Compound die, progressive die, and transfer die stamping are all processes used to stamp metal parts for applications across various markets. Because each market has different end uses that require different tolerances, designs and production sizes, manufacturers who understand each stamping method can quickly select the right partner to carry out the work for their project.

Let’s take a look at these commonly used metal stamping processes and note the differences of each. 

Progressive Die Stamping

progressive-die-stampingProgressive die stamping is suitable for producing large volumes of parts with strict tolerance specifications. This stamping method involves feeding a coil of metal through the stamping press that simultaneously punches, bends, and shapes the parts.

The workpiece remains attached to the base strip from beginning to end—separating the individual finished parts from the base metal strip is the final step in the operation.

The main advantages of progressive die stamping include:

  • — Quick production of many small parts with tight tolerances
  • — Low setup time
  • — Reduced labor costs
  • — Long run lengths
  • — Minimal scrap
  • — Combining multiple operations saves time/money

In short, progressive die stamping can make parts with complex geometries quickly, economically, and with high rates of repeatability. However, progressive die stamping does require investing in permanent steel tooling. It is also not suitable for parts requiring deep drawing.

Progressive die stamping may use a variety of metals as the base material. Steel, aluminum, copper, stainless steel, and brass are all commonly used. A range of noble metals, titanium, and the superalloy Inconel are also used. Even non-metallic components can be fabricated with progressive die stamping in some instances.

Compound Die Stamping

Compound die stamping is used for making simple flat parts such as washers. A strip of metal is fed through the compound die, but unlike progressive or transfer die stamping, compound stamping tooling performs multiple cuts, punches, and bends in one stroke rather than multiple strokes. This can be cost effective for medium- to high-volume production runs.

Speed is a key component to compound die stamping; however, the speed also depends on the size of the part. Large components require more time to exit the die, whereas small components can exit more quickly. Compound stamping is:

  • — Suitable for fast and efficient production of simple parts
  • — Helpful for single-die cases to ensure high repeatability
  • — Cost effective

However, where speed offers a major benefit for both compound stamping and progressive stamping, parts with complex designs are best delivered via progressive because of its multi-stroke system.

The primary advantages of compound die stamping over progressive die stamping are:

  • — Compound tooling is less costly and faster to build than progressive tooling
  • — Compound stamping will result in flatter parts because the part is made in one stroke

Transfer Die Stamping

Transfer die stamping works on each part as an individual unit, so the first operation in the stamping sequence is the separation of the part from the metal strip. The part is then transported through the tooling with ”fingers” to multiple stations that perform separate operations on it. Transfer die stamping is suitable for making parts with intricate design elements like knurls, ribs, and threading.

It is the ideal operation for manufacturing tube applications. Transfer stamping is also used to manufacture deep-draw components — because there is no metal strip attached to the part, the stamping press can punch as deep as the raw material will allow. Transfer die stamping is the appropriate technique whenever an operation requires that the part be not connected to the base metal strip.

Aluminum, brass, copper, Inconel, stainless steel, and noble metals are all common base materials for transfer die stamping. It can also fabricate parts with many non-ferrous and ferrous materials.

Looking for differences between Progressive and Fourslide Stamping? Check out our article here.

Metal Stamping from ESI

Need further direction for your metal stamping project? Engineering Specialties Inc. (ESI) has been a specialist in the industry for nearly 30 years. Please contact us for all your metal stamping needs.

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