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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Running Metal Stamping Family Dies

Posted by Tim Lynch | 10/14/14 10:00 AM

Family tooling is a method in which a manufacturer designs and builds a die that is able to simultaneously produce multiple components in different configurations. Family tooling is widely used, and for good reason – family dies are cost-effective.  The disadvantages of running metal stamping family dies are also related to cost.

Family Tooling Advantages

  • With a family tool, multiple components are produced simultaneously.  One obvious positive outcome of this is reduced production time which drives down overall cost.
  • A well-designed family die is a lot like a jigsaw puzzle, with the separate components arranged so that they fit together and can be stamped using the least amount of material possible.  Of course, less waste translates to a reduction in material cost.

Though the use of family tools can be cost-effective, it can also drive cost up for either the manufacturer or the customer.  The components of a family die cannot be separated.  Therefore, if after production there is an issue with one of the components, all components must be stamped again.  Often these situations cannot be predicted nor avoided, and therein lies the risk of running metal stamping family dies.

Family Tooling Disadvantages

  • If the faulty component is due to a manufacturing error, the manufacturer must incur the cost of producing not only the defective part, but all the parts in the family die.  In other words, the cost to rectify a defect on one component in the die is multiplied by the number of additional components in the family tool.
  •  The customer may also incur additional cost.  If a change in design is needed for one of the parts after production specifications have been approved, not only the costs of the redesigned component, but the subsequent components in the die are also the responsibility of the customer.  Likewise, if for any reason a customer needs additional quantity of one component of the family die – say inventory got lost or damaged in the customer’s warehouse, the only solution is to re-stamp every part that is produced in the family die. 

The obvious advantage of running metal stamping family dies is that doing so saves time and material expense; yet, the cost-efficient design of a family die can also be its Achilles’ heel. The tool that is designed to save money at the onset of a project can actually be the reason that additional or unforeseen costs occur.  When it comes to metal stamping with family dies, it’s important to remember that family sticks together.

A must-read for OEMs that use metal stampings in their products
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Topics: Tooling