Extrusion vs. Stamping: Which Is Best For Your Project?
Non-metallic fabrication encompasses a host of manufacturing techniques, each with its own distinct benefits. Thermoplastics, fibres, and other non-metal materials offer increased fabrication flexibility, allowing designers and engineers to choose from multiple production methods to maximize performance, quality, and cost-effectiveness.
Two of the most common non-metal fabrication techniques are extrusion and stamping. While both processes deliver creative and effective designs, each provide unique advantages depending on volume, function, and overall work requirements.
The extrusion process is performed using a die with a specially designed cross-section. Raw materials are extruded, or pushed, through the die to create pieces of virtually unlimited complexity. The objects can be cut to any desired length, allowing the option to create long, continuous extrusions or short semi-continuous cuttings for higher volume projects.
One of the biggest advantages of non-metallic extrusion is flexibility; the process produces components of almost any length while using either hot or cold materials. Extrusion is ideal when working with weaker materials, as it forms patterns by only applying shear and compressive stress. Completed pieces are strong and have an excellent finish.
While many fabricators extrude metals, non-metals work equally well, such as HDPE, LDPE, polypropylene co-polymer, polypropylene homo-polymer, acetal, nylon 6 or 6/6, and MDS.
Stamped components are made by blanking, and/or piercing non-metallic materials – in strip or coil forms between two metal halves (upper and lower) of a press tool, called a die set. The upper member (or members) are attached to slide (or slides) of the press, and the lower member is clamped or bolted to the bed of a hydraulic press. The die-set is designed to create the shape and size of a non-metallic component. The two halves of the die-set are brought together in the hydraulic press. Both force (load) and accuracy are required to achieve the repeatability and tolerance demands.
Non-metallic stamping is available for materials of varying strengths and composition, including Acetal, ABS, epoxy glass, fish paper, Mylar, Nomex®, Nylon, PEEK, Phenolic, Polyethylene, Polypropylene, Teflon™ PTFE, and many others.
Choosing the Right Process for Your Project
Extrusion and stamping each offer their own unique benefits. Extrusion allows for exceptional definition on the first pass, with superior wall thickness and geometries as detailed as the design dictates. Extruded pieces also have a better finish immediately after the process, whereas stamped parts often require secondary machining to achieve comparable finishing. The extrusion process does have some limitations, however, including lower levels of production and limited size variation.
Stamping is a highly cost-effective option and produces large-scale, full-sized production runs whenever required. This process provides repeatable, consistent quality and reduces scrap material left after project completion. Quick and easy to set up, stamping offers automated, multi-step manufacturing for parts with complicated geometries. However, while stamping is highly sought-after for large production runs, it cannot achieve the thickness, complexity, and strength of extruded parts.
Solutions from New Process Fibre
New Process Fibre provides non-metallic extrusion and stamping services using the industry’s most advanced equipment, including advanced extrusion for producing strips, sheets, rolls, and coils. Our facility houses 75 press punches and 14 high-speed presses, machinery that runs at up to 400 strokes per minute while meeting the industry’s tightest tolerance requirements.
No matter which fabrication process you choose, our knowledgeable staff is ready to assist you. To find out more about our stamping and extrusion services, quality assurance, and tool and die capabilities, download our Company Overview.
If you would like to request a custom quote, contact us directly.