Alternative Tooling Technologies for Low Volume Stamping
Low volume manufacturing has become increasingly important for the automotive industry. Globalization trends have led automakers and their suppliers to operate in developing regions where minimum efficient scales can not always be achieved. With proper maintenance, standard cast iron stamping tools can be used to produce millions of parts, but require large investments. Thus at high production volumes, the impact of the tooling investment on individual piece costs is minimized. However, at low volumes there is a substantial cost penalty. In light of the trends towards localized manufacturing and relatively low demands in some developing markets, low cost stamping tools are needed. Several alternate tooling technologies exist, each of which require significantly lower initial investments, but suffer from greatly reduced tool lives. However, the use of these technologies at intermediate to high volumes requires multiple tool sets thus eliminating their cost advantage.