Metal Fabrication vs Metal Stamping for Sheet Metal Components


When needing to produce a component out of sheet metal there are many options, but the two most commonly used manufacturing processes are metal stamping and CNC metal fabrication. Sometimes the decision between the two options is a clear-cut choice, other times it may be more difficult with arguments being made in favor of one manufacturing processes over the other. Below we will take a look at what is entailed in both metal fabrication and metal stamping processes. Additionally, we will provide some helpful advice for determining which manufacturing process is best suited for your needs.

Metal Stamping

Metal stamping is most often used to transform flat sheet metal into the required 2D or 3D shapes. Metal stamping is typically done using mechanical or hydraulic presses of increasing tonnage, and one or more metal stamping dies are used to form many or all features of a sheet metal part. Some of the techniques used to achieve the desired results are blanking, punching, coining, bending, embossing, drawing, deep drawing, and more.

Metal Fabrication

CNC (Computer Numerically Control) fabrication is a manufacturing process whereby computer software is pre-programmed to control the necessary machines movements and tools that are needed to create the desired end product. This process encompasses machinery including punch presses (often called a “Strippit”), CNC Punch Press, CNC Lasers, or CNC Punch/Laser Combination machines, followed by bending if/as required using CNC Press Brakes. Learn more about the capabilities of CNC machines.

Which Manufacturing Process Is Right for You?

Depending on the task at hand, it can be difficult to decide which manufacturing process would best suit your needs and deliver the results you expect. Below you will find a general overview of when CNC fabrication vs metal stamping are recommended for your sheet metal manufacturing needs, including their potential limitations.

Metal Fabrication

Best suited for:

  • Lower-mid range quantities
  • Short product lifecycle
  • Quicker to get the new part to market (days or a few weeks)*
  • Easier to adapt or change the design*

*Due to little to no tooling


  • Higher labour content so higher unit price
  • Slower production speed

Metal Stamping

Best suited for:

  • Items with mid-high production quantities
  • Obtaining the lowest possible unit part cost
  • Long product lifecycle
  • Better & more consistent quality and lower scrap rate


  • Tooling can be costly
  • Leadtime to design and produce dies means longer to get the new part to market (months)

Hybrid Manufacturing

Luckily, there is the potential to get the best of both worlds, and this is a term we have coined as Hybrid Manufacturing. This manufacturing process marries the benefits of both metal stamping and CNC fabrication, allowing them to support one another and improve overall production. With hybrid manufacturing, a component can be either fully or partially metal stamped for economies of scale, and then customized to pinpoint accuracy on CNC fabrication equipment. With this option, you are able to get a combination of the benefits from both manufacturing processes while reducing the limitations experienced by only using one. Learn more about the incredible benefits of hybrid manufacturing today.

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Impacts Canadian Metal Stamping and CNC Fabricators

United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Impacts Canadian Metal Stamping And CNC Fabricators

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which went into effect in 2020 replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA had largely eliminated tariffs on trade between the three North American countries, and the USMCA not only preserves free trade but also updates the rules to accommodate changes in the world since NAFTA went into effect in 1994. 

Canada exports $319.4 billion worth of goods to the US each year and imports $293 billion worth of goods. That’s more than the next 11 trade partners combined, so it was essential to allow the trifecta of countries, including metal stamping and CNC fabricators to compete in the North American market. In total, two million manufacturing jobs alone depend on North American trade.

The Impact US Tariffs Have On Steel And Aluminum Imports

It is important to note that the tariffs that the US imposed on steel and aluminum imports from sources outside the USMCA countries in 2018 (as part of Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act) is evolving.

As of Jan. 2022, the EU is exempt from these tariffs and the US and Japan are in discussions about removing the tariffs. As such, it is important to monitor these tariffs and potential knock-on effects for USMCA manufacturers.

Metal components are required for a wide range of industries including Lighting, HVAC, Automotive, Consumer Electronics and Aerospace. Therefore, USMCA allows for Canadian sheet metal fabricators and metal stampers to source the raw materials in North America, manufacture a product and then ship the finished product to the U.S. or Mexico without tariffs.

The Importance Of Safety In The Metal Fabrication Industry In 2022

The Importance Of Safety In The Metal Fabrication Industry In 2022

Metal fabrication and metal stamping processes typically shear, punch, form, cut and shape thin sheet metal; leaving sharp edges on the workpieces as well as the scrap emanating from them.

Metal fabricators and metal stampers should take all necessary precautions to protect their staff and meet or even surpass all government-imposed safety regulations, but sadly, not all do.

These safety regulations include:

  • Requiring personal safety protection: glasses, safety footwear, hearing protection & not allowing loose clothing or jewelry.
  • Safety Light curtains that if interrupted, instantly stop any automated machinery
  • Physical barriers on automated machinery that are not equipped with safety light curtains
  • Two-hand controls for all non-automated machines
  • A Total Preventive Maintenance Program that identifies any irregularities and corrects them ahead of any breakdown or accident.
  • Magnetic grippers or suction cup lifters for handling large or heavy sheets/parts.
  • Maximum personal weight limits that should never be exceeded
  • Proper ventilation and personal protection for welding, deburring, & finishing operations (e.g. painting)
  • Proper and well-maintained material handling equipment, lift trucks, forklifts, cranes, carts, docks, etc.
  • Proper storage and disposal of all chemicals
  • MSDS training with up-to-date product information.
  • A material handling training & certification process (e.g. lift truck & crane operators)
  • A safety committee, with a representative from each department & management, that also meet regularly to address any safety issues.

  At Tripar, We Aim To Be A Gold Standard For Safety In Metal Fabrication!

As a metal fabricator and metal stamper, we take the utmost pride and care in prescribing to all of these and beyond. Proof of this is perhaps best demonstrated by Tripar being a finalist in a Quebec ‘CNESST’ (the Quebec equivalent of OHSHA) competition twice and receiving a safety award:

  • In 2016, for developing a concept whereby an operator could hitch a heavy metal components storage container to one of our electric pallet trucks to safely relocate it where required; see

  • There was also another instance where we developed a motorized box lifter, that allowed an operator to slide a loaded box from the machine they were working on, onto a small platform, and wheel it to an awaiting pallet. The platform was then lowered or raised to the required (and increasing) height as boxes were successively placed, so each box could be slid and placed on the nearby pallet, without ever being lifted.

It is all these practices that keep our team safe at Tripar. In fact, we just went over 400 days without a single accident; a testament to anyone who knows the inherent risks in a manufacturing plant like ours!

The Benefits Of Having A In-House Toolroom

The Benefits Of Having A In-House Toolroom

While submitting an RFQ, customers and prospects often ask if the die is made in Canada. Currently, Tripar owns 1,600 dies. The overwhelming majority are “open tooled” dies (available for all customers’ use) which were all designed and fabricated at our facility.

Thanks to our in-house toolroom, we can also assist during modifications and maintenance to accurately and efficiently meet all needs and requirements. We’re very proud to offer this service in North America. Our toolroom team is highly skilled and designs the dies respecting the limitations of our capabilities along with the specification of the customized item. If this cannot be achieved, we propose our own design to match & offer the best solution.

What Is The Stamping Process?

The die is a fundamental element of the metal stamping process. Metal stamping involves placing a high-quality piece of sheet metal, in either coil or blank form, into a metal stamping press. While in the press, a tool and die surface form the metal into the required shape. Some of the more common stamping techniques include:

  • punching
  • blanking
  • bending
  • forming
  • drawing & deep drawing
  • coining
  • embossing
  • flanging

All of the above are used to shape the metal based on the design, for which die design and build is carried out using CAD/CAM engineering technology.  

Advantages Of Metal Stamping

Metal stamping is a low-cost high-speed manufacturing process that is able to produce a high volume of identical metal components and is suitable for medium to long production runs. The benefits of stamping include:

  • Cost efficiency
  • Lower secondary costs (e.g., cleaning and plating),
  • Faster production rates as compared to CNC fabrication processes
  • Greater precision & accuracy
  • Reduced labour time

Disadvantages Of Metal Stamping

The disadvantages of stamping include:

  • Longer lead time to design & build the die, thus,
  • Longer lead time for the first production run
  • Die maintenance may be required during the various production runs

Customer Owned Dies

It is important to know that for customer-owned dies (that which a customer initially paid for), Tripar maintains the die for life, or for as long as that customer keeps ordering parts that use it. Such maintenance is normally sharpening, or repairing a broken punch should that occur, but also applies to any catastrophic failure. In fact, the only time a customer will know of die maintenance or repair is if it is of such a nature that may delay a shipment. We will of course work with that customer to alleviate as much inconvenience as possible.

Tripar’s Internal Process And In-House Toolroom

Tripar has an internal process to quickly react to any production issue. Indeed, having an in-house toolroom allows us to always be on top of any problems that may occur, supporting production efficiently & quickly.

If a die goes down, whether the repair requires sharpening, machining of a new die component, heat treating, or wire EDM cutting (an ultra-precise CNC machine process that can cut hardened die components), we are in full control as to what priorities these take, without having to rely on subcontractors, their schedules, and lead times.

We invite you to read our TriparTech if you’d like to discover more about the following subjects:

Machine operator

Position Summary:

Reporting to the Production Supervisor, the main task of the employee in this position is to supervise metal processing operations on different production machines.

Main tasks

  • Reads, interprets and understands work orders;
  • Operate machines with manual or automated function
  • Position the workpiece on the machine table against stops and guides;
  • Monitors and controls the progress of operations;
  • Check the result according to quality standards; detects irregularities;
  • Packing, boxing and pallet placement operations;
  • Any other related duties;

Skills required

  • Ability to read and count
  • Use of a barcode scanner
  • Recording of quantities produced on work orders
  • Knowledge of units of measurement
  • Good physical condition


  • Autonomy and versatility
  • Initiative
  • Adapting to change
  • Communication and teamwork
  • Sense of responsibility
  • Attendance and punctuality

Knockouts 101

This TriparTech provides an overview of knockout requirements in luminaires, which are governed by UL1598, Standard for Safety for Luminaires.

Continue reading

Press Break operator

Job Summary

Reporting to the Production Supervisor, the person in charge of this position is responsible for setting various press brakes and also participates in production operations.

Main Tasks

  • Read, interpret and understand work orders;
  • Make assemblies and adjustments to the press brakes according to the item to be produced;
  • Programming and recording of folding sequences;
  • Execute the planned programs;
  • Make the necessary parts;
  • Check the quality of the parts produced;
  • Complete the required documentation;
  • Pack finished products if necessary;
  • Perform basic maintenance of press brakes and verification of safety mechanisms;
  • Perform handling work when required;
  • If necessary, make assemblies and die adjustments on stamping presses;
  • Any other related tasks;

Required Competencies

  • Professional diploma in precision sheet metal or any other combination of training and relevant experience
  • 2 to 5 years experience in sheet metal processing;
  • Mastery of the reading of plan
  • Mastery of measurement and verification tools
  •  Good knowledge of the setting and operation of the machinery

Required Skills

  • Autonomy and versatility
  • Initiative
  • Adaptable to changes
  • Ease to plan and organize
  • Ability in communication and teamwork
  • Able to train and transfer knowledge
  • Sense of responsibility
  • Meticulous

CNC Laser/Punch Programmer

Main Tasks

  • Create programs for Trumpf Trumatic 1000 CNC Laser/Punch Combination machine using Trutops software
  • Create programs for Amada laser using Metallix software
  • Analyze job orders/technical drawings (CAD models)
  • Carry out the setup and selection of the tools according to the specifications of technical drawings & programs
  • Perform calculations to determine how materials should be cut
  • Define the best sequence for fabricating items
  • Run simulation tests, conduct quality testing and correct/improve program code to increase efficiency, quality and safety
  • Work closely with production team regarding the production of these items
  • Optimize the layout and use of metal sheets in the most efficient manner
  • Improve the effectiveness of existing programs to maximize performance
  • Correct programming errors reported by CNC laser/punch operators
  • Research, record, resolve and identify opportunities for improvement and obstacles, and communicate information as needed

Technical & General Skills

  • Extensive knowledge of TRUMPF Truptops (and Trutops Boost) programmingsoftware
  • CAD solid modelling skills, preferably Solidworks
  • Professional diploma program in precision sheet metal or relevant experience
  • Minimum of 2-3 years of relevant experience
  • Ability to solve technical problems
  • Strong mathematical skills and reading technical drawings
  • Good communication skills and interpersonal skills
  • Strong knowledge of measurement tools
  • Knowledge of different types sheet metal
  • Quality oriented in all aspects of work
  • Ability to work well in teams
  • Positive attitude
  • Attention to detail
  • Knowledge of Metallix software (for programming Amada laser)
  • Operator knowledge of Trumpf Trupunch or Trumatic machines

Engineering Manager


Tripar brings the magic of metal to light. Want to help make us the go to company for metal stamping & fabrication in multiple markets? This is your chance to bring and apply your engineering expertise to a proven leader in the field, advancing all things technical at Tripar; a leader in metal stampings and metal fabrication for over 70 years located in Montreal!

We are seeking a passionate & self-driven Engineering Manager to oversee the company’s technical & estimating teams, in order to support Production, Toolroom, Purchasing & Sales.

The successful Manager should work with and inspire their team to reach their and the company’s goals using their excellent communication & technical skills, be accountable, trustworthy, and always be expanding and applying their industry knowledge.

Main Tasks

Reporting to the President, main tasks include;

  • Identifying, analyzing, evaluating, proposing & implementing equipment & process changes to improve manufacturing operations.
  • Overseeing the Estimating team; responsible for responding to all Requests for Quote (RFQs), identifying risks, options & solutions, to quote in a fast and efficient manner.
  • Manufacturing engineering support of won RFQs as new items enter production; overseeing the creation of BOMs, drawings, routings, programs, quality requirements, and any supporting tools, documentation and training needed.
  • Overseeing R&D; both process & product development
  • Determining project requirements, developing & monitoring team schedules.
  • Liaising with team members, Sales, Management (and sometimes with clients) to address any issues and to ensure projects are completed to standard.
  • Keeping up to date with industry (Metal Stamping and Metal Fabrication) trends and developments.

Technical Skills

  • Deep knowledge of Metal Stamping and/or Metal Fabrication
  • Mechanical or Manufacturing Engineer or of a similar background
  • Experience in a similar management role
  • Experience in Solidworks (or other Solids Modeler).
  • Excellent technical, DFM, diagnostic, and troubleshooting skills.
  • Bilingual – Master English verbal & written

Additional technical assets:

  • PDM experience
  • CNC Punch/Laser experience (programming; Trutops for Trumpf & Metalix for Amada)
  • R&D or Product Development experience
  • Die design experience

General Abilities

  • Strong leadership and organizational abilities.
  • Excellent communication, motivational, interpersonal & problem-solving skills.
  • Motivating staff and creating an environment where team members can ask questions, express their opinions and concerns, and be encouraged to offer solutions.
  • Promotes continuous improvement
  • Capable of reacting quickly and efficiently
  • Adapts well to changes
  • Positive and proactive attitude
  • Focused initiative and responsibility
  • Attention to details
  • Team player
  • Being transparent with the team about challenges, failures, and successes.