Suitable Strength, Chemical, and Physical Properties
The materials that make up a metal stamped part are as diverse as the stampings themselves. From hot-rolled, low-carbon steel to advanced, high-strength alloys, there are many sheet and strip materials to choose from that respond well to metal stamping and forming. However, price and availability can vary greatly and affect the cost and delivery of production metal stampings. There are factors beyond the pure engineering requirements that should be considered when selecting an alloy and specifying physical characteristics of materials.
Most common steel grades are offered in standard gage thicknesses and tolerances. These sizes are usually readily available as stock items and are generally the best choice when cost and delivery are a major factor.
Specifying a thickness or grade that is more custom presents some limiting factors. Rolling mills work from master coils, and so usually have minimum order quantities, somewhere in the 40,000 pound range. If the material required to produce a metal stamping order is much less than this quantity, a steel warehouse can search its inventory to find material that might happen to fall within the specified tolerance, but this makes availability a variable from order to order. Custom material can be purchased from companies that specialize in re-rolling smaller quantities, but the cost can increase exponentially.
Chemical and Physical Properties
Over-specifying an alloy is one of the biggest factors in driving up the cost of a metal stamping. There are many different alloys produced, in ferrous and non-ferrous materials alike, but even more so than thickness tolerances, the less common alloys will be custom-produced by the mill and will be available in large quantities only. It is possible to find someone who is supplying the same product for another customer. Like with non-standard thicknesses, this would be hit or miss, and dependent on the larger customers’ requirements and delivery schedules.
The good news is, modern steel-making processes have greatly improved the quality and consistency of materials. Strength, chemical, and physical properties suitable for today’s demanding metal stampings are inherent in commonly available alloys without having to resort to custom specifications. Larson Tool works with our customers from the earliest stages of design to find the best, most cost-effective specification for their application.
We’ll help you optimize your part design for the metal stamping process and provide you with high-quality and cost-effective solutions. We’ll leverage our 90-plus years of experience as a valued supplier of metal stampings and assemblies to help you with your metal stamping needs. Download our Stamping Design Guide to get started with your next successful part production.