History of the Progressive Die

The development of modern metalworking and die casting is relatively modern when compared to the human development of tools. Before the rise of metalworkers the majority of the tools made by humans were made of bone, wood, and rock. Once humans discovered the connection between fire and rock, metals became an important part of life.

From there, the field of metallurgy experimented with dies and eventually a two die system for coins was created. The first record of guides to “ensure punch-die alignment” in a machine is in the 15th century, a German hinge maker used it in his process. It wasn’t until 1796 when a French inventor issued an official patent for “Dies for Punching and Drawing Sheet Metal,” and the progressive die was born.

The first half of the 20th century saw companies beginning to produce their own single press die systems, mostly to create electric-motor components. Demand for production rose from the industrial revolution and later World War II. Speed became a primary goal but worker safety also became an important issue, producing challenges for the development of the die business.

Ed Stouten started a die design business in 1953 called Capitol Engineering Company in Grand Rapid, MI and focused on the safety and production challenges facing die casting. It was Stouten who came up with the alien concept of “leaving scrap material between parts to carry them in a strip through a single multi-station die,” soon he found a shop owner who successfully tested the system and word spread quickly about this new development in metalwork.

The rest is history, but it is important to keep in mind the importance of innovation and new techniques in die casting. Have you heard of any new developments in the industry, tell us by commenting below! Visit our website to see how our trusted capabilities work!