IS TOOLING TRULY PERISHABLE? PERISH THE THOUGHT!
Could purchasing tooling based on price be a thing of the past? Once considered a perishable commodity, stamping tooling was often an easy target for cost-cutting measures. In an attempt to trim costs up front, shops would reduce the cost of the die where they could and buy tooling cheap because it was perishable.
However, any experienced toolmaker will tell you that cutting corners on tooling will cost you more money in the long run. Punches and dies that fail are frequently the reason for production interruptions. Each time a die goes down or punch needs to be reground production stops and you are no longer making money.
Photo courtesy of Victory Tool.
More often than not, when a die goes down it’s because it is cheaply made. Keep in mind that every minute it takes to replace a die equals money lost. So it makes sense that the life of “perishable” tooling has a significant impact on your bottom line.
Additionally, the introduction of advanced high-strength steels to the stamping industry, while great for light-weighting and strengthening of the finished part, wreaks havoc on punches and dies in terms of increased wear.
Today’s stamping applications demand more advanced tooling that is designed to withstand the rigors of stronger steels and faster presses without sacrificing quality. The value of a punch or die now lies in how long it will run, rather than how inexpensive it is.
Fortunately, new tool steels, coatings and surface finishes are optimized to improve tool life and keep a die in the press longer. With the right tooling, you can often run a die for an entire production order then switch over to a new tool. This enables you to perform preventative maintenance on one tool set while running other products without interrupting production.
Many shops demand to see double or even triple the tool life to justify purchasing a more expensive die. However, it’s important to consider more than the upfront tool cost alone. You must also take into account all of the indirect costs that go into bringing a die back online and add it to the lost revenue. You’ll see that even a 25% productivity gain in tooling warrants the extra up-front costs.
Tooling today can be designed to meet finished product demands not only in hole shape and form but also to match the forces being created by the new advanced high strength steels. Starting with the die design, many of the problems you will see during production can be avoided by evaluating punch options with your tooling suppliers and die builders.
Can’t keep the die in the press? Look at what tooling you currently have and consider changing tool steel, adding coatings or maybe even altering the finish to keep the press up and running. These are all modifications you can make to a punch so it lasts longer.
Higher quality punches and dies may cost more initially, but pay dividends in longer tool life, greater performance and increased reliability. In the end, the goal is to run through an entire production order and maximize your press uptime. By taking the time to bring your tooling up to date, you will see the gains in the bottom line.
Want to learn more about long lasting tooling solutions for stamping? Visit our website, or contact our tooling technicians at 800-944-4671, firstname.lastname@example.org.