Stamping, also known as pressing, is a manufacturing process that place flat sheet metal into a stamping press, where a tool and die surface forms the metal into the desired shape. The trend of miniaturization has driven the industry to the micro level, which is referred to as Micro Stamping. Compared to Stamping, or Micro Stamping, Electroforming has shorter lead time, lower costs, better quality, and more design flexibility.
So what's the difference of these two precision manufacturing techniques? This blog will review on Cost Efficiency, Lead Time, Design Complexity, and Quality/Accuracy.
Electroforming vs. Stamping
(1) Cost Efficiency
Unlike Electroforming which features no tooling cost, Stamping always requires substantial investment in tooling and installation: both monetary wise and time-wise. One stamping die can easily cost thousands of dollars, not to mention the extra costs for setting up and maintenance costs over time.
(2) Lead Time
With Stamping, the lead time can be 6-8 weeks only for preparing the tooling. Even after the stamping tool is completed, extra time (and costs) will incur for setting up the tooling in the stamping press. With Electroforming, lead time is a matter of days. Compared to those who still stamp their precision metal components, you can receive your ultra-precision electroformed parts even before their stamping tool is ready!
(3) Design Complexity
Electroforming allows for more design flexibility as it requires no hard tooling and that it has a very short lead time, while with Stamping modifying a design means making a completely new die and investing on tooling and setting up all over again. This also means that Electroforming is perfect for small amount prototyping as well as industrial production. When it comes to material choice (learn more about what materials can be electroformed from a previous blog), however, Stamping allows for more flexibility than Electroforming.
Electroforming is an ultra-precision micro-manufacturing technology. With Electroforming, a higher level of accuracy and precision can be achieved. Moreover, electroformed parts are completely burr- and stress-free while stamped parts feature partial burrs and stress at cutting edge. Although minor burr or stress can be acceptable for some applications, it might be a stumbling block for your next breakthrough.
Thus, compared to Stamping, or Micro Stamping, Electroforming has shorter lead time, lower costs, better quality, and more design flexibility (when the material is not an issue).