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Mechanical Presses

Stamping at 30 degrees

By Lynn Stanley

Custom engineered inclined press takes on the rigors of the mining industry

January 2013 - Mining is more important to the American way of life than many people realize. The average person in the U.S. uses 38,052 lbs. of minerals a year, according to the Mineral Information Institute, including such things as table salt, the fluorite in toothpaste, the gold in cell phones and the aluminum in CDs.

Today’s technologically advanced and environmentally sensitive mining methods demand robust, high-performance equipment. Milwaukee-based Joy Global Inc. has been fabricating cost-effective equipment for the mining industry for more than a century. Always looking for ways to improve efficiency and quality, the 129-year-old company recently found a press solution from Brown Boggs, Toronto, that could support its unique applications.

ffj-0113-mechanical-image1Joy Global develops high-productivity mining solutions for surface and underground operations. Its original equipment and aftermarket parts and services are widely used to mine coal, copper, iron ore, oil sands, gold and other mineral resources. Joy Global’s products include smart drilling rigs, hauling vehicles, blasthole drills, electric shovels and draglines, as well as crushing and conveying equipment. “Our machines are used in some of the toughest, hard-rock, high-production mining operations in the world,” says Jay Emmer, product engineer for Joy Global. “Our primary goal is to meet customer demands on time and make sure our equipment can match this industry’s rugged environment while helping customers increase production, reduce downtime and lower cost-per-ton.” 

The fabricator is the only company in the industry to build its own motors, from sourcing the raw materials to final assembly. Emmer’s manufacturing facility focuses on building components for the motors used in Joy Global’s electric shovels, blasthole drills and draglines. “Our largest motor can weigh up to 27,000 lbs. and is about the size of a Mini Cooper,” Emmer says. “For our blasthole drills and electric shovels, our 2,000-plus horsepower motor can take up to a month and a half to complete.”

Unique application

When the company began to experience heavy downtime and maintenance issues with its mechanical press, it decided to look for a press that was more reliable with short lead times for spare parts and maintenance. “We needed an inclinable press because our dies use gravity to drop parts,” says Emmer. “We wanted to use our dies with the new press without having to modify them. We found that press manufacturers really weren’t willing to work with us to provide a machine that was inclinable. But without that feature we couldn’t remove our parts in a cost effective, reliable, safe manner.”

Finding the right press for its unique applications proved challenging for the fabricator, until its tooling design engineer pointed Joy Global to Brown Boggs. “Our design engineer has 42 years of experience and was familiar with Brown Boggs, so we reached out to them,” Emmer says. “They worked with us to custom engineer a power inclinable 100-ton mechanical press with an electronic feeding and monitoring system.”

Installed in February 2012, the press can incline up to 30 degrees, features a 48 in. by 31 in. bed and can cycle at 45 strokes to 100 strokes per minute. “We invest a lot of time in analyzing a customer’s requirements,” says Bruno Pires, CEO and COO for Brown Boggs. “We take the time to work with the customer to develop a press solution that will produce optimum results. We don’t provide cookie-cutter solutions. We are a bespoke press builder.” 

ffj-0113-mechanical-image2The company is also more than a century old and combines advanced technology with old world craftsmanship to provide both stock and custom mechanical and hydraulic presses.

Joy Global coil-feeds its new Brown Boggs power inclinable mechanical press with cold-rolled and silicon-coated steel in thicknesses ranging from 0.017 in. to 0.027 in. Parts include blanks, flats and motor laminations for armatures, shunt coils and pole pieces, which are then assembled to produce different motor features.  “This allows us to control the engineering, production and testing of these motors so we know exactly what is going into our machines before they go into the field,” says Emmer. “Part runs can specify as many as 10,000 pieces, some as little as 1,000. Because there’s so much variation in our parts, having a press that is consistent and always available for production is key for us. The Brown Boggs power inclinable mechanical press gives us repeatable results for setup and stamping,” he continues. “We don’t have to worry about our parts being bent or warped because the machine is so rigid.”

Robust frame

Unlike conventional mechanical presses, the footprint of the power inclinable press has six feet instead of four. Because of an increasingly competitive marketplace and rising material costs, most press builders tend to engineer the structure of a press to a specified limit. “We still use the principles we started with 100 years ago,” says Pires. “We understand that when presses stamp, metals move and the press needs to be built with enough girth to withstand material springback and maintain parallelism. We work to implement advanced engineering methods while maintaining structural integrity.”

Joy Global’s tooling department also finds it easy to design new dies. The configuration of the press allows the fabricator to evaluate current tooling to determine whether or not modifications can be made to further streamline production processes. “We’re able to design new features into our dies that help eliminate downstream processes and increase throughput for faster delivery times,” says Emmer. “And because the press is so robust we’re not afraid to try out new dies. With the old press we always had to be concerned about losing tonnage. With the new press we can push the envelope to whatever we want because the press structure is so rigid.”

Increased press capability helps Joy Global further trim lead times to meet customer requirements faster, adds Emmer, but the fabricator also has noticed improved part quality and reductions in scrap. Mechanically driven and set, the old mechanical press carried a high scrap rate and parts often carried burrs. The power inclinable press allows the operator to gain consistent, easy control of scrap and improve part quality by significantly reducing part burr. “The robustness of the machine gives Joy Global a stable baseline,” says Pires. “We’ve eliminated the possibility of a press problem so their tooling folks can really focus on improving the quality of their dies.”

In addition to a larger girth and additional feet for greater stability, the power-inclinable mechanical press exceeds industry standards for deflection. “A standard deflection rating is 0.0015 in.,” says Pires. “We construct our presses to a deflection rating of 0.0005 in. That’s 300 percent above the industry rating defining deflection and the rigidity of the machine.”

Joy Global runs three shifts up to seven days a week, depending on its workload. Once parts are stamped, they are removed for final finish processing or taken to stacking and welding. 

“Knowing that press is always available is huge,” says Emmer. “That machine anchors two key manufacturing areas in our plant for our motor production. Without that press we couldn’t make our DC motors. Downstream processing for our core stacking and pole piece stacking would come to a halt. Brown Boggs’ press has really filled the reliability gap we were missing.” FFJ

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