Stamping presses and stamping dies are tools used to produce high volume sheet metal parts. A press provides the force to close the stamping dies where they shape and cut the sheet metal into finished products. There are four main reasons why stainless steel is a good choice for a metal stamping project. Stainless steel is corrosion resistant, strong, low-cost and has a long-life span. The metal lasts and almost never needs a refurbishing type of maintenance. With an impressive life cycle and decent upfront cost, stainless steel is a cost-effective choice for almost any application.
Stainless steel is a ferrous alloy with no less than 10% chromium content, which serves to prevent oxidation in stainless steel stampings. There are five types of stainless steel, ferritic, austenitic, martensitic, duplex and precipitation hardening. Stainless steel alloys are ideal for uses requiring rust and corrosion resistance, durability, high impact strength, and excellent weldability. Two of the most popular stainless steel alloys are grade 301 SS and grade 304 SS. While both 301 and 304 use iron for their main ingredient, the two alloys have a couple of key differences in their chemical composition. Grade 304 gets more chromium and nickel than grade 301 does, this tends to make grade 304 more expensive than grade 301.
Different variables will affect which stainless steel should be used, what is the corrosive environment, temperature operation needed, strength needed, degree of forming required and cost preferred. Corrosion can be disappointing for someone, often the end-user. Causes of disappointments can fall into only a few basic categories, but in nearly all cases, a little basic knowledge can prevent or significantly improve the situation. Customers must understand the importance of surface finish in determining corrosion resistance, they must also understand the importance of post-fabrication treatments.
There are almost countless industries that use stainless steel stamping products, but some of the main ones are automotive, marine, hardware, HVAC, appliance, electrical, food service, medical, construction and lawn and garden. Stainless steel stamping is substantially different than other metal stamping processes, making it vitally important to find a stamping provider with the right experience and expertise. Stainless steel is generally chosen for deep drawn stampings when parts need high wear resistance and exposure to elements, heat and certain corrosive agents.
Custom stainless steel stamping can be necessary, depending on what the stainless steel stamped product is needed for. Most stamping shops offer custom design and fabrication of stainless steel stamped products from start to finish. Design engineers can help choose the appropriate methods for manufacturing the stamping. When an appropriate routing sequence is determined, the dies are designed for accuracy, repeatability and ease of maintenance. The tool makers build the dies and after testing, the dies are released to production and the product can begin production.