Mechanical Presses

Keeping house

By Lynn Stanley

Above: In lieu of an above-ground scrap removal system, ATD sourced Mayfran for a custom shuffle-drive conveyor system that keeps the manufacturer’s floor clean and free of clutter.

Scrap removal system gives manufacturer a clean production floor and no down time

February 2015 - When Atlantic Tool and Die Co. (ATD) built a factory in Seville, Ohio, in 2006 to support parts production for Honda Motor Co., developing a reliable processing system was at the top of its punch list. ATD, a third-generation global engineering and manufacturing firm based in Strongsville, Ohio, wanted a system that brooked no down time. To meet both those demands as well as stringent safety standards, the workcell would depend in part on the right scrap removal technology.

“We requested some equipment that industry suppliers had not created before,” Stamping Technology Manager Dale Darin says of the planning that went into the greenfield project. 

Schuler AG—then known as Muller Weingarten—built a 1,200-ton link motion mechanical press with a 220-in. bed to anchor the workcell.

“Up until this installation, our largest press was 600 tons,” Darin says. “ATD has built its business on its ability to produce high-quality metal stampings for a diverse customer base. We wanted the press to be capable of running both progressive and transfer tooling.”

The press was outfitted with a Wintress SmartPAC control as part of an effort to standardize the equipment among all of ATD’s factories—metal stamping and assembly plants from Ohio to Texas to Costa Rica, China and Mexico. Its footprint totals more than 500,000 sq. ft., all supporting automakers and their suppliers as well as the home appliance, construction, commercial power and green energy markets.


The law of gravity

One of ATD’s ongoing goals has been to standardize its controls “so when we send our associates across the world we have assurance they are all using the same equipment,” Darin says. “In addition, we needed a feedline that could handle the high-strength steels demanded by the auto industry. We ordered the first Dallas Industries synchronous drive feedline with a programmable, auto adjust, nine-roll straightener. It also had the unique capability to read coils’ outer diameters and adjust the straightening rolls to maintain flat material.” 

A Wayne Trail transfer system helped ATD complete its manufacturing cell. However, the scrap handling method Darin had in mind required a supplier that could design a conveying system able to stay off the manufacturing floor to save space. Ultimately, the simplicity of Mayfran International’s scrap removal technology became the solution. Based in Cleveland, Mayfran engineers equipment for scrap and coolant management and material handling in metalworking, recycling, solid waste processing and other applications.

“ATD was extremely thorough in its initial specifications,” says Paul Tamlin, product manager for Mayfran’s Shuffle Conveyor Systems Division. “They asked a lot of questions. Gravity is the simplest way to handle material. In this case, letting scrap fall down through the floor was preferable to an above-ground system. That would have required elevating the press, creating safety issues and the need to install railings and protect walkways, for starters.”

Tamlin, who invented the shuffle drive, designed a central system with two shuffle-drive conveyors, a hinged steel belt conveyor and a swivel load-out chute for ATD. The company shears blanks from steel coils inside the press, then moves the blanks through a transfer die with five stations. Parts exit the press on a conveyor to the right of the machine. 

A Mayfran pit-mounted shuffle system conveys scrap from under the tool to the front of the press and drops it through the floor 13 ft. below onto a 60-in.-wide, 22-ft.-long shuffle conveyor. Scrap is then transferred to a second shuffle conveyor, 30 in. wide by 70 ft. long, and moved onto Mayfran’s hinged steel belt conveyor. 

The steel belt conveyor moves the scrap outside the building and elevates it 28 ft. to a swivel load-out chute. Scrap is then dropped into one of two hoppers. When one hopper fills, the chute automatically transfers scrap to the other hopper. Trucks empty the hopper and take it to a recycler to be sold. The empty hopper bins, approximately 23 ft. long, 8 ft. wide and 6 ft. deep, are then replaced.

“Paul was a little leery about the conveyor lengths we were looking at,” recalls Darin, “but he designed and installed them and it worked.” 

The new cell started producing parcel shelf components for Honda’s North American facilities in 2008.  A parcel shelf, usually removable, is installed behind a car’s back seating area and can be used to store small items.


Doing the shuffle

“Honda’s standard practice for plant start-ups, at that time, was to have an emergency team on call to advise us if we got into trouble,” Darin says. “They never had to come down here one time. The reliability of the workcell, supported by a scrap system that wouldn’t stop, met their production demands without a hiccup.” 

That year also saw Honda unveil a new car model at ATD’s Strongsville plant, something Darin says was a first for the carmaker. On the heels of that success, however, came the Great Recession bust. ATD shouldered its way through the downturn to emerge leaner and stronger. And its Mayfran scrap removal system has also kept going.

“Depending on market demand, the shuffle conveyor system may run three shifts,” says Darin. “Right now it’s running around the clock and we have not experienced a breakdown since it was installed in 2006. It’s simple technology with few moving parts but it works. If I was asked today to do it over, I wouldn’t change a thing.” 

ATD continues to produce Honda parcel shelf components in sizes up to 25 in. wide and 42 in. long but production at the plant has grown to include parts ranging in size from 6-in. diameter plates to radiator shroud covers and other parts for different industries.


Pushing limits

Market share has also grown for Mayfran. “Customers like ATD continue to push us beyond our limitations,” Tamlin says. “We’re now able to custom build shuffle drive conveyors that are more than 350 ft. long.”

Mayfran uses ATD’s Seville plant to showcase its shuffle drive conveyor capabilities to other customers. “Visitors are impressed with how clean the work environment is,” says Darin. “Scrap removal doesn’t interrupt production.”

ATD continues to pay close attention to efficiency and safety. “A manufacturer looking for no down time needs a reliable, well-designed system,” says Tamlin. “The least expensive isn’t always the most cost-effective system. We’re not the least expensive, but we feel we’re one of the most reliable. What makes a manufacturer cost effective is if they spend money once and spend it right.”

ATD would tend to agree. With its arsenal of equipment and seven global locations dedicated to metal stampings, assemblies and tubular products, the company maintains a nimble footprint poised to respond quickly to market changes. 

Darin continues to spread the word about Mayfran and its scrap removal technology. “It was a great experience working with Paul,” he says. “I know Mayfran has a reputation in the industry for good service but I can’t vouch for it from personal experience because we’ve never had to use it. The system has never broken down.” FFJ



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