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Press Brake Tooling

Faster and heavier

By Lincoln Brunner

Some companies specialize in precision, some in heavy parts, others in agility. But what happens when you do all three day in and day out? What kind of equipment makes that possible?

That was the quandary staring at heavy equipment manufacturer Landoll Corp., Marysville, Kan., in early 2006 when it was searching for a heavy-duty press brake and tooling system. The 45-year-old company manufactures agricultural equipment, forklifts, traveling axle trailers and various heavy OEM/government products.

Landoll turns out low volumes of high-end products--perhaps three forklift trucks, three or four trailers, and one or two OEM/government wreckers per day. The company routinely bends mild steel plates anywhere from 1/4 in. thick to 3/4 in. thick and between 80,000 lbs. and 100,000 lbs. tensile yield. To help meet its distinctive cocktail of production demands, Landoll invested in a 650-metric-ton Bystronic Beyeler PR10-650 press brake with segmented precision Wila tooling in May 2006.

Precision
One of the primary concerns for Landoll was delivering high-tolerance parts consistently from its press brake to the seven robotic welding stations on its production floor.

While bending 500 parts would make for an unusually big day, those jobs have to be right on. Manufacturing Engineering Director Alan Koch says that his robotic welding stations have driven the need for not only precision press brake tooling but also the three laser machines that feed the press brakes. "The robots require precise parts," Koch says. "With most of it, we try to hold within a degree. We’re using a lot of robotic welders, and we try to keep as close as we can."

As manufacturers and job shops alike have implemented more automation on the production floor, the need to minimize tolerance stack-up has increased accordingly.

"If you can’t bring consistent parts to the robotic welder, you’re wasting time and money," says Gary Nadzam, business development manager for Wila. "Frankly that’s exactly what’s driving the sale of precision press brakes and precision components, including punches and dies."

Heft
The equation for Landoll isn’t as simple as that, though. Landoll’s equipment is heavy. The parts that compose it are heavy. That means the tooling and clamping systems on the brakes that bend those parts have to be durable. So, while the company needed almost razor-like precision on the welding end, it needed a proverbial sledgehammer on the forming end.

The Wila tooling that Landoll bought is hardened to Rockwell 60, with no sharpening required after almost two years.

"They needed strength in the clamping system, the die-holder system and the tooling because the load they put on their tools is high," Nadzam says. "They bend some high-tensile, high-strength materials. So that was the No. 1 criterion: Can the system do our high-strength, high-tensile materials?

"Once we accomplished that, then they said, ‘Now, can it improve our productivity? And how is it going to do that?’"

The answer was segmentation. The fact that the Rockwell 60 tooling was both precision-ground and segmented allowed Landoll to meet its tolerance and durability requirements while using only one operator to change tooling in and out.

Quickness
Koch says that installing the brake created a dramatic drop in tooling setup time. With 12 press brake operators running the company’s five press brakes two or three shifts a day, six days a week, any move that increases uptime and decreases time between jobs is a good one.

"It’s so much quicker," says Koch, who began his tenure at Landoll 23 years ago as a shear operator. "The setups are twice as fast. We wanted precise sectionalized tooling for quick setups. The other brakes have to use a crane to pull punches and dies in and out. Here, we just pick them up, set them in and we’re ready to go."

Though the tooling itself is too heavy for push-button release, the system’s hydraulic clamping setup keeps changeouts moving swiftly. Because the brake uses an air-bending system, as opposed to a more tooling-intensive, bottom-bending arrangement, Landoll has fewer total tools to move in and out between different jobs. And even though the high-tensile materials the company often uses require larger nose radii, the Wila system includes a master holder that can quickly accommodate all the different radius bars the shop uses, negating the need for specially machined punches for each radius.

"They were able to go to a more economic setup, where one operator can load the machine in a matter of minutes, as opposed to having two or more operators load the long tools," Nadzam says. "That’s where productivity came in for them. The hydraulic clamping, upper and lower, allowed them to not mess around with shimming and manual tightening of the punch holders. Everything now is hydraulic. They punch a button, everything snaps into place and they’re ready to bend."

Everyone has technology. At the end of the day, competing means getting the most out of the technology you have, Nadzam says.

"There are a lot of good press brakes out there, and they all repeat to an extremely high tolerance," he says. "But if you then put in clamping systems, punches and dies that are machined to large tolerances, all of a sudden you’ve taken that precision press brake and you’ve made it a bottoming machine because you have to hit it hard to get the angle you need.

"When you add the [precision] components--the tooling, the clamping, the die holder--now you’ve got a real ... precision forming cell that eliminates a lot of those accumulated tolerances that you have to overcome in a bottoming environment. Overcoming accumulated tolerance buildup between the upper beam and the lower beam is the key to high-precision, accurate parts." FFJ

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Company Profiles

AIR FILTRATION

IRONWORKERS

NESTING SOFTWARE

SERVICE CENTERS

Camfil APC - Equipment Trilogy Machinery Inc. Metamation Inc. Admiral Steel
Camfil APC - Replacement Filters

LASER TECHNOLOGY

PLASMA TECHNOLOGY

Alliance Steel
Donaldson Company Inc. AMADA AMERICA, INC. Messer Cutting Systems Inc.

SOFTWARE

BENDING/FOLDING

Mazak Optonics Corp.

PLATE

Enmark Systems Inc.
MetalForming Inc. MC Machinery Systems Inc. Peddinghaus Lantek Systems Inc.
RAS Systems LLC Murata Machinery, USA, Inc.

PLATE & ANGLE ROLLS

SigmaTEK Systems LLC

BEVELING

TRUMPF Inc. Davi Inc. Striker Systems
Steelmax Tools LLC

LINEAR POSITION SENSORS

Trilogy Machinery Inc.

STAMPING/PRESSES

COIL PROCESSING

MTS Sensors

PRESS BRAKE TOOLING

AIDA-America Corp.
Bradbury Group

MATERIAL HANDLING

Mate Precision Tooling

STEEL

Burghardt + Schmidt Group Fehr Warehouse Solutions Inc. Rolleri USA Alliance Steel
Butech Bliss UFP Industrial

PRESS BRAKES

TUBE & PIPE

Red Bud Industries

MEASUREMENT & QUALITY CONTROL

AMADA AMERICA, INC. BLM Group
Tishken Advanced Gauging Technologies Automec Inc. Prudential Stainless & Alloys

CONVEYOR SYSTEMS

METAL FABRICATION MACHINERY

MC Machinery Systems Inc.

WATERJET

Mayfran International Cincinnati Inc. SafanDarley Barton International

DEBURRING/FINISHING

LVD Strippit

PUNCHING

Flow International Corporation
ATI Industrial Automation Scotchman Industries Inc. Hougen Manufacturing Jet Edge Waterjet Systems
Lissmac Corp. Trilogy Machinery Inc.

SAWING

WELDING

Osborn

METAL FORMING

Behringer Saws Inc. American Weldquip
SuperMax Tools FAGOR Arrasate USA Inc. Cosen Saws Strong Hand Tools
Timesavers MetalForming Inc. DoALL Sawing T. J. Snow Company

HYDRAULIC PRESSES

MICROFINISHING TOOLS

HE&M Saw

 

Beckwood Press Co. Titan Tool Supply Inc. Savage Saws

 

Triform

 

 

 


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