etampa, a ‘progressive die’ company
Stamping and fineblanking using compound or progressive die technology produces stamped and fineblanked parts whose tools complete many different work steps and are precisely matched to one another. The individual steps in the etampa process chain are also precisely matched to each other. In a nutshell: etampa must itself function like a ‘progressive die’ system, from the very first drawing to the collection of the finished parts by the haulage contractor, to guarantee the final result.

Feasibility, plausibility and productivity
The first step at the start of any new project is the drawing, which may occur at an early or advanced product or part planning stage. Many customers rely on active co-engineering from etampa. They value our expertise and technical input primarily because production can get underway directly under optimum conditions. For this to work, etampa must fully understand the specifications and functionality of the parts to be produced. Only then are we able to define functional tolerances and test regimes. A design worked on together and optimised for stamping exerts a lasting influence on tool engineering, regrinding cycles and a tool's useful life. etampa also shares its insights about small adjustments to the original part blueprints that would mean significant gains in productivity. And where tolerance or material changes would make production more cost-effective. Or if the stamping strip can be optimised to ensure a much lower rate of material consumption.

Precision in toolmaking
Once the engineering design drawing has been completed, agreed upon by all involved and the green light given for production, the next step is toolmaking. The process of making a new tool starts with a tool review meeting. Design and high-precision construction are not the only decisive factors for these dies. It is also important that they are engineered in a way that enables them to handle their specified workloads and production volumes at all times. For highly complex applications, etampa dies often combine multiple steps into a single operation. Special emphasis is put on minimum die lengths and carbide or high-end coatings on the shearing components. Depending on production volumes, we work with multi-cavity dies, modular dies or rapid-change die assemblies. Special attention is also paid to die maintenance and upkeep. Here, intelligent servicing schemes ensure that quality is constantly maintained at the same level. Our declared objectives not only include maximum readiness and wear resistance but also specify a long useful life and extended maintenance intervals.

Both fineblanking and stamping use highly precise production processes. etampa's fineblanking presses achieve exceptionally right-angled surface cuts with up to 100% fully-sheared edges applying forces of between 40 and 250 tonnes. The high degree of contour and dimensional accuracy means some later processing steps such as deburring or grinding may be skipped entirely. By deploying the latest generation of servo-driven presses, multiple velocities can be applied during a single stroke of the press. This results in a significant boost to output while maintaining quality standards, to achieve significant gains in operating efficiency.

In the stamping process, state-of-the-art servo-driven stamping presses and high-speed presses ensure optimum utilisation of the high-performance technology. Unlike conventional drive systems, servos permit the combination of high-precision manufacturing with a high rate of output or, by keeping output constant, the achievement of greater precision for the manufactured parts. Depending on the stamped parts' geometry and material quality, an output gain of +50% constitutes a realistic target parameter.

Material thickness and range of materials
While fineblanking can work with materials that are 0.5 mm to 6 mm thick, stamping can be used for thicknesses of 0.1 to 4 mm. In fineblanking, parts are produced using both compound die and progressive die technology whereas stamping mostly applies progressive die systems. In both production processes, materials used include steel and stainless steel, non-ferrous metals, aluminium and titanium.

Zero defects strategy in quality management
Tailor-made, certified quality processes, adjusted to the quality assurance systems run by etampa’s customers, support the company’s zero defects strategy. From certified automotive sector processes such as PPAP or VDA, initial sample inspections to customer specifications or basic measurement reports: each and every part leaves our premises in an absolutely flawless state.

Certified to ISO/TS 16949 and ISO 9001, etampa’s quality management system starts with AQP (Advanced Quality Planning), proceeds through test equipment planning and extends to the statistical analysis of measured values. All our QM work is supported by an infrastructure maintained by efficient instrumentation management. Equipment used here includes tactile CNC measuring machinery, measuring microscopes, leak testing equipment to ensure 100% testing of valve seating or the modern facilities in our part cleanliness test lab for residual contaminant analysis. Other specialist machines such as profilometers round out the portfolio of measuring and testing equipment.

Post-press processing for the finishing touch
Depending on drawing specifications, post-press finishing may be necessary for parts manufactured by fineblanking or stamping. Examples include requirements as regards hardness, burr-free finishing, corrosion protection, contaminants, roughness or leak-proofing. This involves finishing the job – quite literally: most punched parts will require deburring after production, since burrs or flash can cause the part to malfunction and – in the worst-case scenario – could endanger a person's life. Processes such as vibratory finishing or belt grinding, brushing and chemical deburring ensure premium manufacturing quality. In addition, etampa can still apply technologies such as ball burnishing, disc grinding or double column surface grinding, electrochemical polishing or flat honing. Heat treatments and surface finishing work are each carried out by certified etampa technology partners.