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When you’re working with electronic components, there’s a good chance you’ll use precision metal stamping to form some of them. Here’s a closer look at some of the benefits this metal-forming method offers.
It’s Associated With Healthy Market Growth
One of the advantages of using precision metal stamping for your fabrication needs is that the market is in a growth phase. Moreover, electronics are among the products driving that positive change.
A market analysis from Grandview Research indicated that the global metal stamping market would likely achieve a 4.7% compound annual growth rate from 2022 to 2027. The researchers also clarified that the consumer electronics market was a primary driver of that change.
They noted that parts such as mobile phone antennas are often crafted with metal stamping. Additionally, the analysts mentioned that the Asia-Pacific region would see high growth during the forecast period. That was partially due to Apple shifting a significant percentage of its manufacturing to India a couple of years ago, they explained.
Additionally, the report discussed how electronics manufacturers use metal stamping for some internal parts, including the frames for smartphones and speakers. This market growth should mean that people who need these manufacturing services have plenty of choices as they look for reputable providers. Additionally, some clients may find they can use the same providers for internal and external electronic components.
It is a Reliable Process
Electronics manufacturers need dependable and scalable options for making what are often tiny, delicate parts. Precision metal stamping offers those advantages and others. Many electronic components have very small error tolerances. Stamping can provide the accuracy and repeatability needed for successful production runs of these parts.
Metal stamping is often a part of the creation of printed circuit boards (PCBs), too. The process breaks down into two main stages. Fabrication relates to all aspects of the component’s design. Then, the assembly stage is when all the components get mounted to the board’s surface. There are usually multiple designs considered during the early phases. That’s especially likely with more complex PCBs. At this time, the design team will weigh numerous options, which could include whether to use metal stamping.
Another aspect of metal stamping’s reliability is that it has centuries of history behind it. The first stamping machine for sheet metal received its patent in 1769, although people used it for making things like pans and dishes.
Metal stamping is now a well-established option in the electronics sector, so people can feel confident it will meet or surpass their expectations. That’s crucial when making electronic components that are as intricate as PCBs and many of the other parts in today’s high-tech products.
It Complements Emerging Technologies
3D printing has substantially broadened options for making electronic parts more efficiently. It’s also an economical way to create small batches of components, such as for prototyping. However, manufacturers can also bring 3D printing into the stamping process.
In one example, researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory used 3D printing to make a hot-stamping die. The development team found the die would work for up to 25,000 usage cycles and confirmed that aspect made it suitable for industrial applications. The team mentioned that most dies are currently imported to the United States, but this method would allow more domestic production. Moreover, this method gave them the flexibility to use multiple materials in a single die.
People have also explored how to automate and accelerate precision metal stamping. The ability to increase output is a notable advantage for manufacturers creating things that are in as high demand as electronic components. One option is to use a high-speed stamping press. In the electronics industry, those machines typically achieve 500-1,200 strokes per minute.
However, some stamping facilities also use robots to boost output further. Matt Jurczyszyn, the vice president at KUKA Robotics, discussed some of the things that make his company’s stamping clients pursue robotics. “The biggest challenge for stampers continues to be getting the maximum output of lines,” Jurczyszyn said. “This requires fast, linear, and stable part transfer from press to press – with high availability and low maintenance time.” His company has an automated solution for tool changes.
It Supports the Flexibility Needed for Complex Parts
Metal stamping works with a wide range of materials, including aluminium alloys and stainless steel. That versatility makes it a good choice when people need to make electronic components for advanced products.
Metal Stamping for Electric Vehicle Electronics
In one example, a metal stamper made custom busbars for the transportation sector, including some electric vehicle models. These components transmit energy from battery packs to other parts of a car, ranging from sunroofs to sensors.
Kurt Meissner is the sales manager for key accounts at Kenmode, which handled the contract. As he explained, “Every busbar design is different from one battery to the next because of fit and function. We work with our customers’ engineers to find the most economical way to produce the busbars needed.”
Meissner continued, “One recent project for an electric vehicle required 13 new tool designs for the metal-stamped busbars, which were sourced and built quickly by our in-house tool design team to a very successful and on-time launch.”
Metal Stamping for Medical Device Circuit Board Enclosures
People also use various metal stamping options when creating electronic components for high-tech medical devices. Bob Denholtz is the president of DureX Inc., a registered contract metal manufacturer that specializes in medical equipment and devices. He discussed a client who needed a metal card cage enclosure for a circuit board.
Representatives at DureX Inc. suggested that the client use progressive die stamping once the volume requirements got high enough to justify it. This hard-tooling method gradually adds new features to complete the part. This method is an efficient option for high-volume stamping. Previously, the client paid $125 per card cage.
Denholtz said of the project, “When volume rose to 1,000 parts a week, we reduced the cost to $55 per cage by switching to multiple staged tools. Although the hard tooling cost was substantial – about $350,000 – the OEM achieved [return on investment] in only five to six weeks.”
Can Precision Metal Stamping Meet Your Needs for Electronic Components?
Today’s electronics component manufacturers are under increasing pressure to deliver parts quickly that meet exact specifications. This overview shows why precision metal stamping can work well for those requirements and others. Even so, people should carefully examine the parameters of their individual projects that require metal forming and evaluate whether metal stamping is the most appropriate option.