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SEYI’s “Profit Line” at the 2010 FABTECH show in Atlanta Georgia impressed hundreds of attendees, students and onlookers by showing off creative die design and full-featured press technology integration, all helping to stroke the mind of the metal stamper who is looking to improve profitability and productivity.
“How it’s Made” — A vibration mount for automotive applications
With the die and production expertise of it customer, Great Lakes Metal Stamping, SEYI America demonstrated the integrated production of a complex automotive bracket, designed to reduce vibration through the use of ball bearings. The trick, and attraction, was the engineering behind inserting the balls into the bracket in as few steps as possible.
To accomplish this, Great Lakes decided to insert the balls while the bracket was being stamped, so they designed a 16 stage progressive die where at about half way through the proggression, the balls would be placed and pressed into 4 pre-tapped holes. But how did the balls get to the die?
The balls are loaded from a hopper stationed at the back of the press. From the hopper, the balls travel through flexible tubing to an in-die ball feeder. At the top of each press stroke, four balls at a time are feed into a retractable in-die “tray”. An instant before the hit, the tray extends out and sets the balls into place, ready to be pressed into the bracket using 121 tons of controlled force.
Such a precise process requires detailed attention and monitoring of several steps. Taking a closer look inside the die and around the progression you’ll discover several sensors. To make sure that the balls are actually loaded and inserted, four pin sensors are mounted to the top of the die directly above the ball bearing insertion points. When the press descends on the progression, the sensors compress on the ball bearings. If a ball is missing, the sensor will know, and tell the controller to stop the press.
But that’s not all. Because everything about this process requires perfect timing, the position of the metal progression as it is being fed through the die must be monitored. To do this, a whisker sensor makes contact with the end of the progression. If the sensor loses contact, the sensor will tell the controller to stop the press. For one added measure of security, an optical sensor is installed at the end of the feed to make sure that the final part is successfully cut from the progression and on its way to the collection bin.
These sensors not only make sure that each part comes out perfect, they insure much needed die protection. If a ball doesn’t drop, if the metal progression comes up short, or if the part never makes it to the collection bin, it could mean hundreds or even thousands of dollars of repair to a very expensive stamping die, not to mention the loss of production time.
Great Lakes took one additional step to eliminate steps by integrating automatic scrap removal. With the help of Wardcraft Conveyors out of Spring Arbor, Michigan, every time the press hits the die the resulting scrap falls onto the conveyors and a scrap hopper for easy disposal.
Thanks in part to Great Lakes Metal Stamping, FABTECH attendees witnessed a self feeding, self monitoring and self cleaning precision stamping system, and took away new ideas to save more money, pump out more parts and free up man hours to take on new jobs and hopefully buy more SEYI presses.