Metal Stamping Materials Guide For Springs, Clips & Contacts

What types of materials can be used in the metal stamping process?

A wide variety of metal or alloy materials can be used to manufacture quality metal stamping products like metal springs and clips. We focus on the properties and effectiveness of the materials to determine which is best for each part and application. Commonly used materials include stainless steel, brass, spring brass, and beryllium copper. 

For the best electrical contact materials, spring materials, or any other metal stamping project, we’re here to guide you with our expertise.

Why is stainless steel a good choice for battery contacts?

Stainless steel is ‘regular’ steel, plus a little chromium and nickel. Up to 30% of stainless steel is actually not steel, giving this particular alloy a strong corrosion resistance. While that is one of the factors for a good battery contact, stainless steel is much more costly than other battery contact materials.

What are the materials that make brass effective?

There is quite a bit of diversity within the family of materials known as brass, an alloy of copper and zinc. Depending on the electrical and mechanical properties desired, you can add tin, lead, aluminum, beryllium, chromium, phosphorus, and many, many more materials.

How is spring brass different from “regular” brass?

Spring brass is distinctive from brass because of its zinc presence – roughly 30% or so. This is a popular choice where cost is a major factor because it is the most inexpensive brass.

Why is beryllium copper well-suited for battery contacts and springs?

BeCu is well-suited for battery contacts and springs due to its material and electrical properties. 

BeCu is 98% copper and 2% beryllium. Beryllium Copper can be heat treated to increase its hardness and can last under high stress and fatigue. It has great durability and high conductivity. Durability is always beneficial when developing products for a variety of uses. 

BeCu also has twice the electrical conductivity of phosphor bronze. With the highest stamping costs, Beryllium Copper is viewed by many as the best for battery springs and contacts.

Battery Contact Plating

Why is plating considered for battery contacts and springs?

Plating is another consideration when it comes to battery contact materials. Plating, also known as finishing, allows you to further affect the material properties of your battery contacts and springs. It can increase conductivity while simultaneously adding corrosion resistance properties. There are a few different plating methods we offer: 

  • Pre-Plated Material: One advantage of pre-plating is that you can selectively plate a substrate material, which reduces overall costs.
  • Reel-to-Reel: Reel-to-reel plating allows for total coverage or selective coverage of substrate material.
  • Barrel: Barrel plating is the most economical way to plate parts. It requires less prep time and many pieces can be plated simultaneously.
  • Dip: Dip plating is another common way to plate substrate materials. Electrical contacts are dipped into the plating material while they’re still on the stamping strip, which uses less plating material. It is a time-consuming process.
  • Rack: Rack plating is great for plating small or delicate parts. It is best used for parts that may become tangled or distorted in another process like barrel plating.

The actual plating material can add important characteristics and features to a copper spring or battery contact. Here are some metal finishes that are available: 

  • Gold: Provides extremely reliable metal-to-metal contact under virtually all environmental conditions.
  • Nickel: Protects against corrosion and wear while adding a glossy, decorative finish.
  • Nickel-plated battery spring cold-rolled steel: Cost-effective contact material that provides a fine contact surface for welding and soldering. In general, nickel plating should be continuous, nonporous, and thick enough to be wear-resistant.
  • Tin: Should be avoided for connectors due to possible galvanic corrosion along with fretting wear and corrosion.

Each metal is different and each offers unique benefits depending on usage and application of the product or part. 

For expertise in metal stamping, from corrosion-resistant contacts and contact springs to clips and flat springs we can recommend the materials for your project.