ever-tightening skilled-labor market has many metal forming company
executives closely evaluating where to devote resources to hiring,
training and retaining workers, and where to invest in automation.
To gauge the pulse of the metal forming and fabricating industry on the
question of where to invest in building the next-gen skilled-labor force
vs. investing in automation, MetalForming reached out to leaders at five metal forming companies for their thoughts. Read on for their insightful takes, including this from Chris Fagnant, president of Qualtek Manufacturing Inc.: “There’s simply no way to inspect every part without automation. We no longer have the option to train and hire people for this.”
Industrial Automation Tool Changers allow for quick and easy changing
of press tooling and transfer equipment. ATI offers a wide selection of
Tool Changer models to cover a variety of applications. Key features
include: Excellent repeatability, high rigidity, and a lightweight and
loading/unloading, along with the incorporation of material-storage
towers, represent the most common laser and CNC punching machine
automation found in fabricating operations, and time-tested ROI
investigations have proven their worth. Next-level automation, on the
other hand, remains less familiar, with ROI determination a trickier
A next-level example, automated systems provide for part removal from sheet nests and subsequent stacking—a significant improvement over manual operations. Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and automated warehousing also are making headway into fabricating operations, with AGVs used primarily for material transport and reducing the need for forklifts.
Engineering & Technology is now offering solutions to fully
automate your press line. MJC offers robots from the following leading
robot manufacturers, ABB, Fanuc, Kawasaki and Yaskawa. Integrating
robots and presses into a turnkey workcell will result in better output,
quality and reliability without compromising safety.
to the April 2020 Thomas Industrial Survey, one in four U.S.
manufacturers are considering expanding their industrial-automation
efforts due to COVID-19. In addition, 64 percent report they likely will
reshore manufacturing production and sourcing back to North America a
10-percent increase from the same sentiment reported in the March
"The COVID-19 pandemic will fundamentally redefine how industrial companies approach their supply chains and will further advance the digital transformation of manufacturing,” says Tony Uphoff, president and CEO of Thomas.
Systems engineers controls that increase the performance of every
machine in a unique, integrated stamping press configuration.
Intelligent press and automation controls give manufacturers a real-time
window into their press production systems. These controls are
increasingly important with automation, robotics, IOT connectivity, and
shop floor data collection. Read the whitepaper on how intelligent press
and automation controls can increase production, extend product life,
reduce stress in operations, and provide room to grow.
should metal formers address capital-equipment concerns and investments
during trying times? Stephan A. Robertson, general manager/vice
president of sales and operation for Simpac America, offers answers in
this Q&A piece.
Answering one question on how a purchasing department can work with its manufacturing team to continue investing in new technology, Robertson offers the following: “There are four key factors when considering capital investments: price, performance, delivery and the ability to provide turnkey solutions. In a challenging economy, stampers should evaluate their current equipment and focus on two age groups. For presses within the 5- to 15-yr. age range, consider upgrading controls and automation—feeds and transfers. For older presses, one new machine, especially a servomechanical press, may allow a stamper to replace two or three aging presses. Efficiency skyrockets, as you conserve floor space and human capital.”
The U.S Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) will distribute four cooperative agreement awards as part of its 2020 NIST MEP Advanced Manufacturing Technology Services Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) 2020-NIST-MEP-AMTS-01. Four MEP Centers will receive awards totaling $4 million, to help small and midsized manufacturers (SMMs) deploy advanced manufacturing technology in the areas of robotics, flexible automation and Internet of Things (IoT), among others.
Weiss-Aug Group, East Hanover, NJ, a precision metal former offering
stamping, injection molding, and integrated component assembly, has
partnered with Lupine Labs, Boulder, CO, to create a new entity, Lupine
Research. Lupine Research will operate two divisions: Research and
Development, led by Alex Macpherson, Ph.D., vice president of R&D;
and Automation, led by John Francis, Ph.D., vice president of
The Research and Development division will focus on material science,
utilizing a new state-of-the-art lab for technology development in metal
sputtering, plasma electrolytic oxidation (PEO), and electroplating
technologies. The Automation division will develops systems and
artificial intelligence for machine vision.
Tooling Tech Group (TTG), Macomb MI, a provider of engineered tools and automated assembly equipment, has hired Robert (Kim) Nollner as business development sales manager for its automated systems offerings. Nollner will manage the group’s sales team, elevate awareness of the company’s automation capabilities, develop new business opportunities, and create synergy with the company’s sales managers in the composites, thermoforming, metal stamping and die casting sectors.
term resistance welding owes to the fact that the electrical property
of resistance of the metal being welded causes heat generation as
current flows through it. Important factors in proper formation of the
molten area between the pieces of metal include the magnitude of
current, the length of time that it flows and the force squeezing the
Managing Horizontal Forces in Stamping Dies—Part 1
A well-constructed, symmetrical blanking die, with no shear and
a well-aligned press ram, will result in minimum horizontal loads during
the cutting process. In many dies the horizontal thrusts due to
punch-to-die clearances are the only side forces present. Dies that
experience significant side loads often have multiple causes, including
poor alignment of die components during die construction; misalignment
resulting from a miss-hit or die crash; angular contact between
surfaces, such as angular form steels; nonsymmetrical forms or draws
where the punch and die are loaded off-center at initial contact; the
use of shear or angular cutting faces to reduce cutting forces; and
cutoff, trim, bending and flanging operations where forces act on only
one side of the die steel.
Special July Digital Issue—Automation and Software for the New Era of Manufacturing:
MRP/ERP software, IoT and other Industry 4.0 initiatives (This issue
will be emailed on July 9 and again on July 23, and will be available at
August: Servo Technology, Tool Steel, EDM Roundup,
Five-Axis Laser Cutting, Folding/Bending Technology, Arc Welding, Safety
Update, Preview: Hot Stamping Experience and Tech Tour—October 6-7, Ann Arbor, MI, Preview: IMTS—September 14-19, Chicago, IL