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What is Deep Drawing?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 17, 2024
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Deep drawing is the manufacturing process of forming sheet metal stock, called blanks, into geometrical or irregular shapes that are more than half their diameters in depth. It involves stretching the metal blank around a plug and then moving it into a moulding cutter called a die. Common shapes for these products include cylinders for aluminum cans and cups for baking pans. Irregular items, such as enclosure covers for truck oil filters and fire extinguishers, are also commonly manufactured with this method.

The average kitchen sink is a perfect example of deep drawing technology as it is both deep and seamless. Other parts manufactured for industry range from tiny eyelets used as reinforcements to large enclosures that house industrial production equipment.

A drawing press can be used for forming sheet metal into different shapes, and the finished shape depends on the final position that the blanks are pushed down in. The metal used must be malleable as well as resistant to stress and tension damage.

Industries that rely on this technology include aerospace, automobile, dairy, lighting, pharmaceuticals, and plastics. Companies that manufacture these parts require engineer-designed operations, and deep drawing presses are relatively expensive.

Accessories such as molds, tooling plates, and columns are required to manufacture the parts. While a mold is needed for stretching the material over the mold's edge to produce the required shape, a tooling plate or column is needed as a surface for holding workpieces.

Deep drawing differs from metal stamping, since rather than using single piece blanks, metal stamping uses a continuous stream of sheet metal blanks on a strip. Metal spinning, on the other hand, is similar, as both operations produce circular and seamless components. Some technology combines aspects of stamping and spinning in order to provide the most cost-effective manufacturing solution.

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Discussion Comments

By browncoat — On Apr 11, 2013

I didn't ever really think about how this kind of thing was made. I guess I assumed that sinks and cans and things were made through some kind of molding process, rather than being stretched over deep drawing dies.

I guess it's kind of like a much bigger version of embossing, which I do at home and is the only reason I know what a die is. That's what they call the shape for embossing as well.

By MrsPramm — On Apr 10, 2013

That seems like something which would already be fairly well mapped out. I would just find someone who knows about metal forming, or maybe a book on this kind of manufacturing and ask, rather than trying to calculate it yourself.

Unless it's for a school project, in which case they usually give you all the required information to work this kind of thing out. Look at your notes.

By irontoenail — On Apr 09, 2013

@anon90590 - I would find the closest plant that makes deep drawn parts and ask them if they think a particular project is feasible. Even if they can't or won't do it themselves, they'll know someone who has an appropriate deep drawing machine that can handle it, or at least why it wouldn't work.

If you aren't sure how to go about finding such a plant, maybe try searching online, or even asking somewhere that sells sinks or whatever where they get their parts from.

It might turn out that the closest plant is overseas, since I suspect these sorts of things are probably outsourced, but you never know.

By anon119533 — On Oct 18, 2010

how do I calculate the number of stages for deep drawing?

By anon90590 — On Jun 16, 2010

how do I check whether deep drawn parts can be manufactured?

By anon64367 — On Feb 06, 2010

You should check out Norpin Manufacturing for information and products on the deep drawing process and deep drawn enclosures. We have been a satisfied customer for years.

By anon11812 — On Apr 23, 2008

what are the possible defects in the deep drawing process...

By AuthorSheriC — On Mar 22, 2008

Interesting comments for maximizing deep drawing applications, raj007. Thanks for adding your suggestions!

By raj007 — On Jun 20, 2007

Investigate methods for determining optimum blank shapes for deep drawing operations. Sketch the optimally shaped blanks for rectangular cups & optimize their layout on a large sheet of metal.

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