AccuLock Beauty Image

Even with the ever-evolving nature of manufacturing, machine tooling has remained a primary source of heft, stress, and strain on operators. Not to mention bulky, job-specific equipment putting a constant strain on the clock. Decades of innovations in manufacturing, with the goal of eliminating common sources of strain, have spawned reliable options for tool retention.

Ball lock retainers can fill the gaps created by downtime. Ideal for applications that require heavy, bulky dies which present a challenge for tool changes and tool maintenance, ball lock retainers allow for quick and easy tool changes. Perfect for short or long runs, ball lock retainers offer a secure fit and an accurate location for punches.

The Impax Tooling Solutions® product line represents over 50 years of working with our customers to resolve their most challenging tooling issues. Wilson Tool International is dedicated to leading innovation in ball lock tooling. Our versatile line of retainers are compatible with all ball lock punches, including HP ball lock punches. Stay lean while increasing your machine efficiencies.

That same innovative spirit took things a step further: What if you could make your special retainers in-house, when you need them? It was this problem that resulted in the game-changing, on-demand solution known as the HP Accu-Lock® system. With the Accu-Lock system, retainers can be made in-house, cutting lead times and avoiding the expense of buying custom retainers from an outside source. This solution minimizes inventory and downtime while requiring no complicated tools or specialized knowledge.

Ball Lock Punches

HP Accu-Lock simplifies the use of special retainers by eliminating the need for complicated jigs, inspection fixtures, or the expertise required to machine ball holes into the punch plate. With the HP Accu-Lock, the ball hole is eliminated, instead favoring a straight-line machined hole, which can be readily made utilizing standard machines.

Lead times can be cut from several weeks to days by creating your own special retainers in-house. The HP Accu-Lock system not only allows you to create special retainers on-demand, you can also modify or reuse existing retainers, significantly reducing waste.

Providing compatibility across metric and imperial sizing, HP Accu-Lock retainers work seamlessly with all ball lock punches, including HP Ball Lock punches from Impax Tooling Solutions. Last minute engineering changes, tight tolerances, or special part runs no longer delay project lead times. Experience a new level in versatility and efficiency.

Learn more about retainers here.


Stamping Punch Coatings

Galling got you down? Struggling with stripping problems? Worn out by excessive punch wear? Wilson Tool offers a variety of specialty coatings to help solve your most frustrating punching problems. With nine unique coatings to choose from, we’re sure to have the right coating to improve your punching performance and extend the life of your tooling – whatever your application.

Our Wearbeater coating is a titanium nitride (TiN) solution that provides broad spectrum protection against wear in a variety of punching applications. Optima® coating reduces galling and significantly increases tool life, particularly when piercing stainless steel. Forte®, a multi-layer nano coating is an ideal surface enhancement that reduces punch wear. Slip-Max® coating combines hardness and lubricity that is ideal for increasing punch life and reducing material adhesion and better material flow when forming.

To find the most effective coating for your application, download the Coating Solutions flyer today or view our webinar on Coatings for Stampers.

Slug Hugger Die


Proper die clearance allows for upper and lower fracture lines to connect. The typical stamping industry rule of thumb is to use 10 percent material thickness as clearance between the punch and die button, but this guideline does not take into account variable material types. What is the optimal die clearance?

Read the full article here.


Wilson Tool’s tooling technicians will work with you to fully understand your application and provide the right tool for your application. The right tool steel, coating, surface enhancements and design result in a nimble tooling solution that will maximize your uptime and productivity.

Stamping Video


Poka-yoke is a Japanese term meaning mistake-proofing that refers to any method of standardization used to prevent errors in a product or manufacturing process. It is a critical aspect of continuous improvement for organizations working to achieve a lean culture.

Hammer Forcing Square Block into Round Hole

The purpose of poka-yoke is to eliminate product defects and prevent human errors before they occur. Implementing mistake-proofing mechanisms will:

  • assure quality in the workstation
  • correct conditions in the manufacturing process that allow for errors
  • eliminate the potential for operator error
  • support knowledgeable workers in continuous improvement

There are three types of mistake-proofing methods used to work progressively toward each of the five levels of poka-yoke described in the table below. First, eliminate an error at the source before it occurs. Second, detect an error as it occurs and before it results in a defect. Third, detect the defect after it has been made but before it reaches the next operation in the manufacturing process.


Level Effect Inspection Zero Defect Action
1. Plant ships defective product Many defects and customer complaints Judgment inspection Shut down the factory
2. Plant does not ship defective product Many defects but fewer customer complaints None Use more inspectors
3. Plant is now reducing defects Defects produced in one production run are not repeated in the future Information feedback inspection; SPC Boosting engineering-type improvements
4. Plant processes do not send defects downstream When defects are produced, they do not get passed on to the next process Independent inspection by operators using successive self-checks Training operators to identify and remove defects
5. Plant processes do not create defects When an error occurs, the process does not produce defects Process does not allow errors, so no inspection necessary  

The goal of poka-yoke is to become a plant that produces product at level five, in which plant processes are so fool proof and intuitive, they do not allow for errors and thus defects are eliminated entirely. The amount of time it will take to achieve level five depends on the extent to which your plant undertakes these efforts. For instance, a single workstation can take two to four weeks to mistake-proof, whereas multiple workstations can take up to six months and an entire production line can take years to fully implement poka-yoke.

Unlike a quality assurance process, poka-yoke ensures quality by preventing defects in the first place. Over time this will not only improve the quality of your product, but significantly reduce waste and save both time and money.

To learn more about lean manufacturing strategies such as poka-yoke, check out Wilson Tool’s popular lean seminars for sheet metal fabricators.


Keith Engdahl

On May 7, 1984, Keith Engdahl began his career at Wilson Tool – one that has spanned more than three and a half decades to date.

Keith started working in drafting and design as a tool designer. “SolidWorks was coming in right as I was leaving. I started on a drafting board with a pencil, the old-fashioned way,” Keith remembers with a smile. After some shuffling, Keith found himself in the shop, which proved to be a good fit.

Now, 35 years into his career at Wilson Tool International, Keith can be found in the coatings department. “At one point they wanted me to go back upstairs, but I liked this better,” he said. Eight years in and Keith still feels right at home in coatings.

Keith is a longtime season pass holder at Trollhaugen (a local ski area), and was a pioneer in snowmaking during the 1970s. He enjoys tearing up the summer months on his Harley Davidson motorcycles and his ATVs.


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Stop by our stamping booth to see the latest tooling solutions.

November 11–14
Booth # D46333
McCormick Place
Chicago, IL USA


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On Monday September 2, 2019, the Wilson Tool International headquarters in White Bear Lake, MN will be closed in observance of the U.S. Labor Day holiday. We will re-open on Tuesday, September 3.

Labor Day Artwork