Advanced machine features and a new alignment gauge facilitate accurate and predictable setups for fast, successful formed parts runs of any lot size.
Changeover times in the precision formed parts industry have been an important topic for many years. The smaller lot sizes that are typically run today make changeover one of the most important economic features of a cold former.
The demands for nearer net shape cold-formed parts also create new challenges for intricate machine setups. National Machinery LLC continues to design and produce various machine system features to make changeovers quick and easy.
Off-Line Setup a Key Factor
A major part of any FORMAX® machine is the Formapak and Formapak setup fixture which is part of a changeover system designed so tool changing and setup is done primarily outside the machine. A Formapak consists of:
• Die block.
• Cutter/quill pak.
• Punch holders with heading wedges.
• Transfer slide assembly.
• Transfer finger opening and closing camshaft.
With the combination of an extra Formapak and an external setup fixture, the next job can be set up while the machine runs production. Figure 1 shows the Formapak and Setup Fixture. Utilizing the setup fixture, the dies and punches can be precisely aligned and the transfer fingers set up with plugs simulating the part shape.
Additionally, the transfer finger opening and closing camshaft can be moved to the correct degree timing, and the heading wedge positions can be set by indicator outside the machine on the fixture.
Repeat-ability is What Makes It Work
How do you know what numbers to use for off-line setups? FORMAX’s unique features dictate setups that are “by the numbers.” The FORMAX Formatrol PC screen can save all of this data in the Production Job Storage Screen. Everything from machine speed to kickout is noted for the next time a job runs. For those items such as kickout and feed, which can’t be set up off-line, the computer simply takes those read ings and automatically adjusts that mechanism to the new setting with the touch of a button. Figure 2 shows the Job Storage Screen.
And how do you know that your setup is good from the outside fixture to the machine die area? FORMAX machines are manufactured using the same master fixtures and gauges for quality and consistency. At assembly time, all the dimensions are checked and verified including the repeatability between the Formapak setup fixture and the actual die area of the FORMAX. The FORMAX machine itself utilizes “Zero clearance” Heading Slide Guidance technology so that the tools and dies are in exact alignment with every stroke of the machine. All of this ensures that the effort put into the off-line setup is rewarded when tooling is put in the machine and the production run starts.
Good Alignment Between Tool & Die Bores
Since production today is far more demanding, and “close” is no longer good enough, National Machinery has designed a new instrument for setup improvement, the Precision Alignment Gauge as seen in Figure 3.
This new tool-to-die alignment gauge provides more accurate and predictable setups. The high precision of the centering tool builds operator confidence and more importantly, production output is raised to the “next level” of efficiency. Benefits include:
- Reduction of “bad part” production through improved alignment.
- Minimization of time from off-line tooling setups by eliminating trial-and-error micro-adjustments.
- Proper documentation of job setups for future production runs.
- Elevation of operator confidence on challenging setups.
- Good for usage in pre-setting as well as a production aid.
- Elimination of time-consuming “ball park” setups.
- Progress in total quality improvement.
Typical gauges prevent accurate readings due to bore clearance, whereas the Precision Alignment Gauge uses a twin rail and ball lok holding system to hold it on “dead center” (as seen in Figure 4). The features of the Precision Alignment Gauge include:
• Twin rail/ball lok design to position gauge accurately.
• Precision craftsmanship of gauge for perfect fit.
• Hard outer shell (60 Rc) that resists damage from daily use.
• Storage case for protection from workplace environment.
• “Starrett LAST WORD” indicator for alignment within 0.01 mm (0.0004").
Repeatability is increasingly important, and quick successful part runs are a must to stay competitive in today’s market-place. FORMAX machines with their advanced features and the latest available Precision Alignment Gauge work together to take your changeover and setups to the next level of efficiency. This Precision Alignment Gauge is currently available for any FX2-FX5 size machine.
More than 135 years old, National Machinery LLC designs, develops and manufactures high-speed metal parts forming machines. The company offers the FORMAX® family of headers and threaders; bearing headers including ball, roller and Combi; customized formers and forming systems; the MicroFormer; and QUIKCALC PLUS software. In addition to advanced forming machines, the company provides pars analysis, machine selection and tool design assistance as well as training, machinery service, repair and rebuilding.
by: Jerry Bupp
Director of Sales & Marketing
National Machinery LLC
161 Greenfield St .
Tiffin , OH 44883-2471
Fastner Technology International / December 2003