Tooling Update



The Hits Keep Coming for Fabricators, Thanks to Turret-Punch Tool Coatings

Monday, August 1, 2011

As sheetmetal fabricators today seek get more this from their punch-press tooling, many are turning to specialty coatings designed to increase tool life, get more hits between sharpenings and minimize galling.

Case study I: Spectrum Control Inc., Fairview, PA, a manufacturer of custom electronic components and systems. The firm performs much of its metal fabrication inhouse to shorten lead times and reduce overall material costs. Recently, Spectrum production supervisor Luke Johnson approached tooling manufacturer Wilson Tool, White Bear Lake, MN, in search of to overcome galling of a punch used to produce brass filter plates, from 0.020 to 0.040 in. thick. The operation typically requires the punch to hit 20 times/part. Wilson Tool recommended its Optima custom-engineered TiCN coating, and the results were astonishing.

“Without the coating, we would get 150,000 to 175,000 hits before needing to sharpen the punch,” says Johnson. Now, thanks to the coating, we get 600,000 to 750,000 hits.”

Case study II: Greenheck Fan Corp., Schofield, WI, a manufacturer of air-movement equipment such as fans, dampers, louvers and kitchen ventilation hoods. For Greenheck, the Optima tool coating helps to prevent wear on high-use specialty punches used for full sheet nibbling. With a surface hardness of Rc 95, Optima proves ideal for high-use punches and specialty punches that have minimal regrind life. Greenheck knew the overlapping hits used to profile parts would be tough on punches and, if left untreated, would require frequent sharpening, resulting in unnecessary downtime.

“We started coating one punch and now we’re up to three,” says Greenheck senior manufacturing engineer Eric Leszczynski. Greenheck uses Optima on forming tools such as extrusions to help reduce stripping of the material off the insert.

“The coating helps minimize buildup when use forming tools,” Leszczynski says. “Without the coating, parts won’t consistently strip off the inserts; they jam up and crash.”

Case study III: Meyer Aluminum Blanks, Inc., Sheboygan Falls, WI, a manufacturer of round aluminum blanks for lighting, cookware, industrial ventilation and racecar wheels. Meyer has found that by using a turret press to punch out the blanks, it can nest different blank sizes on a single sheet and optimize sheet utilization.

“The turret press gives us the flexibility to produce a variety of blank sizes,” says Meyer production manager Kevin Verstegen, “rather than stock all sorts of unique sizes.”

Wilson Tool provides custom tooling to Meyer, shaped like a trapezoid with a curve to match the radius of the circle being punched. “The biggest challenge we face with our tooling is galling,” says Verstegen, “since we’re dealing with aluminum and aluminum galls easily.” Here, Wilson Tool recommended its Wear-Beater TiN coating, designed to resist galling, reduce stripping and extend tool life when punching, forming or piercing aluminum.

Wilson Tool: 800/328-9646;


See also: Impax Tooling Solutions, A Div. of Wilson Tool International

Related Enterprise Zones: Fabrication, Tool & Die

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