Metal Stamping vs. Metal Fabrication

Manufacturing metal parts can involve one of two processes — metal stamping or metal fabrication. Some facilities specialize in one or the other, while others implement both approaches. At APX York Sheet Metal, we use metal fabrication techniques that let us scale our services to your project. Learn more about the difference between metal stamping and fabrication in this blog post.

About Metal Stamping and Metal Fabrication

Metal stamping and metal fabrication involve different manufacturing techniques and machinery. These definitions can clarify the purpose of each approach:

  • Metal fabrication: During metal fabrication, technicians use a variety of processes to develop custom parts. This technology uses methods such as cutting, bending and assembly to meet design specifications. Metal fabrication involves specialized equipment that can use computer automation to make the process more efficient. Modern fabrication machines use advanced technology to shape metal with precision.

  • Metal stamping: The metal stamping process focuses on machine presses and stamping presses. These machines take a sheet of metal and use custom-made dies and tools to create the specified shape. A press uses techniques such as stamping, pressing, bending, stretching and folding to form parts. Metal stamping can provide tight manufacturing tolerances in specialty applications.

Both of these processes have benefits and disadvantages to consider during manufacturing. The differences listed below can impact your project's lead time and results.

Lead Times

The custom die used in metal stamping results in a much longer lead time than for the metal fabrication process. For every project created with metal stamping, the operator needs to develop tooling. Meanwhile, metal fabrication can have rapid prototyping that quickly transitions to the design-to-production cycle.

Versatility

During production, operators may need to make changes to the original product design. Once the shop creates custom tooling, attempting to change the design becomes difficult because they have to modify the die. The machines used in metal fabrication can handle design changes throughout production because of their programmable nature.

Length of Production

Metal stamping and fabrication suit different lengths of production. While metal stamping has more ease handling large-volume runs, it has a high initial cost that may not suit short runs. Metal fabrication suits longer production runs that require short lead times. It can also manage low product quantities more economically than metal stamping.

CNC Capabilities

Computer numerical control (CNC) machines use computer programming to automate manufacturing. This technology allows you to work with data such as a CAD file to create a custom design. Many forms of metal fabrication equipment can use CNC to perform automated machining processes. Metal stamping requires the use of a die to create custom shapes instead of CNC technology.

Degree of Customization

Precision technology allows metal fabrication and stamping processes to offer a high level of customization. Metal fabrication involves specialized equipment with CNC capabilities that can customize a design to exact specifications. The dies used in metal stamping can also define complex details in a part.

Count on APX York Sheet Metal for Metal Fabrication Services

APX York Sheet Metal serves as your one-stop-shop for the metal fabrication process. Our services include design, machining, welding and coating for creating a product from start to finish. We perform our processes in-house to give you consistent, high-quality results. To request a free quote on your next metal fabrication project, contact us online today.