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Press Brake Tooling

Combining forces

By Abbe Miller

March 2009 - Vendor jumping. Just the sound of it invokes the idea of risky behavior. Tim Herold, vice president of operations at Herold Precision Metals, White Bear Township, Minn., might have coined the phrase, but he doesn’t take part in the practice. Instead, he believes in the benefits that come from a commitment to one provider.

"There’s power in a relationship," Herold says. "We don’t jump for nickels. It’s the established relationship that develops the capability of what’s over and above the expected for our customers."

HPM is a precision sheet metal fabricator, and everything that passes out of its doors is made out of cold-rolled steel, stainless steel, pre-plated steel or aluminum. The industries for which it provides parts include medical imaging, business peripherals, telecommunications, point-of-sales marketing, automotive, military and airline. And everything the precision fabricator produces must be engineered within incredibly close tolerances.

"We’re a full-service vendor with plenty of manufacturing engineering assistance, cooperation and partnership with our customer base," he says. "We have all the fabricating equipment, personnel and skills to make it happen, not to mention dedicated mechanical and light-electrical assembly facilities."

HPM’s collection of equipment includes seven turrets, 25 press brakes and six lasers. For its turret and press brake tooling, the company relies on Wilson Tool International, also in White Bear Township. The relationship goes way back.

"We’ve been working with Wilson Tool for years and years," Herold explains. "In our industry, everything is in lead times if you’re going to survive and win. And the nice thing about Wilson Tool is that when we send our files to them, they turn them on a dime--and with their expert input. They don’t just process what we request, they provide input as to what’s the best option."

The turnaround time is tremendous, Herold says. Customers developing new products realize the time that’s typically involved to engineer a part from the ground up, but the pleasant surprise of HPM’s relationship with Wilson is the speed with which Wilson has been able to provide its tooling.

Reciprocal relationships
Recently, HPM became involved in a program with a customer to design and engineer a part. The company invited Wilson, conveniently located down the road from HPM, to review the parts. HPM was investigating a better way to punch the components and went to Wilson for advice. "They had some cluster tooling ideas that we didn’t think of on our own," Herold says.

But the relationship doesn’t just benefit HPM. Because of the longevity and proximity of the partnership, HPM serves as a beta house for Wilson, testing new and modified products.

HPM had been using Wilson’s American Precision press brake tooling for some time but was interested in achieving similar time savings found in European-style setups.

"We went to Wilson tool with a request to be able to use staged bending in our forming process in order to decrease our setup times and allow ourselves to be able to transition from one setup type to another with little or no work," says Herold.

And before he could bat an eye, Wilson responded with its first European-style press brake tooling with common shut heights, where the total height of each punch and die combined is the same. This eliminates the need for risers and shims to accomplish staged bending.

"Our operators enjoy using the tools because of the common shut height on virtually any type of tool," Herold says. "It makes it easier to set up the machine, easier to utilize the full rail of the press brake and allows ourselves to use just about any kind of tool within the same rail."

According to Wilson, just about any type of European- or American-style staged bending tools, whether 30-degree, offset, flattening or gooseneck, can be set up on a press brake without punches and dies colliding. And it all came to fruition because of the give-and-take nature the two companies share.

A family affair
HPM is an ISO-certified company. It achieves rapid prototyping, quick-turn production, quality work and excellence in engineering support, all as a family-owned operation.

"My brothers, Mike and Pat, and I started the company in March 1997," Herold says. "We leased a 17,000-sq.-ft. facility, brought in one turret, one laser, two press brakes and a boatload of Wilson Tooling that they donated to us. With that, the three of us got down to work. It took two years of no paychecks and 15- to 18-hour workdays. But in December 1999, we moved into our current facility, which is 110,000 sq. ft. It took a lot of patience from our spouses to put up with the hours that we worked."

HPM has regular audits to maintain its ISO certification and does everything necessary internally to ensure that. In addition, it stays diverse within commodities so that if one commodity or even a couple have issues, the effect it has on the company and on its 100-plus employees is minimal.

Relationships are important to those at HPM. Whether they’re between family members, spouses, employees or vendors, a good team will inevitably produce good results. FFJ

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Sources

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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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