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Importance of High Performance Blanking with Precision Metal Stamping in Minneapolis, MN

July 27th, 2017 · No Comments

With each part we manufacture with our abilities in precision metal stamping, our engineers start with a blanking operation that creates the fundamental base of a finished piece. From the design process to the stamping floor, all of our parts need a high-quality beginning in order to have a high-quality ending. Thomas Engineering Company specializes in creating parts of excellence in form and function. This production requires every stage to show the same quality and excellence. A significant step in the process of comprehensive precision metal stamping in Minneapolis, MN, is blanking and the many standardized operations that go with it.

Blanking is often considered one of the most foundational operations in the process of fabricating most types of metal stamped parts. In the realm of precision stamping, all operations with blanking and tandem stages must be able to provide the highest accuracy and quality for a successful precision-based part to be made.

TEC operations include precision blanking to cut and shear the base form of most parts from sheet metals. Our engineers and blanking dies are equipped to provide a wide range of additional blanking operations.

Blanking Operations at TEC

To continue the TEC standards in excellence from start to finish, we place great importance on maintaining the quality and extreme accuracy in all of our blanking operations, including the following:

  • standard blanking for cutting base part forms from sheet metal
  • shearing and trimming for cutting away sections of a blank
  • piercing/punching for cutting holes and sections into a blank
  • lancing for combining shearing and bending into a single operation
  • perforating for piercing several holes at once
  • notching for trimming sections away from the edges of a blank

With our expert abilities in blanking operations, TEC is able to use skill in production to manufacture base blanks used in creating the final precision-based part. Our customers can rely on our excellence in blanking as well as our continued excellence in part design and rapid prototyping, precision metal stamping, online and offline value-added services, subassembly, packaging, and just-in-time delivery.

For more information about our services in precision metal stamping in Minneapolis, MN, contact Thomas Engineering Company at (763) 533-1501 today.

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The Importance of Subassembly for Parts Made with Precision Metal Stamping in Minneapolis, MN

July 25th, 2017 · No Comments

The manufacturing of quality stamped parts takes a quality system. A product with quality and reliability demands the involvement of expert designers, engineers, and stamping technicians, as well as state-of-the-art design and stamping technology. At Thomas Engineering Company, our system of providing high quality parts with precision metal stamping in Minneapolis, MN, offers our expertise and a history of excellence since 1962.

Subassembly and our other value-added services are a big part of the expertise TEC provides to our customers. The high quality precision stamped parts we offer rely on our abilities to fully finish a product with comprehensive attention at each stage of the process, on and off the assembly line.

When it comes to parts that need to function as components of another part or within a machine, additional operations for subassembly are essential. Common parts that pass through the hands of the TEC subassembly team include the following:

  • Precision stamped pieces with moving parts that were fabricated separately will also require subassembly action. These parts need extreme care to connect moving parts seamlessly and with perfection
  • Any of our parts needing reliable connections, such as riveting or soldering, are incomplete until they have gone through the subassembly processes here at TEC

In short, there are a wide range of parts that are unfinished until their necessary subassembly processes are complete. With the complex, precision-based micro-miniature, miniature, medium-sized, and ultra-thin parts we fabricate at TEC, it’s especially important that the subassembly process is completed with the utmost attention to detail to avoid even the slightest manufacturing errors. We take pride in our abilities to provide this kind of reliability and accuracy in our subassemblies, no matter the size or complexity of the part.

For more information about our subassembly parts and process and our full services in precision metal stamping in Minneapolis, MN, contact Thomas Engineering Company at (763) 533-1501 today.

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Benefits of Compound Tools for High Precision Metal Stamping in Minneapolis, MN

July 13th, 2017 · No Comments

At Thomas Engineering Company (TEC), the different tools and equipment we use for fabricating high-quality, precision-based parts cover a wide range. From our BRUDERER stamping presses to our house-made tools, our productions floor is well stocked with tools for all purposes. When it comes to complex, thin-stamped, micro-miniature, miniature, medium, and ultra-thin parts, look no further than Thomas Engineering Company’s precision metal stamping in Minneapolis, MN.

One of our commonly used tools on the production floor is the compound tool. These tools are versatile stations that work well in a number of different operations for a wide range of parts.

Why Compound Tools?

Our TEC engineers value our compound tools for flexibility in uses and reliability in operations. Using a compound tool offers the following benefits to our engineers and customers:

  • Compound tools work as a single station stage for parts of all sizes
  • Our TEC compound tools perform precision-based operations including piercing, cut out stamping, and blanking in one hit
  • Our compound tools work with excellence and efficiency on both low volume jobs and high volumes jobs, giving our customers the quality they need for the quantity they need
  • For parts demanding extreme accuracy for critical hole locations and flatness, TEC compound tools are an optimal equipment on our operations floors
  • Compound tools add quality, accuracy, and efficiency to all our precision metal stamping production

Compound tools are an important part of our tooling repertoire at TEC. These tools—in combination with our state-of-the-art stamping equipment, value-added service equipment, on and offline tooling, and rapid prototyping abilities—give our customers an experience in excellence for all their stamping needs.

For more information about TEC tools and equipment used for our precision metal stamping in Minneapolis, MN, contact Thomas Engineering Company at (763) 533-1501 today.

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Aluminum vs. Stainless Steel and Their Uses in Precision Metal Stamping in Minneapolis, MN

June 26th, 2017 · No Comments

At Thomas Engineering Company, we’re able to process virtually every metal for our precision stamped parts. From the delicate copper parts we fabricate for the electronics industry to the resistant stainless steel parts we manufacture for the automotive industry, TEC uses a wide range of metals and metal alloys. For complex, thin stamped, precision-based parts, Thomas Engineering Company can be your go-to fabricator with our high quality services in metal stamping in Minneapolis, MN.

In some cases, there are parts that could be made from several differing materials to the same effect, given their purpose. It’s important to compare those materials to determine whether or not the materials would have a different effect. While aluminum and stainless steel are very different metals, there are times when either could be used in a single application. TEC engineers often know from experience, skill, and training which metal to choose, but a basic comparison can be helpful on occasion.

Aluminum

Aluminum is much less expensive than stainless steel, and at a third of the weight of stainless steel, aluminum is useful in lightweight applications for parts that don’t need the heavy-duty strength of stainless steel. That being said, aluminum is still a strong metal in its own right, for example, with parts that don’t demand a higher weight-to-strength ratio.

Aluminum also has naturally high resistance to corrosion and oxidation. However, if aluminum reaches the point where it begins to oxidize, or if it’s exposed to extreme acids or bases, it may rapidly lose structural integrity.

Aluminum is softer and more workable than stainless steel, allowing for more variety in parts without compromising other properties. Additionally, aluminum is a good conductor of electricity, making it ideal for complex parts in the electronics industry that will endure low heat environments.

Stainless Steel

Because it’s stronger and heavier than aluminum, stainless steel can be used in higher stress applications. Stainless steel parts can also be exposed to much higher temperatures and corrosive environments than aluminum parts, though it doesn’t conduct heat or electricity well. Stainless steel is less workable than aluminum because of its hardness, but it can be more easily welded into altered parts.

Overall, there are many cases where there are parts that could be made from stainless steel, but would be more efficiently stamped with aluminum. For example, many automotive parts that traditionally were made from steel are now made from aluminum. There are also many cases where stainless steel is more ideal for a certain part despite its higher price.

Basic comparisons of metals such as this comparison between aluminum and stainless steel can be helpful to the customer and TEC engineers when planning and designing parts. For more information about the materials we use for precision metal stamping in Minneapolis, MN, contact Thomas Engineering Company at (763) 533-1501.

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Benefits of Cold Formed Steel for Precision Metal Stamping in Minneapolis, MN

June 21st, 2017 · No Comments

In the metal stamping industry, the number of types of metals and metal alloys that are utilized across specializations are quite expansive. Within each facet of the industry, however, the range in metal types suitable for that kind of metal stamping start to diminish. Thomas Engineering Company works with virtually any metal fit for precision fabrication, and we’re able to process all high quality metals used for precision metal stamping in Minneapolis, MN.

Within precision metal stamping, the metals used also fall into a wide range, but there are examples of some metals that are not ideal for the precision stamping process when they are processed in certain ways. For instance, the difference between hot and cold rolled steel in metal stamping lies in the process of creating those materials, which in turn determines whether the final material is suitable for precision work. At TEC, we use cold rolled steel because it guarantees higher precision in the part.

Problems with Hot Rolled Steel

Hot rolled steel is roll-pressed at temperatures higher than 1,700ºF. This temperature causes the steel to recrystallize while cooling, making the end product more workable. The steel is kept at a high temperature throughout the rolling process and then cools quickly, leaving behind a scaled surface. While this rough surface can be considered a problem with hot rolled steel, the main drawback of hot rolled steel is the fast cooling from extreme heat. This results in rounded edges, rather than sharp corners, and an unavoidable slight distortion from shrinkage.

For these reasons, cold rolled steel is much more suitable for precision metal stamping than hot rolled steel.

Pluses of Cold Rolled Steel

Because of the shrinkage and general imprecision of hot rolled steel, for purposes requiring closer dimensional tolerances and accuracy in stamping, hot rolled steels must be processed further. After hot rolled steel has cooled, it can be altered with rolling compression and additional methods of cold finishing. This modification of cooled hot rolled steel offers TEC engineers with a material fit for precision stamping, with benefits like smoother surfaces with closer tolerances, edges that are sharply and accurately defined, greater strength and hardness, and an overall increase in technical and cosmetic precision.

At TEC we always work with the best metals and metals alloys available to the industry that are both high quality and suitable for use in precision metal stamping in Minneapolis, MN. For more information about cold rolled steel and our other materials, contact Thomas Engineering Company at (763) 533-1501.

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The Red Metals: Brass, Bronze, and Copper With Metal Stamping in Minneapolis, MN

June 14th, 2017 · No Comments

In the metal stamping industry, a wide range of metalloid materials are used for fabricating parts and for the tools involved in producing those parts. Each type of material, from stainless steel to aluminum, serves its purpose in a fitting setting. At Thomas Engineering Company (TEC), we work with almost all metals and metal alloys available to the industry. With our abilities in precision metal stamping in Minneapolis, MN, we’re able to process these materials with expertise and efficiency to produce high-quality and ultra-precise parts.

One of the largest markets for which we produce precision stamped parts is the electronics industry. Even within the automotive and medical industries that we also supply with a large bracket of our products, there are demands for electronic components, electronic connectors, or otherwise electronic-based parts. For these parts, we make frequent use of the three Red Metals: brass, bronze, and copper.

Copper: One of the metals most often used for parts that must conduct electrical current, copper is put to use at TEC for the production of various thin-stamped electronic connectors. Copper has high electrical conductivity and is naturally resistant to corrosion. It also has high strength compared to metals with similar properties and forms well. At TEC, we specialize in oxygen-free coppers for their heightened conductivity and improved ductility.

 Brass: We also use brass for the fabrication of multiple electronic parts. Because brass is an alloyed metal of copper and zinc, it’s also effective for carrying current. The presence of zinc in brass alloys greatly increases the strength and ductility of the material, which makes brass more useful than copper when it comes to high-stress part endurance. Brass alloys can also take additions of other elements and varied content percentages of zinc to alter the properties of the resulting material.

 Bronze: Containing mostly copper, bronzes are also resistant to corrosion. However, because bronze often contain several additional elements, the properties of the resulting material are different from copper alone. For example, most bronzes have a greater hardness than copper and a low friction production with metal-on-metal contact. We often use phosphor bronzes at TEC for the production of parts needing greater tensile strength and corrosion resistance.

While the Red Metals all take their name from their copper content, they offer a wide spectrum of qualities for practical application. Thomas Engineering Company works with the three main Red Metals to design and produce the parts our customers need. For more information about the materials we use and our abilities with precision metal stamping in Minneapolis, MN, contact us at (763) 533-1501 today.

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Manufacturing Quality Carbide Composite Tools with Precision Metal Stamping in Minneapolis, MN

May 31st, 2017 · No Comments

Since the mid-1960s, Thomas Engineering Company (TEC) has made use of the high quality and valuable reliability of BRUDERER stamping presses and equipment from several other companies meeting the Quality Assurance standards of TEC excellence. We’re able to use these presses, machines, and tools efficiently and at a level of maintained precision because they work so well in tandem with our own tools on and off the assembly line. For example, TEC specializes in the design and manufacturing of high-speed carbide composite tools with our abilities in precision metal stamping in Minneapolis, MN

Carbide composite are a combination of carbide particles acting as aggregates and a metal binder that completes the matrix. Tools made from carbide composite are used in many manufacturing industries for high-stress functions that demand heavy-duty strength. The common types of carbide composites are titanium carbide, tungsten carbide, and tantalum carbide.

Uses: Frequently, carbide composite parts are used for cutting durable materials at high speeds for extended periods of time. Carbide composites can also be used for other purposes where tools are needed to maintain quality and function throughout high-stress situations. Tools that are exposed to daily extreme wear and tear survive for longer periods at peak condition, if the parts of that tool that perform the cut, coining, or forming, or endure other types of friction and pressure are made from carbide composite materials. The binder of the metallic material in a composite works to cement carbide particles, offering an increase in durability, ductility, and flexibility in parts made from those materials.

Benefits: Because carbide composites offer improvements in certain properties, it provides several benefits to parts made from carbide composite materials. In cutting applications, carbide composite blades give a higher quality surface finish on the parts they cut. Carbide composite blades can also hold their integrity under higher friction temperatures, allowing them to cut faster for longer without wearing away. Most carbide composite tools can use an additional coating of hard metallic matrices similar to the tool base. These coatings serve to further increase the durability of the part or tool in question.

Carbide composite tools are used in many industries from the automotive industry to nuclear power production. At TEC, we recognize the power of Carbide composites and that’s why we specialize in their production along with our other production specialties. For more information about our precision metal stamping in Minneapolis, MN, contact TEC at (763) 533-1501 today.

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Maintaining High-Quality Production With Close Tolerance Precision Metal Stamping in Minneapolis, MN

May 17th, 2017 · No Comments

In 1962, William J. Thomas founded Thomas Engineering Company (TEC), and since that time TEC has worked to uphold our quality production of micro-miniature, miniature, medium-sized, and ultra-thin metal stamped parts. Because we work with such thin metals to make complex parts with high precision stamping, we strive to continually improve our abilities to use those materials in tandem with close tolerances for high quality output. With that method comes our reputation for taking on even the most difficult stamping projects and producing extremely difficult parts. For quality parts made with ultra-precise metal stamping in Minneapolis, MN, Thomas Engineering Company has the skill and equipment you need.

We specialize in working with thin materials to make parts that fill complex or tiny spaces in the automotive, medical, and electronic industries. With this follows the need to be able to work in close tolerances and maintain the high-quality production our customers deserve.

How do we do it?

  • With our rapid prototyping, CAD/CAM, and real time visual imaging systems, TEC engineers and floor operators are able to keep quality constant from the start of the design process to the end of production.
  • Our reliable BRUDERER high-performance automatic presses allow TEC employees to maintain quality to extremely close tolerances.
  • This equipment also allows us to work with press forces of 22-75 tonnes and at speeds up to 1,500 strokes per minute for rapid stamping operations.
  • BRUDERER presses and our other stamping equipment work in perfect collaboration our offline assembly tools, and our value-added services further improve the quality of the final product.
  • Our engineers are skilled in working with all of the common industry metals and are capable of processing almost every other type of metal or alloy. TEC engineers and floor operators often work daily with steel, copper, aluminum, inconel, brass, bronze, and titanium.
  • With our quality assurance in effect throughout the production, packaging, and delivery process, you can expect the best from TEC for all your ultra-thin, complex, and small parts.

Working in close tolerances is an important ability for the production of precision-based thin stamped parts, but maintaining quality with those close tolerances is also part of the TEC method. For more information about our stamping abilities and our precision metal stamping in Minneapolis, MN, contact Thomas Engineering Company at (763) 533-1501 today.

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The Relevance of PPAP for Automotive Parts Made With Precision Metal Stamping in Minneapolis, MN

May 12th, 2017 · No Comments

One of the largest industries in the U.S. is the automotive industry. This is in part because of the high demand of vehicles for daily transportation, goods transportation, public transit, sports, luxury, and fun. However, the parts production that goes into making up the hundreds of sections of each vehicle also adds a significant aspect to the automotive industry. Thomas Engineering Company fulfills an import role in automotive parts production by supplying crucial pieces from electrical components to fuel system components and more. These high quality parts are made possible with our experience in precision metal stamping in Minneapolis, MN, and the values that using the Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) system offers.

PPAP was largely developed by the AIAG to establish common ground for the expectations of the quality of customer relations, production, and product. At TEC, following the PPAP plays an important role in how we approach the following aspects of our supply services to the automotive industry.

Client: When we begin working with a customer in the automotive industry, the first part of the process is for our engineers, customer service department, and other production staff members to fully understand the needs of that customer. This includes everything from part specifications and timelines to quantity and budget. Without prioritizing the client needs before beginning the process of design and production, the industry as a whole would see negative results, whereas today there are positive, quality results when working with TEC.

Production: The next step in the process of supplying quality precision stamped automotive parts is to focus on how the standards of the PPAP guides our design and production. With our abilities in CAD/CAM part projections and rapid prototyping, the design process sets the foundation for precision metal stamping excellence. Our state-of-the-art stamping and tooling equipment also plays a large role in contributing to TEC’s PPAP-approved automotive parts production.

Control: Our production process is strong when it stands alone, but what really pushes our precision stamping excellence to the highest possible caliber is our quality management control. Following the guidelines of the PPAP has given TEC production the basis for excellence as a standard. That basis, along with our additional services such as Quality Assurance and Just In Time Delivery, works to continually improve our abilities in customer relations and the metal stamping process.

The PPAP offers guidelines for every step of our work in providing parts to the automotive industry, but it also creates the blueprints for establishing a continued dedication to improvement and excellence. For more information about PPAP and our precision metal stamping in Minneapolis, MN, contact Thomas Engineering Company at (763) 533-1501 today.

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Classifying High Quality Electronic Components Made With Precision Metal Stamping in Minneapolis, MN

April 27th, 2017 · No Comments

Since 1962, Thomas Engineering Company has strived to take on challenges in metal stamping and successfully navigate and accomplish the manufacturing of parts ranging from incredibly complex to simple, yet tiny. Because we continually push the limits of our abilities in metal stamping, we have maintained our status as an industry leader, supplying high quality precision stamped parts to the automotive, medical, and electronics markets and more. When it comes to your needs in precision metal stamping in Minneapolis, MN, look no further than Thomas Engineering Company.

One of our specialties in precision metal stamping is the design and manufacturing of high-quality electronic components. Not only do these components play an important role in the production of electronic connectors, they also serve their purpose in virtually every other industry today. From automotive to telecommunications industries, the use of electronic components is widespread and crucial, making the production of our high-quality precision stamped components key.

Because electronic components are used in so many versatile situations, we work to manufacture precision stamped components in each of the three main classification categories.

Passive: Passive electronic components are one of the most commonly used parts across industries. These parts don’t transfer energy like their active counterparts and can only use sources of power or circuits to which they are directly connected. While passive electronic components can increase voltage and current of a transmitted energy, they can’t change the amplification. Transformers, resistors, capacitors, and inductors make up the majority of all types of passive electronic components.

Active: Another common classification of electronic components is the active component, which works to transmit electrical power into a circuit. These types of electronic components use a separate energy source and transfer that energy into a circuit. Transistors, certain types of valves, and most diodes are active electronic components that feed energy into connected circuits.

Electromechanical: An important, yet less utilized type of electronic components manufactured with our precision metal stamping services is the electromechanical component. These forms of electronic components use electrical connections and mobile parts to transmit and alter power. The electrical signal moving through an electromechanical part creates the movement in an electronic component and allows the part to alter that signal accordingly.

While electronic components play a significant part in our manufacturing and design processes, we also offer much more when it comes to comprehensive precision metal stamping in Minneapolis, MN. For more information about our services, contact Thomas Engineering Company at (763) 533-1501 today.

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