Metals have been used in building and construction applications for hundreds of years due to their versatility and wide range of unique physical properties. Today, metals are found in everything from medical devices to food and beverage packaging to homebuilding applications and much more. There are upwards of 70 different types of metals and dozens more metal alloys, each offering unique advantages and characteristics. With such an abundance of options, it can be challenging to choose the right metal for your specific application.
These factors can help you narrow down your material options: machinability, weldability, tensile strength, and ductility. Some metals are stronger in certain areas than others, and understanding your application requirements in regards to these properties can help you more easily determine the metal that will provide you the best results.
Choosing the Right Material for Your Deep-Drawn Stamping Project
Hudson Technologies designs and manufactures both standard and custom stamped components for customers across a variety of industries and applications. We are highly experienced in all facets of the metal drawing process to give our customers consistently great results whenever they turn to us.
Throughout the material selection process, it is important to keep in mind that each metal material possesses substantial strengths, but they may also present drawbacks when used in an unsuitable application. The unique properties of each metal help differentiate them from the others and enable manufacturers to more easily select the appropriate material based on their project needs. At Hudson Technologies, we can help you locate the right material for your application as part of our consultation and design expertise services.
It’s best to involve consultants for material selection earlier rather than later when beginning the engineering and design process. This prevents downtime and costly redesigns by reducing the risk of needing to switch to a different material after prototypes or test products are manufactured and test runs are completed.
Considerations Before Selecting a Material
Before selecting a construction material and developing a prototype, you should determine the material characteristics you require. Different components will require different properties. For example, medical devices like implantables and surgical equipment require metal materials that are highly-corrosion resistant and sterile to withstand frequent sanitation and are safe to implant in the human body. Medical-grade titanium is an ideal material for these applications. Whereas aerospace applications require materials that are lightweight, can withstand extreme temperatures and pressures, and possess a high strength-to-weight ratio. Depending on the component, aluminum, stainless steel, and brass are suitable for aerospace applications.
To maintain the integrity of your product, it is critical to identify the structural elements that are needed to achieve the desired results. To help you make the right selection, there are four main material properties to consider: tensile strength, weldability, machinability, and ductility/malleability.
To give you a better idea of what to look for, the four properties of materials are detailed below:
- Tensile strength — This is the amount of force or load a metal piece can withstand before breaking or suffering permanent deformation.
- Weldability — A metal material’s range of weldability helps determine the level of expertise needed to weld the material along with the amount of time required for material preparation. For example, materials with a higher degree of weldability require less expertise and preparation compared to less weldable materials that need skilled welders and more time to prepare.
- Machinability — This is the ease with which a blade can cut the metal. Highly machinable metals can undergo cutting at high speeds with more cost-effective band saws, milling tools, or drill bits.
- Ductility/Malleability — These properties determine whether a metal workpiece can be stretched and formed into different shapes and retain them once the forming pressure is removed.
Understanding and identifying these characteristics of materials will help you select the most suitable metal material for your particular project.
Common Materials and Metals Used for Deep-Drawn Parts
The team at Hudson Technologies works closely with customers from the early design stages to the final production and delivery phases to make sure they receive components that meet their needs.
Depending on your project requirements, you may require one or more of the following metals:
- Aluminum — Aluminum is a cost-effective metal that offers reliable drawability and excellent corrosion resistance. It’s soft and lightweight, sustainable, and easily recyclable. If applications require increased strength and versatility, fabricators combine aluminum with other metals to create alloys. Some common applications for aluminum include the production of power storage, batteries, consumer electronics, beverage containers, and packaging.
- Brass — Brass is highly resistant to corrosion and freshwater exposure, in addition to being highly malleable. Manufacturers often use brass when aesthetic appeal is a critical requirement. Many applications use brass, including fasteners, valves, and electrical applications in the medical, electronics, marine, and aerospace industries.
- Cold rolled steel — The adaptability of cold rolled steel makes it compatible with many applications, including challenging deep-drawn products. It’s available in high-strength grades and with high load-bearing properties. Applications in the industrial, automotive, and home-building industries frequently use cold rolled steel for various components.
- Copper — Copper is both malleable and ductile, with the ability to resist a variety of corrosive substances, including water, natural saline solutions, non-oxidizing acids, and alkalis. It’s also ideal for applications requiring aesthetic appeal, similar to brass, but with a more economical cost. Copper’s applications include air conditioning components, materials, electrical stamped parts, and many others.
- Cupronickel — This metal is a copper and nickel alloy and features iron and manganese reinforcement. It offers superior corrosion resistance to seawater, along with high tensile strength, drawability, and ductility. Cupronickel is most often used in the medal and coin minting industries, but other applications include desalination materials, marine engineering, and electrical applications.
- Hastelloy — Hastelloy metals consist of wrought alloys such as chromium, nickel, and molybdenum. Hastelloy metals feature high versatility, drawing properties, and resistance to chemicals and heat.
- HY-MU 80 and other specialty shielding alloys — This is a metal comprised of 80% nickel-iron-molybdenum and is commonly used for shielding electrical systems from electromagnetic impulses (EMI). HY-MU 80 achieves this by separating electronic components and providing protection against magnetic interference. The medical, aviation, aerospace, and military industries frequently employ HY-MU 80 to shield a variety of equipment.
- Inconel® — A nickel-based alloy, Inconel protects against corrosion and high temperatures, with beneficial drawing properties. The electronics, aerospace, chemical, medical, marine, and automotive industries often use Inconel in many components, including heat exchanger tubing and pressure vessels.
- Kovar® — This alloy is a vacuum-melted, low-expansion metal made of nickel, iron, and cobalt. Enhanced quality controls are implemented in fabricating Kovar, which allows for consistency in its physical and mechanical properties. The medical industry uses Kovar for applications such as hermetic seals, laser tubes, and X-ray tube parts.
- Monel® — This metal features nickel-cobalt alloys that provide reliable strength and corrosion resistance. Monel is particularly ideal for use in potentially harsh environmental and temperature settings. Oil and gas products, chemical processing systems, and musical instruments are a few of the many applications for Monel.
- Nickel — Often used in aerospace applications, this metal works well for applications that need reliable resistance to heat and corrosion along with increased strength.
- Nickel silver — Nickel silver alloys are ductile, malleable, and nonmagnetic, and they feature copper, nickel, and zinc alloys. It’s possible to roll, machine, and wring nickel silver alloys. Plumbing fixtures, musical instrument components, side fasteners, and jewelry are some popular applications for nickel silver.
- Stainless steel — Stainless steel can withstand high and low temperatures and is highly corrosion-resistant. It possesses enhanced visual appeal and reliable strength. The food and beverage, automotive, and chemical industries often rely on stainless steel.
- Titanium — Titanium is a lightweight metal that offers a great strength-to-weight ratio and resists corrosion. The military and defense industries frequently use titanium for many types of equipment. Additonally, titanium appears in everything from implantable medical devices and aircraft engines to turbine blades and hydraulic tubing.
Design Finalization and Material Selection Before Full Production Runs
Hudson Technologies has partnered with some of the most reputable companies in the world to fulfill orders for standard deep-drawn parts. We work closely with customers to design, prototype, and produce custom parts of all types. Our team makes recommendations on existing designs or can adapt existing designs to be used for deep-drawn manufacturing in lieu of traditional machining and metal injection molding.
We employ a range of design technologies and techniques to help our customers select a component that meets all required standards and specifications. We offer engineering and tooling, production control, finishing, cleaning, annealing, and other custom processes based on our customers’ needs.
Deep-Drawn Manufacturing Expertise and Design Assistance from Hudson Technologies
At Hudson Technologies, our goal is to produce the perfect parts for our customers’ needs. This starts with analyzing your application requirements to determine the materials best suited to provide optimal results and high-performing capabilities for your application. Downtime due to redesign and material adjustments can be avoided by involving our consultants early on in the design and prototyping process.
For more information on how to select the best material, take a look at our eBook “Choosing the Right Material for Your Project.” You can also connect with our team for additional information about our pricing and consultation services or request a quote for our services to get started today.