Flexibility key to metalforming success.
It's not only the strongest machine shops that survive, it is also those that are flexible and provide quality work. Holliston, MA-based Ty-Wood Corp knows this, and it is reaping the fruits of its labor.
Ty-Wood Corp is both a subcontractor of precision sheet metal components and assemblies as well as a fabricator of fiber optic cabinetry. To meet market demand for higher quality and to maintain flexibility for changing product requirements, the company has expanded its turret punching operations with five machines, and with it a new approach to tooling the machines.
The company started adding machines after purchasing its Amada Octo in 1985. It added an Amada Pega in 1986, a Finn Power TP 2000 in 1992, an Amada Vipros in 1996, and another Amada Pega in 1998. While Ty-Wood has added capacity with the new machines, it has been the company's recent approach to retooling them that's really helped improve tool life, part quality, and productivity.
Doing it better with its turret punching operations is important at Ty-Wood as it strives to meet its customers' ISO 9000 requirements. Finding new ways to improve its turret punching operations has paid off with more customers and larger orders.
"We're punching 12 to 15 tons of sheet metal a week," reports Gary Dellicker, engineering manager for Ty-Wood. "That's 12 times what we were processing three years ago. The complexity and size of parts have grown along with the quality requirements."
Experience leads to changes
Recent advances in tool design led Mr Dellicker to test Mate Precision Tooling's new Ultra system.
"We were interested in the system when we first heard about its long life features," says Mr Dellicker. "With the amount of sheet metal we punch, we recognized the importance of getting as much out of our tooling, not only from an initial investment standpoint, but also to reduce setup times and to reduce machine downtime due to tool maintenance.
"We tooled our Amada Vipros model 358 first with Mate's Ultra and we were surprised with the increase in tool life--as much as 50% to 75%--over the tools we had been using."
Ty-Wood started with Ultra toolholders with 1/2", 1 1/4", and 3 1/2" station punches and dies for basic, round, square, and rectangle punching operations in one machine to see how it performed against the tooling in the other machines. After a year of use, many of the Mate tools did not need sharpening while comparable tools in the other machines had been sharpened several times.
Mr Dellicker estimates that many of the tools have produced more than 3 million hits and are still operating "good as new," an accomplishment he attributes to Mate's tool steel. Mate's 1 1/4 B station punches, for example, are made of 61 Rockwell hardness premium high M-2 speed tool steel in NC controlled furnaces using exclusive processes developed by Mate. This results in punches with superior compressive strength especially suited to retain size and accuracy and withstand high operating temperatures for longer tool life and better piece part quality.
The tool steel in Mate's dies is equally durable. The Ultra 1 1/4 B station dies are made of hardened A2 5% chrome tool steel, 59 Rockwell C optimum material and hardness for maximum edge wear without breakage. This material correctly balances the opposing conditions of hardness and toughness.
Using up tool inventory
Mr Dellicker says that retooling was done gradually as existing tool components wore out. As the new Ultra tooling proved itself and operators became comfortable using it, Ultra tools for special shapes and forming operations were added. The interchangeability features of Mate Ultra tooling makes phasing in easy. All Ultra tool components interchange with those already in the machine, so matching up punches, dies, strippers, and tool canisters is never an issue.
Ty-Wood's range of fiber optic cabinetry and custom parts are fabricated from various materials in many thicknesses. The company punches cold rolled steel, aluminum, brass, copper, and other materials from 11 to 28 gage. In a typical 8 hr shift, as many as eight different punches could be used to punch parts in different materials and thicknesses. Many of the tools, supplied with the press when purchased, required length adjustment to punch the different materials properly.
With the old tooling, to adjust the tool length the operator shut off the machine and inserted and torqued down two Allen bolts within the tooling, then removed the retainer rings and inserted the correct shim. Mr Dellicker estimates to adjust each tool took 30 to 45 sec, and to adjust eight tools seven times during an 8 hr shift took a total of 40 mins. This didn't include additional time required by the operator to check correct punch penetration in the particular material being punched. Even after doing the shimming operation, it was necessary to test the tools to check for correct penetration into the material.
With Mate Ultra tooling, Mr Dellicker says his operators were able to reduce the tool length adjustment time per tool to 5 to 7 sec each because Ultra's push-button design allows fast and easy removal of the punch guide and other components without the use of tools and wrenches. Reassembly is equally fast for the same reason. On an 8 hr shift with seven tool changes, each involving eight tools, Ty-Wood was able to reduce its downtime on a single Amada machine by up to 30 min.
The fiber optic cabinetry and similar assemblies manufactured by Ty-Wood require card guides, extrusions, embossings, and other complex features. After Ty-Wood's press operators saw the advantages of Mate's Ultra punching system using standard squares, rounds, and ovals, they began phasing in Mate's new Ultraform tooling with even more benefits over the forming tools they had been using.
To start with, just one adjustable length holder was needed to handle a variety of forming inserts (embossings, card guides, etc). Advantages also include reduced tool cost because fewer tool components are needed. More flexibility is achieved because the forming inserts are interchangeable and the tools do more. Also, the assembly length can be preset, which also saves setup time. The length adjustment is easily made at the machine without having to remove the tool to reset it. Ty-Wood press operators noted that length adjustments of 0.002" (0.05mm) per "click" of the punch head could be made quickly and easily while angle settings were possible of 0, 90, 180, and 270 deg.
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|Title Annotation:||Ty-Wood Corp.|
|Comment:||Flexibility key to metalforming success.(Ty-Wood Corp.)|
|Publication:||Tooling & Production|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Aug 1, 1999|
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