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Aluminum: Specific Application Challenges - As applications for aluminum continue to grow in the stamping industry, so do the needs for solutions to its challenges. When an unexposed cross-section of aluminum is exposed to air after stamping, a thin layer of aluminum oxide forms that is abrasive against the tool steel of the punch. This is why features like tool steel grade, surface finish, and coatings need to be addressed in order to attain desired tool life.