The Cost Justification Equation
Chemform, an acrylic lubricant with a coefficient of friction of 0.04 to 0.10, says Jarosz, is designed to reduce or eliminate metal-to-metal contact and avoid galling wear. While the process does add about 10 percent to Fleet’s material cost, Thorsby says the benefits far outweigh the additional expense.
“We’ve seen a significant reduction in tool maintenance,” he says. “We’ve also eliminated the use of drawing compound, the need to stage operators at the presses to wipe excess oil from the stock, and post-weld spatter cleanup. In addition, we’ve significantly reduced the time required in our quality department for weld inspection, and the associated costs from rejected parts and reworking.”
While the benefits have been great, Thorsby does note some adjustments made in the shop to accommodate the new DFL. “The lubricant is very slick,” he says. “To prevent the coils from telescoping, we’ve had to add extra strapping bands around the slit coils. And, rather than load blanks onto flat pallets for movement by forklift to the presses, we now stage the blanks on racks—to prevent the blank stacks from sliding off of the truck.”
In addition to the DFL coating, Chemcoaters also offers a coating formulated and blended inhouse, called InterCoat ChemGuard, for use with galvanized substrate and incorporating metallic zinc. According to Jarosz, the coating has a coefficient of friction similar to that of wet lubricants during stamping. It also has a self-healing characteristic—once it becomes damaged, scratched or abraded in service it will still provide corrosion protection along the edges of a punched, sheared or cut edge.
When Jarosz presented the ChemGuard process to Thorsby late in 2018, he immediately thought of the perfect application for another Fleet Engineers product: fabricated tire-carrier assemblies, which are subjected to the harsh environment underneath each truck. Fleet Engineers also switched to the DFL for stamping these parts.
“Stamping these assemblies benefitted from switching to the DFL,” Thorsby says, “by minimizing tool wear and avoiding the need for press operators to sop up excess oil. Taking it one step further, Chemcoaters offers the ChemGuard coating with a few different tints (gray, black and blue) and the black fit right in with the tire carrier. We’re evaluating it with a galvanized sheet steel, replacing the HRPO material, and believe that the color-enhanced ChemGuard product will further enhance corrosion resistance and also eliminate the need for us to e-coat and powder-coat the assemblies. The savings may be significant.” MF
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms
See also: Chemcoaters LLC