only way to know if the supplier is genuine and if they have the technical capabilities to make custom metal stamping.
Working with a China sourcing agent who specializes in custom metal stamping manufacturing gives you multiple advantages. While the agent can communicate well with suppliers in the local language, they are typically well versed with metal stamping techniques, tools used and the processes involved. They can visit the factory in person, do an audit while vetting the supplier before they recommend a manufacturer to you. They will also act as a go-between in case of a dispute or an unreasonable delay in delivery and can quickly work out alternate arrangements.
A specialist China sourcing agent who knows metal stamping processes and techniques helps ensure that the stamped metal products are manufactured to the desired, precise technical specifications. They will also inspect any raw materials - in this case, the quality of metals - used in stamped metal manufacturing.
Consulting a China sourcing agent can also help you build a strong, long term relationship with the right Chinese suppliers which ensures your business continues to prosper as an Amazon seller. They can also negotiate the best deals for you keeping in mind the order size, technical details and the intended use of the product.
Sourcing Allies is a team of expert China sourcing agents that has helped western customers manufacture and source products from low-cost regions since 2006.
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