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.