Customized Mechanical Press Addresses Tiny-Part Challenges

By: Joe Jancsurak

Thursday, November 1, 2018

customized mechanical pressKSR International, a leading vertically integrated Tier One supplier of electrical and electronic components to the transportation industry, knows a thing or two about the challenges involved with producing tiny and sensitive parts. Since 1946, the global company, with headquarters in Ridgetown, Ontario, Canada; manufacturing facilities in Canada, Mexico, China, Czech Republic and the United Kingdom; and sales, R&D and engineering offices in the United States, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom and China, has designed, engineered and manufactured such products as electronic throttle control pedals, position sensors, power modules and voltage regulators.

As tooling/manufacturing engineer for KSR, Roberto Cafarelli, an automotive-parts veteran, having worked for Magna and Martinrea, manages tooling designs and oversees the equipment used in the manufacturing of KSR’s various product lines. These require precision terminal pins for fast connects and disconnects in various applications found in automobiles, light trucks and all-terrain vehicles, as well as hybrid and electric vehicles.

The volume and speed with which these tiny parts must be made is mind boggling. On average, says Cafarelli, the company stamps terminal pins at rates of 150 to 350/min., or about 15,000/hr. Annual volume runs about 14 million. What’s more, the precision tooling is fragile and the materials used must remain oil-free during production.

“The carbide tools used for cutting are prone to shattering when encountering static vibration,” explains Cafarelli. “And the materials—bronze, copper, stainless and aluminum—used in making the parts must be oil-free, so they can be sticky. This requires the stamping press to provide a means to prevent the parts from sticking and adhering to the tooling.

Ideal Press for High-Tolerance Work

To manufacture the pins, a servo-feed delivers the strip into a high-speed press, where it travels through a 10- to 20-station progressive die.

customized high speed press produces terminal pins
A customized high-speed press provides KSR International with the capability to produce terminal pins to the tune of about 15,000/hr., with annual volumes reaching 14 million. The parts are used in various automotive, light-truck and all-terrain-vehicle applications, as well as in hybrid and electric vehicles.
Cafarelli says that all production challenges related to the terminal pins are met by a customized Stamtec HSD-80 high-speed straightside press. Originally designed to run motor laminations, the 80-metric-ton press has many features not standard in a typical straightside machine, allowing it to reach KSR’s required high-volume-production rates while addressing material concerns and other challenges, says Michael Wisnoski, integrated systems engineer for Manchester, TN-based Stamtec.

“For example, the frame and slide, made of cast steel as opposed to plate steel, has greater vibration and noise-dampening characteristics, critical to ensuring a low-vibration, high-speed press,” explains Wisnoski. “Moreover, the rigid, low-deflection frame, bed and slide enable to the HSD to exhort only 0.0010-in. deflection for high accuracy and repeatability, a necessity when running high-speed, tight-tolerance dies.”

Also serving to lessen deflection is the eccentric-shaft design, with “more bearing surface, and better torsion and deflection characteristics than a typical crankshaft machine,” continues Wisnoski, explaining that the shaft is machined from one solid-steel piece. “Because of the eccentric design, the shaft is supported along its length, and with the support bearings placed closer to driving points, shaft deflection is reduced.

“In addition,” he adds, “our plunger guiding system allows for accurate guiding assistance to the roller guides, and we are able to seal the upper portion of the machine and lubricate the gearing and internal components of the drive system.”

Then there’s the balancing device, designed to counterbalance the eccentric thrust generated from the shaft rotation and slide movement. “Pneumatically operated, using air pressure and counter weights, we offset the slide velocity,” Wisnoski says. “In so doing, we reduce press-frame vibration and prolong tool life.”

As for addressing KSR’s need to keep the pin-terminal parts oil-free, Wisnoski explains that the guide system incorporates a precision hardened roller system along the length of the guide with the lubrication integrated in the roller housing to ensure proper oil flow. “The rollers are designed to have minimal contact with the guide,” he says, “limiting friction and heat, which allows high speeds to be maintained during operation.”

The press also has a hydraulic slide-adjustment locking device, standard on all Stamtec high-speed presses. The device hydraulically locks the slide-adjustment threads to eliminate clearances and ensure consistency of the slide’s position at bottom dead center.

More High-Voltage Parts to Come

KSR remains committed to adding capacity and new business, says Cafarelli. “We are looking at increasing our electronic-parts business, with more high-voltage components, which will expand our microstamping needs and reel-to-reel overmolding. The need for specialty materials such as copper with aluminum inlays will drive new feed equipment, as it has to be scratch-free for wire bonding, and will drive the press area to be more of a cleanroom environment.”

“With companies such as KSR continuously showing an ability to innovate and a willingness to replace outdated equipment with new and specialized machine designs,” says Wisnoski, “transportation-parts production will remain on the right track.” MF


See also: Stamtec, Inc.

Related Enterprise Zones: Presses

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