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Design edge

By Colin Linneweber

Above: The Logopress3 Die Simulation (die kinematics) command causes a virtual die to operate the same as it would function in a tryout press.

Die design program promotes both speed and accuracy for getting new dies to market

November 2017 - Humans must supply the mind power to develop efficient solutions to knotty manufacturing problems. However, once the brain devises the system, it’s typically most economical to automate the solution and let the programs do their work.

A few years ago, executives at Cabot, Pennsylvania-based Penn United Technologies, Inc. determined the company needed to enhance the existing computer-aided design system.

Penn United has been providing metal manufacturing solutions for clients seeking precision components or precision-assembled products since 1971. In particular, the manufacturer supports the medical, automotive, energy, fluid handling, electronics and telecommunications, oil and gas and defense and aerospace industries.

During a routine conversation, one of Penn’s clients suggested that the company reach out to Accurate Die Design Software Inc., Brookfield, Wisconsin, to discuss the Logopress3 die design software. Upon learning that Logopress3 complements SolidWorks, Penn United’s operations experts asked Accurate Die Design Software’s founder, Ray Proeber, to conduct a presentation of Logopress3’s capabilities. Soon after the demonstration, the company made its first purchase of three licenses.

“SolidWorks-based Logopress3 die design software is created by Logopress Corp. in France,” says Proeber, who has been in the tool and die industry for 40 years and established Accurate Die Design Software in 2001. His company serves as the U.S. technical center for Logopress3 products and is the exclusive North American reseller since 2005.

“Logopress has been developing die design software since 1989, which is longer than any other company in the world that produces 3D die design software. It is also the only company that spends 100 percent of its time developing die design software,” he says.

Accurate Die Design Software offers sales, training and support across the U.S. and in parts of Canada and Mexico, Proeber says. “While we don’t write any code, Logopress considers us a development partner based on our significant input on specifications to the software.”

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The Logopress3 Dynamic Interference Detection command here highlights  an interference caused by not lifting the strip high enough as it advances through the die.

According to Proeber, Logopress3 is especially useful to tool and die companies and metal stampers, as well as original equipment manufacturers that perform their own metal stamping. Such companies benefit from this software because it creates die designs faster, simultaneously allowing each user to develop “much more accurate die designs than they otherwise could.”

Parametric design

A crucial reason Logopress3 helps clients produce die designs faster than other software programs is the way it makes use of parametric design. For example, when a die designer receives a change to make a hole size different in his die that contains 40 identical holes, and the die design is already complete, including 2D drawings, the change is quite easy. He or she only needs to make the change to a single instance of this hole and then to the punch size, along with the die clearance throughout the entire die—and even the part number for the pierce punch on the 2D drawing bill of materials—all update automatically for the other 39 holes.

Proeber says that Logopress3 is different from other die design software solutions because it automates the die design process more than any other method. Eliminating as much human interaction as possible is what reduces time as well as costly human errors.

An apt analogy, he says, is the building of dies today with wire EDM versus the pre-wire EDM days. “This automation makes the software easier to use than software that requires significantly more user input to make changes to the die, for example. And changes are inevitable on die designs,” Proeber explains.

Features

Logopress3 die design software includes an FEA component that allows flattening of complex shaped parts as well as an unbending module that works with so-called dirty parts. “It also includes strip layout, part nesting, tool design and, of course, 2D drawings,” says Proeber.

“One of our most important features though allows the die to be quickly and easily simulated—virtually tried out using the computer—before it ever goes into a tryout punch press,” he continues.

Logopress3 die design simulates the same kinematics that will take place on each component of the die when it is put into the press. Kinematics refers to mechanical motion. “This motion also allows us to dynamically do interference detection as the die is opening and closing and as the strip is lifting and advancing,” Proeber explains.

The software developer, Logopress, estimates “that this ability eliminates over 90 percent of the debugging that would normally take place when the die gets tried out in a press for the first time. Moving this debugging from the tryout press to the computer frees up press time and is faster and much less expensive.”

In addition, “making changes to computer models is faster and easier than making changes in the steel itself. Ultimately this means more profit for everyone and quicker time to market,” Proeber says.

Multipurpose tool

Todd Waldroup, an engineer at Penn United Technologies, says that although the software’s primary function is progressive die design, the company uses Logopress3 for numerous tasks. These include flattening parts for its plating department, blanking layouts and creating strip layouts for quoting purposes. Waldroup added that Penn United taps into the software’s standard component library to design machining fixtures and part nesting, and to locate material usage for machined parts cut out of large sheets of material.

“Our efficiencies have improved as a result of the implementation of Logopress3,” says Waldroup. “It has done this by combining manual operations into a more automated process. One example is the creation of the stock strip layout.”

As a result, “our output has increased while our time spent in engineering decreased. The amount of days that it takes to complete a design and prepare the drawing package for the manufacturing process has been decreased,” he adds.

The average customer receives its dies faster, and the dies are put into presses and perform more accurately. It’s the optimum achievement for what the mind and diligent programming can create together. FFJ

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