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Single stage stamping dies (also known as manual dies) are dies which typically perform a single operation on a part per stroke. Parts are either hand-loaded (manual dies) or robotically loaded (transfer dies) onto the dies to perform the operation and subsequently removed using the same method. When multiple single stage dies are placed and run together (whether in the same press machine or in press machines adjacent to each other), these dies become a part of a system called line dies.


While they may seem to be less efficient and/or less productive when compared to their more complex cousin the progressive die, single stage dies have its own competitive advantages. Selection of the right type of die to use for manufacturing a part becomes a key part of the manufacturing process to ensure top quality in production using the most cost-efficient method.

single stage tooling - aerospace component forming tool. Inconel 625 material stamping.



Single stage dies are considerably less complex and as a result less costly than a progressive tool. The lower initial investment required and considerably lower tooling lead time translates directly to faster times to market for a product and quicker returns on investment.


Balanced against a lower productivity, this type of tooling is used in various cases depending on the commercial and market considerations. For example, a new product intended for market testing could be produced using a single-stage tooling to lower capital investment risk and shorten time to market before being converted into a progressive stamping process in the future when demand increases to justify the investment.


Single stage dies are the perfect tools for a high-mix low-volume (HMLV) manufacturing process. A manual tool can comfortably serve products with annual volumes in the order of thousands up to tens of thousands reasonably.


The feasibility of using this method of manufacturing depends on a number of other factors such as cost of labour and time constraints. However, where labour cost is relatively low and lead times are within reasonable limits, using single stage tools can prove to be an incredibly efficient mode of production.


It’s relatively simple build means there is less specialized training required to operate the tooling and is quick and simple to setup per run. Short production runs can remain profitable with the reduced setup and maintenance expertise required.

Multi Single Stage Tooling Process - Line Die. Stamping process goin through muliple stges to form an aerospace component. T-flange. Sector vane. Secondary procsses include welding and roll-foming


In addition, purchase of product material becomes more flexible with this type of tooling where a HMLV production is considered. For progressive dies to achieve their intended efficiencies, material needs to be purchased in coil form slit to the designed width of the die. While buying material in coils achieves efficiencies in both cost and process times, it is sometimes not feasible in HMLV applications. A minimum order for coils of material are in the order of tons depending on the type of material. Using a single stage die setup allows the option to use standard sized sheet metal sheared to size and removes the need to commit to high amounts of material inventory.


Single stage dies allow for complex shapes to be formed out of sheet metal with more ease as compared to progressive dies. A line die design consisting of multiple single stage dies will typically start with a blanking process (cutting out a calculated piece of material) to allow further work to be done on the ‘blank’ or the product material from stock material.


This blanking process frees the product blank from the stock material making it easier to manipulate it’s form and shape in later stages. In comparison, a progressive die requires that the product remains attached to a strip at a number of points to carry the product from process to process along the die as the strip feeder pitches the strip forwards. These points, aptly called carrier points, need to be strong enough to ensure the product stays in position relative to the next station as the strip moves to ensure the progressive stamping process is accurate.


Having carrier points limits the processes which can be carried out on the material as the carrier points cannot be manipulated until the end stage where the product is planned to drop out of the die. Conversely, for single stage dies, a free blank can be worked on in every direction and area, leaving greater freedom of design to achieve significantly more complex shapes in fewer processes.

Aerospace component - sector vane. NVT product end users include Rolls Royce, MTU, GE Aviaton, and more. Comple formig geometry by manual metal stamping process. 3D curvature for metal stamping


With a single stage die, each die performs a specific operation whether as a standalone or as part of multiple single stage processes to achieve a final product. In the case of the latter, using single stage dies creates additional opportunities to reduce maintenance downtime in your production line.


In a progressive die setup, when a particular station (one process in the string of processes built into a progressive die) requires maintenance, the entire die has to stop operation to allow for maintenance on it. Whereas in a single stage die which is part of a line die setup (multiple single stage dies producing a final part), production planning can enable one die out of the group to go into maintenance without stopping all the rest of the processes. This means a production line can plan for a maintenance event by increasing inventory of a particular process to allow that single stage die to go into maintenance while the other processes continue to run without disruption.

line dies - multiple single stage toolin


NVT has more than 17 years of experience designing and manufacturing cost effective and robust single stage dies. Over the last 10 years we have designed, manufactured, and run line dies for our customers in the aerospace industries.


Our knowledge allows us not only to design tooling but to holistically design a manufacturing process for parts required by our customers. Our satisfied customers have come to us time and again with a problem to which we have always successfully responded with a solution. Among them we count most if not all major aircraft engine manufacturers as well as reputed aircraft MRO service providers.


NVT’s specialized knowledge also allows us to have successfully modified and run numerous tools which have been previously abandoned as being out of specification. Our design and debugging process coupled with our in-house manufacturing capabilities quickly turned around those tooling and put them back in production.

CONTACT US TODAY by clicking on the link below for a free consultation on how we can make your engineering problems our engineered solutions!

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