All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. That is a good analogy when looking at the difference between metal stamping and metal pressing. Technically, stamping is a type of pressing, while pressing can better be described as a forming process.

With pressing, a machine uses high pressure to manipulate metals. Some of these presses can use pressure up to 1,000 tons and are capable of bending 1-inch thick steel.

Stamping is slightly different. It is still a process that forms metal, but stamping presses do more than just bend and form metal. They can be used to stamp a certain shape in the metal or even punch different sized holes. Stamping can also involve a continuous feed machine that allows it to work quicker than a typical press brake machine.

A Closer Look at Stamping

The most common method of stamping that IMH Products uses is continuous feed coil stamping. During this process a metal substrate is fed through a metal stamping die with multiple stations. Each station performs a different forming action. That makes each part go through progressive stages throughout the process.

Progressive stamping can also involve cutting shapes from a continuous feed of metal or punching various sized holes in them. This type of stamping allows for the fast and cost-effective production of more accurate goods. It also allows for the fast and cost-effective production of more accurate goods. A recent article from The Fabricator outlines how this can speed up the process:

To allow coil-fed operation, the press manufacturer provided details of the destack cart track design to the coil system supplier. A mating track allows the feed to be shuttled out of position in the opposite direction of destack cart travel. In addition to the conventional interface requirements, such as press cycle signals (feed initiate and feed complete), electrical interlocks shut down the press and coil processing system anytime an operator opens an access door.

Because the feed system can traverse, its human-machine interface (HMI) is located near the press control pendant. This convenient location saves the operator countless steps.

The Fabricator

A Closer Look at Pressing

Pressing is a slower, more deliberate process. It often involves larger machines with a more direct human-machine interface where the operator must help place the part manually before the press comes down. While forming presses perform very specific functions, ‘forming press’ is actually an umbrella term that encompasses many machines that are involved in numerous types of metal pressing.

One example of this is hemming. This is where the edges of metal are bent by a forming press to make them stronger and create specific angles. An example of this can be seen in the following video:

There are plenty more pressing functions that are achieved by machines that can be accurately described as forming presses. While stamping presses are similar, they can be categorized in their own special wing. They work by placing sheet metal between forming dies before pressure is applied to “stamp” a certain shape in the metal. That is what makes these processes good for continuous feed machines.

At IMH Products, we employ dozens of press brakes that can handle virtually any pressing or stamping task. We also have multiple coil feeder options and an on site tool and die shop to create custom stamping dies. To learn more about how we can assist you with your stamping or pressing project, contact us at