Those who fabricate metal components for machines and equipment are metal stamping experts. As is true with experts in many other fields, metal stamping experts tend to use technical jargon when talking to "regular" folks. They're not trying to show off their knowledge; rather, they're so accredited to using the technical words associated with their business that they do not think twice. In fact, many experts in the sheet metal stamping field may have trouble expressing themselves in simple terms because the words they know explain basically what they mean to say. If you're in the market to have material handling equipment, conveyors, presses, or other stamped metal equipment fabricated, understanding the vocabulary will come in handy when considering your needs with a sheet metal fabrication company. This is not an exhaustive list of sheet stamping terms by any means, but understanding these basics is a start.
To most laymen, stamping refer to impressing lettering, numbers or designs into the surface of a material. In metalworking, however, metal stamping returns to the processes used to form and shape metal in a press.
Feed is short for press feeding device, the mechanism by which a material is actually moved onto the press for painting and stamping. Years ago, most materials were fed into the press by hand. Today, it is far more common for feeds to be controlled by computers – called servo feeds – or by a stepper motor or mechanical conveyor that is powered by compressed air (air feeds).
A press is a machine with a stationary bed or anvil and a ram or hammer that is guided in a controlled motion at right angles to the bed. It's a basic stamping tool.
A belt or mechanical apparatus that moves materials along an assembly line and positions them for the feeds.
Dies and Die Components
A die is a tool used to imp a shape to metal. Dies and die components are used in blanking, forging, forming, and many other press operations. The various die components include:
Die assembly: This holds die in place and locate it for the metal stamping press
Die block: A block of heat treated steel that is marked or stamped with a shape that will be attached to the metal that is pressed into or onto it.
Die cavity: An impression or recess in a die block that gives the metal stamping its shape.
Die impression: The surface of the die that actually shapes the sheet metal part in a stamping operation.
Die life: The number of units that can be shaped by a die before it is worn beyond acceptable tolerances.
Die proof (or die cast): A casting or stamping made with a set of dies to confirm that the impression made is accurate
These terms barely scratch the surface of terminology used in sheet metal machining and stamping, but understanding this vocabulary can help you express your needs when dealing with a metal stamping company.