Hot metal stamping. Not a typical topic of conversation around the water cooler. That is, unless you are in or serve the auto industry. According to Megatrends magazine, “Since its introduction in the 1990s, the use of hot stamping has been steadily gaining popularity across the automotive industry. As the technology develops, and its benefits increasingly justify the upfront investment costs, hot-stamped parts are appearing not only on large premium cars, but also on small, mainstream and even low-cost cars.”
What is Hot Stamping?
Hot stamping, also termed hot forming or press hardening, refers to the process of forming metal while it is super-hot and then cooling it quickly. The press-hardenable metal (boron steel or aluminized steel) is heated to over 1700 degrees F in the first stage of the press line. The material is transferred quickly to a press and the part is formed while the material is still very hot. Then, the material is cooled quickly in a die. This process changes low-tensile-strength metal to very high-strength steel.
Why Hot Stamp?
Hot stamping has proven to be a highly effective production process for the auto industry with these advantages:
High tensile strength. Relatively complex parts can be formed in a single step, yielding a shaped part with strengths many times stronger than a regular steel part.
Complex components. Hot stamping can form complex parts in one stroke. So, multi-component assemblies can be redesigned and formed as one part, which eliminates some additional joining processes, such as welding.
No springback. Hot stamping relieves problems with springback and warping.
Lighter weight. Parts are both high-strength and lightweight, resulting in vehicles that are lighter and more fuel-efficient, as well as more impact-resistant.
High production speed. This technology is highly suitable for high production speed.
What Parts are Suitable?
Hot metal stamping is very well-suited to form components that must be lightweight and very strong. For the auto industry, this technology is highly suitable for a variety of safety-critical structural parts including bumper beams, door reinforcements, A and B-pillar reinforcements, roof and dash panel cross members, rockers and small reinforcements, as well as other complex parts.
What are the Trends in Hot Metal Stamping?
Indicators are that hot metal stamping will continue to grow at a rapid rate. That is because sheet metal is being used in more industries, including consumer electronics, aerospace, telecommunications, industrial machinery, and the auto industry. Additionally, metal prices have fallen recently providing more affordable opportunities for utilizing metal stamping. Lastly, more fabricating companies are envisioning the benefits of using metal stamping for their clients.
What are the Unique Requirements for Hot Metal Stamping?
Hot metal stamping requires the following production capabilities:
Heating system to produce the necessary super-high temperatures
Automated handling of parts
High tonnage press capability
Safety hot operation
Capable tooling, built to withstand thermal shock
Your First Choice for Hot Metal Stamping
Contact Velocity Metalworks in O’Fallon and Hoffman, IL, serving the greater St. Louis area and the Midwest for superior expertise and full capabilities in metal stamping, tool & die design-build, tool & die maintenance, and electric discharge machinery (EDM).
Velocity Metalworks has assembled an impressive team of industry experts and has become recognized as a leader and valued partner in the metal stamping industry. We offer excellence as a full-service provider to manufacturers and other shops throughout the Midwest.