Founded in 1959, Manor Tool & Manufacturing started as a small tool and die shop. Since then, we have grown into a first-class metal stamping company that specializes in employing bending, forming, punching, and deep drawn stamping methods for prototype to high-volume production runs. Equipped with 32 presses, our team uses new and existing tooling—e.g., dies—to fulfill customer orders, which of course requires proper die maintenance.
Ensuring that each stamping we deliver meets both the quantity and quality our customers demand, necessitates the use of well-maintained, high-quality dies. The following blog post outlines what to look for in a quality die and how best to maintain it for successful operations.
What to Look for in a Quality Die
When initially choosing a standard die or designing a custom one, there are three key characteristics to look for:
- A well-designed die should facilitate achieving a consistent outcome. This may include having highly specified details and discrete components that cannot be placed incorrectly after repair and maintenance operations.
- Die builds should yield only a small number of variations per die design. Examples of flaws to look out for include too small guidance pins and bushings and missing pressure pads.
- A die design should be easy to translate to die production without having to worry whether the one produced matches previous ones.
Having and maintaining these three qualities in the dies employed for a stamping operation is essential to operational success. In particular, high-quality maintenance programs that use predictive systems and preventative maintenance help resolve potential problems before they significantly affect production.
Die Maintenance Methods
Die maintenance can involve several different operations, such as:
The cutting sections and punch edges of a die wear down over time through normal use, resulting in potential errors in the parts produced. Periodically employing a grinding wheel to sharpen the dies prevents these conditions from impacting manufacturing operations. Furthermore, careful sharpening practices insure the quality of the die steels.
Adding shims to die sections may be necessary to ensure each die station maintains the proper timing. When adding shims, some of the things to keep in mind include:
- Avoiding improper shim placement and the use of multiple shims shims
- Use the correct number of shims
- Ensuring proper clearance for all fastening elements
- Removing debris and burrs from all shims
Cleaning and Inspection
Regular cleaning and inspection of dies provide industry professionals with opportunities to detect and prevent issues that may evolve to full-blown production problems. Some of the things to look for include:
- Loose fasteners
- Missing or broken components
- Worn/degraded parts or parts in need of refinishing
- Insufficient lubrication
- Excessive debris and buildup
- Fits, allowances, and clearances of die components
Die Maintenance Steps for Engineers, Floor Managers, Etc.
When performing general inspection and maintenance, industry professionals—including engineers and floor managers—may check the following components and practices:
- Documentation for quick repairs
- Dies for black grease, slivers, and sludge
- Last strips for burrs, punch shear/brake lines, slivers, and tool marks
- Slugs for proper penetration/tightness and variance
- Die shoe guideposts for galling, tracking, and wear
- Pilots for presence and length
- Punch lengths for height
- Punch floats and pumps for configuration and condition
- Die inserts and forms for height & timing with other related details
- Strip lifters for height & timing with other related details
- Toe straps and clamps for condition
- Die sections for chips and side galling
- Stripper faces for wear
- In-die stock pushers for performance
- Preventative and predictive maintenance procedures; continuous improvement practices
In addition to inspecting these die and equipment parts, there may be other items to check on indicated in the die maintenance card instructions. Once the inspector finishes checking all the parts necessary, they should fill out the die maintenance card with all the work performed and file it away, tag the tool inspected, and order any replacement parts needed.
Partnering with Manor Tool & Manufacturing Company
With 60 years of experience in metal stamping and hard tooling, Manor Tool & Manufacturing Company has the skills and knowledge necessary to produce parts that meet the specifications outlined by customers. By employing regular in-house die maintenance and part inspection, we ensure the highest level of quality and process reliability, plus quick response time. For more information on how to maintain a die or our manufacturing capabilities, contact us today.
The metal stamping industry is gearing up for a bright future. In 2018, the worldwide value of the industry was more than $224 billion. That number is expected to show steady growth as metal stamping becomes more common—and necessary—in a variety of industries. Sheet metal is especially in demand within the automotive industry, particularly for transmission and structural components, as well as urbanization projects in developing countries.
These and other metal stamping trends are driving an expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.2% by 2025.
What are the Metal Stamping Trends to Look For in 2020?
Sheet metal is used in many industries, all of which contribute to the growth of metal stamping in 2020 and beyond. Some of the factors influencing this growth include strong international trade, urbanization, and disposable income. Metal forming within the automotive industry alone is expected to see a CAGR of 2.83% by 2025, reaching a worldwide value of more than $269 billion, and the electronics industry is poised for growing demand for metal stamping, as well.
The pressure is on automakers to design affordable, fuel-efficient vehicles. Consumers want to save on fuel costs—and support sustainability—without going beyond their means to buy a vehicle. Meanwhile, with larger cities and increased urbanization in developing countries, there are more consumers looking for vehicles.
This demand for innovation calls for blanking, embossing, bending, coining, and flanging for components used in passenger cars, as well as both light and heavy commercial vehicles around the world. Sales forecasts for new vehicles are promising, and metal stamping allows manufacturers to uphold safety standards and control costs while continuing to improve automobile efficiency.
2018 predictions for US aerospace production showed a 2.9% growth in 2018, with 3.4% growth in both 2019 and 2020. The expected annual growth for the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, and Japan combined is 3.1% in 2019 and 2020.
Even after a couple of slow years—which actually included a decline in aerospace growth in the U.S.—these predictions were made with consideration to the low cost of fuel, production plans from Boeing and Airbus, the strength of global trade, and trucking fleets that will be required to move products within countries and across borders.
Given the increased interest and development in space travel, there is additional need for durable, lightweight components of all shapes and sizes.
Stamped components are used extensively in manufacturing and the maintenance of a variety of machines. Furthermore, sheet metal isn’t the only material being used in these machine components. Additional materials, like carbon fiber, may be used within the manufacturing industry and across many other industries, contributing to the demand for stamping.
Consumer electronics may become the fastest-growing application for metal stamping due to increases in disposable income. As people find themselves with more money to spend, they turn to the ever-increasing availability of innovative electronics to make their lives more convenient and more enjoyable. Metal is used in this industry for impact resistance, helping to increase the lifespan of the final product.
Custom Metal Stamping Services from Manor Tool & Manufacturing
Manor Tool and Manufacturing is proud to contribute to the strength of America’s manufacturing and industrial sectors as we work with a variety of businesses to create high-quality components in the USA. With decades of experience, our services cover a wide range of metals, and we specialize in medium- and high-volume production runs. We work to develop lasting relationships with our clients—we’re happy to work with you to meet your needs, no matter how large or complicated your project is. We bring our experience, passion, and commitment to every project.
We offer custom tooling and fabricating services, including deburring, drilling, and machining as secondary support services. Contact us to learn more about our custom metal stamping services and how Manor Tool and Manufacturing can help your business.