Metalforming Electronics



Sensors for the South

By: George Keremedjiev

Saturday, March 1, 2008
As more and more metalforming operations open their doors in the Southern United States, it is paramount that visitors to this year’s Regional METALFORM show in Birmingham, AL, visit all of the booths that will be showcasing die protection with electronic sensors. As die crashes and repairs have no geographic preference and as the laws of human nature and physics are the same throughout North America, it is only realistic to expect the same tooling and stamping issues that have dominated metalforming in other parts of the country to proliferate throughout these newly established metalforming operations. Sensors for die protection have no sense of North or South.

As Asian and European metalforming operations are based in their respective homelands with a relatively readily available pool of technically inclined and trained employees, many of these newly transplanted companies in the Southern United States are finding a severe lack of prepared skilled press and toolroom personnel. In response, many of these companies have formed strong partnerships with local high schools and colleges to provide skills training to supplement their own internal training programs. That lack of metalforming experience can mean that die crashes and die repairs can come as a nasty shock to the unprepared. A good work and business environment is not a substitute for error-proofed tooling for stamping.

Electronic sensors have proven to be unequivocally and undeniably reliable as monitors of robust press and die setups. They have saved numerous North American companies millions of dollars in die-repair costs. Die crashes due to misfeeds, part out, slugs, foreign objects on strips, malfunctioning cams, broken taps, fatigued sections and many other causes have been prevented or at the very least drastically minimized in their negative economic impact. Newly formed stamping operations need to learn from such well-proven experiences and quickly implement a serious electronic sensor-based program within their new stamping facilities.

METALFORM is conveniently located to many of the newly minted stamping operations in Alabama and its surrounding states. I encourage all levels of management in these companies to attend the show and bring with them their key design, engineering, pressroom, toolroom, quality and managerial personnel. In tandem I also urge all who attend to register for the Technical Conference, which will take place during the show. There will be several technical presentations and tutorials that directly address the use of electronic sensors for die protection. The combination of seminars and hands-on exposure to sensors on the show floor is invaluable to all who take the time to be fully immersed into the world of modern die protection.

Of course, properly implementing sensors in a die without the appropriate die-protection controls on the press is a frustrating waste of time. METALFORM will feature exhibitors from among the very best suppliers of such controls. You can expect to see them demonstrate the very latest developments. Such exposure, when coupled with seminars and the sensor manufacturer’s exhibits, prepares the visitor to fully understand the concepts of electronic-sensor die protection in its fullest context. Make sure to visit every electronic-sensor exhibitor at the show. You will find that they have a comfortable level of understanding and appreciation for the methodology needed for proper die-sensor implementation.

There is no excuse. You need to experience the best in people and technologies to prevent massive die repairs and unnecessary die maintenance. I cannot be more clear about the importance of metalforming operations to have representation at the show. Even the domestic stampers having called the South home for many years should take this golden opportunity to expose their technical and managerial staffs to the best practices for improvements through serious die-protection programs. Likewise, the newly minted metalforming organizations in the region must take the time to elevate their employees’ levels of technical awareness.

Dies do not discriminate. They have no emotions, loyalties or interests tied to your company’s economic success. They are complicated mechanical systems, and as such are prone to the random and totally unexpected laws of nature and human behavior. Learn how to instrument your dies with electronic sensors at this year’s METALFORM show in Birmingham, AL.

I will be at the show, available to answer your questions in person. Please stop by the Precision Metalforming Association booth and PMA staff will let you know how to reach me, or contact me prior to the show to schedule an appointment. MF


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