This blog is Part Two of a two-part series highlighting our guide to the tool and die manufacturing process, with a focus on manufacturing capabilities and types of die manufacturing.
Tool & Die Manufacturing Capabilities
Though the capabilities of the tool and die manufacturing process encompass a greater range than these techniques, deep drawing, stamping and prototyping are three important capabilities tool and die manufacturing offers.
As one of the most widely used techniques used in forming sheet metal, the automotive industry uses deep drawing extensively in the production of motor vehicle parts. As a tool and die manufacturing technique, deep drawing uses tensile and compressive conditions to form flat sheet metal blanking into hollow bodies that open on one side or that form into hollow bodies with smaller cross-sections. This die manufacturing process also uses rigid tools like punches and binders, with the plate holder closing after the blank – the punched-out piece of material – has been inserted.
After this, the metal sheeting clamps between the die and binder, slowing down the sheet’s flow while it’s drawn. This prevents wrinkles from forming under the binder. Next, the punch stretches the sheet over the die radius, forming it in the die. The necessary punch force continually increases up to the point where it reaches the lower end in the center of the punch.
Though pure deep drawing doesn’t reduce sheet metal thickness, it achieves this through stretch forming. Decreasing sheet metal thickness, the process helps form slightly curved parts with low draw depth, so is used for vehicle roofs or doors made via die manufacturing. Complex motor vehicle body parts usually involve a combination of deep drawing and stretching.
Stamping & Die Types
Tool and die manufacturing companies consider the types of stamping presses and dies they use based upon their end products.
Stamping presses types used for tool and die manufacturing include:
- Mechanical presses use motors connected to mechanical flywheels that then transfer and store energy, and tend to operate more quickly than hydraulic presses. Employed to make shallower and more uncomplicated parts from coiled sheet metal, they’re generally used for transfer or progressive stamping that involves larger production runs.
- Mechanical servo presses use high-capacity motors to stamp more quickly, with capabilities that allow it to create more complex stampings than other die manufacturing presses. Instead of a motor, flywheel and clutch, a servomotor replaces these mechanisms to focus energy only where necessary, powered by either direct drive or link-assisted systems. Further, slide motion and positioning, strokes and speed can all be programmed, though because of its capabilities servo presses costs more.
- Hydraulic presses apply force with pressurized hydraulic fluid to material, with hydraulic pistons displacing fluid proportionally applied force to the piston head’s diameter, which allows greater control over the pressure than with mechanical presses. Capable of varying speed and stroking, they tend to deliver strokes to the material at full power throughout the process. Utilized mainly for smaller production runs, they can create deeper and more complex stamping than mechanical presses, allowing more flexibility due to their ability to control pressure and stroke length.
The following dies used in manufacturing include:
- Simple dies that accomplish functions with single strokes.
- Compound dies that perform multiple cutting actions with single strokes at individual stages.
- Progressive dies that execute multiple cutting operations with single strokes at various stages, implementing blanking at the last stage.
- Transfer dies that operate similarly to progressive dies, but conduct blanking operations first.
- Combination dies that combine multiple shaping operations, though strike singly at each stage.
- Multiple dies that produce one component per stroke but allow production of more than one component at a time.
Tool and Die Manufacturing Prototypes
Some companies have the capacity for crafting prototypes using the tool and die manufacturing process. By working with designers and engineers, they help develop, design and produce prototypes for products and their components with tool and die technology. Additionally, many also work to refurbish damaged tools, dies, gauges, jigs and other fixtures, including for legacy components and equipment.
For these capabilities, such tool and die manufacturing specialists require skills, knowledge and familiarity with various machining tools and measuring instruments, machining properties and operations, reading blueprints and mathematical formulas. Though similar to machinists, tool and die makers are capable of crafting more complex machinery, and require a greater understanding about mechanics generally. For this reason, tool designers and engineers often work together with tool and die manufacturers to develop new tools and processes.
A multiplicity of industries use tool and die manufacturing technology to design and make the tools, dies, molds and jigs used to make other products. These include the automotive, durable goods and defense industries, which are all closely tied to the tool and die industry, and who assist in the repair of legacy equipment as well as development of components for manufacturers.
The following industries often require tool and die manufacturing for sheet metal prototypes:
- Durable goods & appliance
- Green technology
- Medical device
Contact Arthur Harris & Co.
With experienced staff and state-of-the-art equipment such as CNC, wire EDM, CAD and CAM software, the team at Arthur Harris can design and produce tooling to manufacture superior products. Our prototyping capabilities help eliminate human error, reduce production time and optimize die manufacturing during the planning stages.
To learn more about our tool and die manufacturing services, please contact Arthur Harris today.