Many traditional power press metal stamping companies can perform one only one action: single stroke, short-run stamping.

progressive-stamped-partsThis process requires one tool for each operation needed to make a finished part — meaning long lead times, high labor costs, and an inability to create intricate or tight-tolerance parts.

Luckily there is a stamping process called progressive stamping, which ESI has been using to perfection for more than two decades.

Traditionally, fabricating parts that required more than a bend or two was costly and inefficient.

A manufacturer could either repeatedly change the tool on a single press or occupy a number of presses, each performing one action required for a completed part. Even using multiple presses, secondary machining services were often required to truly complete a part.

With progressive stamping, machine shops gain increased capabilities such as:

  • Faster production speeds
  • Process efficiency
  • Cost-effective manufacturing
  • A wide range of simultaneous stamping shapes/impressions

The Benefits of High Volume Progressive Stamping

With progressive metal stamping, ESI eliminates those hassles and inefficiencies. A progressive stamping tool features a number of stations, each with a unique function. This method is ideal for producing small parts at high speeds.


As strip metal feeds through a progressive stamping press, unrolling steadily from a coil, each station in the tool performs a different cut, punch, or bend.
The actions of each successive station add onto the work of the previous stations, resulting in a completed part.

While there is some upfront cost involved with investing in permanent steel dies, significant money can be saved through increased efficiency and production speeds, as well as by combining multiple forming operations into one machine. These steel dies maintain their sharp cutting edges and are highly resistant to high shocks and abrasive forces.

Progressive die stamping also facilitates more complex designs and enables much tighter tolerances. This makes the process well suited to high-volume production runs of smaller parts, but not necessarily for products that require deep drawing.

For very simple parts, progressive die metal stamping may not be the best option (see blog: The Advantages of Fourslide Metal Stamping over Traditional Power Press Stamping). But there are many scenarios in which progressive stamping is ideal. Advantages of progressive stamping include:

  • progressive die stampingSpeed: With a continual feed of material, progressive stamping machines operate at extremely high speeds of hundreds of parts per minute and with minimal downtime. This facilitates most efficient cycle times, shorter lead times, and increased production capacity.
  • Low Labor Cost: One operator can oversee many machines that run unattended due to electronic monitoring embedded in our custom tooling.
  • Run Length: The same continual feed of material that provides progressive stamping it’s speed also allows for long production runs. More production time between material changes means more completed parts in shorter amounts of time.
  • Minimal Scrap: Scrap metal is inevitable in any manufacturing process, but it is minimized by optimized tool design of progressive stamping.
  • Quick Setup: Multiple setups, tool changes, and die changes are required to produce complex parts with conventional short-run stamping methods; only one setup is required to produce completed parts using progressive stamping.
  • Complex Geometry: Creation of parts with complex geometries is possible by the building nature of the die stations in a progressive tool. This process offers increased precision when compared to many other in-press operations.
  • High Repeatability: The dies of a progressive stamper are hard tooled. They can withstand the high volume runs of progressive stamping without degrading, maintaining the high quality of the parts produced. The high part-to-part repeatability provided by this process ensures a uniform quality across the entire production run.
  • Quality Assurance. We use a stringent Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) for all operations, including Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA), material requirements planning, Advanced Production Quality Planning (APQP), Six Sigma, video inspection, bar coding, and in-die protection to maintain the lowest possible defect rates on every production run.
  • Low Part Cost: These factors combine to reduce the per part cost of parts manufactured by progressive stamping.

Progressive Stamping Materials & Applications

The progressive die stamping process is suitable for use with a wide range of materials, such as:

  • Aluminum
  • Steel
  • Brass
  • Copper
  • Inconel
  • Noble Metals
  • Coated Metals
  • Stainless Steel
  • Titanium

Due to the complex capabilities and material range provided by progressive die stamping, many industries have found the process ideal for facilitating large production runs of small parts with demanding tolerances. Some of these industries include:

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Medical
  • Military
  • Lighting
  • MEP Applications

Progressive Die Stamping From ESI

At ESI, we believe in a spirit of continuous improvement. To this aim, we constantly invest in the best new technologies to offer the highest quality engineering solutions and manufacturing services to our customers. Whether you need thousands of parts or millions of parts, our high-volume progressive die stamping capabilities can handle the project.

Download Metal Stamping Design Guide