Metal Stamping Cost Guidelines

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Rolls of steel sheet in a metal plant.
Rolls of steel sheet in a metal plant. (Image: mady70/iStock/Getty Images)

Metal stamping is the process of applying pressure to sheet metal in order to impart serial numbers, insignias or designs or to create dense, high-quality metal products. Often, these are industrial means of coding or preparing metal for identification purposes or for construction into items such as car parts, metal cans or household pots and pans. Because there are various types of metal, different sizes of parts and different thicknesses, the cost of this process can vary greatly. However, the process does carry general guidelines by which cost can be anticipated.

Material

One of the most important considerations when estimating stamping costs, the type of material stamped most directly affects overall price. For instance, while some items can use a substitute material for stamping to reduce price, other products, such as car parts, must be made to a certain grade and cannot use a substitution. This drives cost upward, particularly if that item must be made in great quantities -- for example, identical, mass-produced utensils.

Operations

"Operations" is the umbrella term for smaller processes that affect stamping costs such as die cost, die repair, die set and labor and burden costs. While many of these processes are dependent on your particular facility, a good rule of thumb is that the more involved the stamping, the higher the die set and labor/burden costs will be in general. For example, metals that require flowing, or stretching, require a more involved die type called a deep draw die; these specialized dies carry a hefty price tag as compared with the more commonplace form die.

Partial Minor Costs

Labor and burden costs are part of the partial minor costs category, which extends to include shipping, handling and inspection once stamping is complete. The quantity of material stamped and type of metal used will affect weight, which drives up shipping charges as well as handling and inspection time requirements. Also, thicker metals such as steel are costlier because they require stamping machines that can deliver greater pressure, oftentimes in upwards of 100 tons per square inch as opposed to the pressure required to stamp tin.

Stamping Preferences

The stiff, unforgiving nature of metal often causes breakaways or rough cuts on the areas on which a stamp has been applied. While oftentimes this result is small or insignificant enough to be ignored, it's an unattractive feature aesthetically and may be removed for items on which the stamp is highly visible. This can be done via a deburring or sanding process, but it's highly specific to the material and stamp and can be costly, especially if it's performed on a great many stamps.

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