Mechanical Presses

Press partners

By Lynn Stanley

March 2011- Making good parts with reliable mechanical press technology is critical if a company expects to thrive. The parts and the machine itself are important, but scrap is an element companies may not consider that can drain a bottom line and hinder production efficiency.

Inefficient removal of scrap increases a company’s costs per part. A.B.M. Tool & Die Co. Ltd., Brampton, Ontario, and Metalsa Structural Products Inc., Apodaca, Mexico, each found a unique solution that removes scrap and moves parts while reducing operating costs and improving production rates.

Metalsa, supported by the Proeza Group, Monterrey, Mexico, is a global manufacturer of parts for light vehicle and commercial vehicle structures. In addition to a range of manufacturing capabilities, the company provides comprehensive after-sales service, logistical support, design, prototyping, fatigue testing and analysis, and research and development.

The company’s Hopkinsville, Ky., facility uses a Clearing 3,000-ton mechanical straightside press with a 300-in. by 72-in. bed size and a robotic transfer to fabricate long frame rails for 1-ton vans. The press produces ten to 12 different lengths 150 in. by 15 in. up to 240 in. by 15 in. from 1/4-in.-thick mild and hot-rolled steel.

"We were producing 30 to 40 lbs. of scrap per hit," says Barry West, project engineer for Metalsa Structural Products. "We initially used a regular belt conveyor then built our own version using air-cylinder-driven shaker trays. We had to perform maintenance with every part run and sometimes during a run. We would also have to stop production to wait for scrap to empty from the trays."

Improved production
West was performing a benchmarking analysis at another Metalsa facility when he saw a press-mounted shuffle-drive conveyor system. A tool maker by trade, Paul Tamlin developed the system in 1999. Mayfran International Inc., Cleveland, acquired the patented shuffle conveyor product line in 2008. Tamlin now works with Mayfran as product manager for the company’s shuffle conveyor systems division. Mayfran is a global provider of engineered products for scrap and coolant management and material handling in metalworking, recycling, solid waste processing and other applications.

"My goals for developing the system were to reduce customers’ operating costs and improve press production," says Tamlin. "I knew with the systems that were available on the market customers were either experiencing high maintenance or a lot of downtime. If you have downtime, you aren’t making parts. And if you aren’t making parts, you aren’t making money."

"Paul worked with us to create a custom shuffle-drive system for our straightside press based on our needs and feedback from the other plant," says West. Unlike belt or air-operated conveyors, the shuffle-drive system combines the simplicity of trays with an electrically driven, heavy-duty gear box. The motor, shuffle drive and gear box are patented and form the core around which Mayfran tailors its conveying systems to meet a customer’s individual needs.

Metalsa installed the Model 10 3 horsepower system in 2006, and the process took less than half a day. "We can run the press at different speeds, and the scrap never piles up," West says. "Our production rates have gone up, and the noise level has been greatly reduced. Since the trays stay with the dies and are easily attached to the shuffle drive once a die is moved into position, die changes are faster. Maintenance has been eliminated. The shuffle-drive conveyor system also permits scrap to be removed while other operations such as part transfer are taking place for an automated production cell."

Moving parts efficiently
Terry Blagonic, owner of A.B.M. Tool & Die, took Mayfran’s shuffle-drive conveyor system a step further, using it to remove scrap and move parts. A.B.M. Tool & Die stamps products for the automotive and non-automotive industries in a 100,000-sq.-ft. facility. From single components to full sub-assemblies, the company provides design, engineering, metal stamping in-die process innovation, robotic MIG welding and quality services. A.B.M. Tool & Die also has a 20,000-sq.-ft. tool, die and automation facility where the company builds everything from complex progressive dies to fully automated transfer dies.

When it came to choosing a conveyor system, Blagonic says, "I looked at a lot of different systems that could remove waste material and move parts. Most were built with too many consumable components. I felt this would lead to downtime and high maintenance. Mayfran’s shuffle-drive conveyor system proved to be very robust, simple to attach to the presses and easy to use. I have close to 20 Model 10 2-horsepower systems in my facility today. The shuffle-drive conveyor systems have been operating for nearly 15 years, and I have never had to do anything to them."

For dies producing more than one part, the shuffle-drive conveyor system is able to separate the parts automatically using a divided tray. The system has the flexibility to shuffle out scrap on one side of the press and parts on the other side. "We were also able to tailor the system for A.B.M’s 600-ton press to remove parts and scrap from the die," says Tamlin. "One part is actually stamped from what was scrap in the coil, inspected, put in a bowl feeder and assembled into a finished component before it comes off the end of the die."

High-volume production
Of A.B.M.’s 16 stamping presses, six are Brown Boggs mechanical straightsides. Sizes include two 200-ton presses, one 400-ton press and three 600-ton presses. The straightsides help support high-volume production of 20,000 parts, three shifts a day, five days a week. Fitted with uncoilers, straighteners and servo feeders, the presses primarily produce automotive parts such as seatbelt, seating, engine, chassis and body structure components. A.B.M Tool & Die uses aluminum, hot-rolled, cold-rolled and stainless steel as well as high-strength steels up to 080XF in material thicknesses ranging from 0.015 in. to 0.3125 in.

"We serve both Japanese and North American OEMs," says Blagonic. "We have a strong management system, logistics, materials and production tooling support in place to facilitate such high-volume demand. Our presses have to be reliable."

Blagonic began buying Brown Boggs presses in 1994, attracted by the equipment’s cost-effective price point and durability. "The presses are Canadian-made and service is local, an important factor for me," says Blagonic. The oldest press builder in North America, Brown Boggs, Toronto, specializes in large-bed four-point eccentric geared presses designed to address transfer technology. The company also has developed link-drive presses for increased production and reduced tooling maintenance costs.

"We’ve retained longevity by putting customers first," says Leo Martin, executive vice president and director of global sales and marketing for Brown Boggs. "We design on a custom basis and build our presses to withstand the rigors of fabrication. Due to the excessive shock loading present with blanking and progressive die operations, all press weldments are extra-heavy duty, electrical components on the press are shock mounted where practical, critical fasteners are oversize and wired, and press clearances are kept to a minimum for running fit." Brown Boggs also maintains a large service department able to rebuild, repair and retrofit a range of presses, including other brands.

For A.B.M. Tool & Die, the combination of presses and shuffle-drive conveyor systems gives the company the ability to maximize efficiency and production, factors that are contributing to its plans to expand in the United States and Mexico by the end of this year. FFJ

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  • A.B.M. Tool & Die Co. Ltd.
    Brampton, Ontario
    phone: 905/458-2203
    fax: 905/458-2235

  • Brown Boggs
    phone: 888/977-7726
    fax: 416/736/3622

  • Mayfran International Inc.
    fax: 440/461-5565

  • Metalsa Structural Products Inc.
    Apodaca, Mexico
    phone: 52 (81) 83 69 74 00
    fax: 52 (81) 83 69 74 74


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