By Laser 1 Technologies

Stamping versus Laser Cutting & Forming: A Case Study

Stamping jobs are most cost-effective when a high volume of parts is guaranteed. In many cases, parts are qualified for this type of manufacturing—but not always. Despite this, stamping often produces the best economic results for a manufacturer. Consequently, the following case study is neither a replacement of stamping nor a solution that resolves all problems. But it does provide an alternative to stamping that may be cost-effective in many cases.

Laser 1 Technologies received a request for a quote that specified the part in question had to be stamped with a progressive die. The quote was for an annual volume of 25,000 pieces with five releases during the year.

The cost to create the progressive die was $12,000 plus manufacturing costs. Pricing 5,000 pieces per release amounted to $0.47 per piece with potential annual cost to the client of $11,750. To simplify the cost, let’s assume all costs have to be amortized in one year, which brings us to the total cost of manufacturing of $33,750 or $1.35 per piece.

Now, let’s assume this is a new part and any production beyond year one is unknown, or the lifetime of the product is up to three years. The client has to make a $12,000 investment up front to learn later on how much of this investment can be recovered. In this case, the recovery can take three to four years. Any dimensional changes to the part will require additional investment up to the cost of the original die. The risk is significant and ROI is questionable.

With so many unknowns, here’s the question: Can other manufacturing processes be applied to save the client money? The answer is yes. The same part can be laser cut and formed on the press brake with tooling costs up to $500. The cost to the buyer would be $1.06 per piece with the annual cost of $26,500. The client would save $7,250 in the first year alone. This approach eliminates all unknowns and the initial investment of $12,000.

Laser cutting would also save time. It takes 4 to 6 weeks to manufacture progressive die parts, thus purchase orders have to place way ahead of time which, in many cases, clients don’t have. Laser cutting also gives the client more flexibility. Samples can be produced within very short period of time and any adjustments to prints are not causing a significant increase in overall costs.

Laser cutting is often a cost-effective and time-saving alternative to stamping. To discover if it might save you money on your next job, contact Laser 1 Technologies today.

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