We get this question every day as manufacturers struggle with ballooning lead times, expensive changes to tooling, and quality control for critical components. And the answer may surprise you!
Sophisticated high-volume parts that traditionally required complex tooling on a progressive power press can be an excellent fit for the fourslide manufacturing process. With its unique integration of stamping and forming operations, the fourslide process can dramatically reduce typical tooling costs, halve tooling lead times, and eliminate post-production adjustments needed to meet specifications.
We are often asked to recommend a material for a customer’s flat spring, spring clip, battery contact, or other custom part. The standard response is that we do not make material recommendation, because the application requirements (e.g., spring force, conductivity, range of motion and corrosion resistance) are so critical to material selection. Our expertise lies in the manufacture of springs and stampings, not the design of the part for its intended function.
Rather, we suggest the materials that are viable alternatives relative to the manufacturability of a part. Many part geometries can be accomplished utilizing spring-tempered materials such as stainless steel, spring brass or phosphor bronze. When possible, these are preferable because they do not require heat treatment subsequent to forming, a process that can cause part distortion.
Here at Fourslide, we manufacture most parts from flat strip material. The costs of production tooling are typically justifiable for parts with an annual usage of as few as 5,000 pieces. Despite the low volume, there is often no better or more economical way to manufacture the part.
This is not the case for wire forms. When we receive an inquiry for wire forms with lower volume requirements (fewer than 20,000), we refer that customer to a CNC wire former. Because there is usually no tooling charge for CNC wire forming, it is a more economical process for manufacturing low volumes.
When volumes increase, however, the greater production speeds of the fourslide process – which result in lower per-piece prices – overcome the initial tooling investment. Read More →
Many manufacturers have long employed the fourslide process to produce formed parts with multiple bends and forms. Fewer, however, consider the fourslide process when faced with flatter parts, such as those pictured here.