Monday Manufacturing Round-Up: June 9th, 2014

Monday Manufacturing Round-Up

As we hit the half way point in 2014, nothing but sunny weather and optimistic feelings about the economy are in the future. An increase in focus on manufacturing education is on the up-rise as well. On to the links:

That it for this week’s links. Here’s to a productive start to your week.

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Coiled Steel Straighteners

Coiled Steel Straighteners

The next auxiliary machine involved with a punch press set up, isn’t always necessary. Material straighteners are used in a hand full of situations, however, aren’t always necessary and their usage depends heavily on the condition of the material and amount of stations within a die.

This material straightener eliminates coil-set from coiled raw material.

This material straightener eliminates coil-set from coiled raw material.

Coiled material will always have a slight curvature to it, due to its tightly wound and banded state. To neutralize the curvature in coiled steel, straighteners have to really make a mark on the material. In the picture above, there are 9 straightening rollers. The pressure from each roller bends the material in different directions to eventually even out the material. As the material enters from the right, the first rollers apply the most force, and as the material moves to the left and towards the press, the rollers weaken in force applied allowing for the deformations to gradually even out, making the material straight.

The other common situation where a material straightener is required is when the material is being ran through a progressive die of more than three stations. Running material through multiple stations means that there are multiple forms, hole piercing, or cutting that needs to be done to create the desired part. Because of the multiple operations that need to be done, ensuring that the raw material that is being fed into the press is as straight, and flat as possible is paramount. Having the material be consistently straight helps ensure that the die will run as it is designed, and eliminate any backing up of material or malfunctions that could be detrimental to the die and stamping press.

Next week, we’ll take a look at feeders, the ever important auxiliary equipment that keeps the material churning into the stamping press.

Monday Manufacturing Round-Up: Tuesday May 27th, 2014

Monday Manufacturing Round-Up

After the long weekend, we catch back up with the world of manufacturing today with stories ranging from a lack of new home buyers to new safety regulations for the Keystone pipeline. On to the links:

  • Market Place has a story taking a look at the lack of first-time home buyers. An all-time high of 43% of home sales in the first quarter in 2014 were done in straight cash deals.
  • A surprise up-tick in orders of durable goods has economists optimistic about the US economy. The LA Times reports that there was an increase in orders by 0.8% last month, when initial forecasts predicted a 0.8% drop off. The main increase came from the transportation equipment and military aircraft industries.
  • Beechcraft and Wichita State University are teaming up to give under-graduate engineering students a chance to get valuable work experience. Manufacturing.net has the story on the relationship, that has helped Beechcraft in engineering hours, and helped students get jobs, sometimes before they even graduate.
  • IMPO Magazine has the latest on two new regulations for the controversial Keystone Pipeline. The regulations include hiring a third-party contractor, chosen by the safety agency, to monitor and report on the pipeline construction, while the second regulation has TransCanada adopt a detailed quality control procedure.
  • The newly elected Prime Minister of India plans on adding solar power to homes across India by 2019. Bloomberg notes that roughly 400 million people in India live in homes without any electricity, and that solar panels could potentially light two bulbs, a solar cooker, and a television in each home.

That’s it for your special Tuesday edition of MMRU. Here’s to a productive start to your week.

Monday Manufacturing Round-Up: May 19th, 2014

Monday Manufacturing Round-Up

Today our links take a quick look around the manufacturing world of the Jeep Wrangler, Tesla’s plans for their battery manufacturing, and women in manufacturing. Here are today’s stories:

  • The Pittsburgh Business Times is reporting that Jeep is strongly considering making the next generation of Wranglers from aluminum. Jeep is closely monitoring the success of the new Ford F-150 that is being made with aluminum bodies.
  • Tesla has big plans for a battery manufacturing plant planning to break ground next month, and finish in 2020, but the Wall Street Journal isn’t so sure that it can be done. If Tesla were to be successful, they would be able to churn out as many lithium ion batteries as all of the current plants create today.
  • Women in Manufacturing has announced the date and location of this year’s, Women in Manufacturing Summit. The annual two-day summit aims to retain women currently in the manufacturing world, and attempt to attract more women into manufacturing.
  • The National Association of Home Builders blog, Eye on Housing, takes a look at the most common remodeling projects of 2013.

That’s it for the short list of links today. Here’s to a productive start to your week.

Monday Manufacturing Round-Up: May 12th, 2014

Monday Manufacturing Round-Up:

As we move on from Mother’s day over the weekend, and begin National Small Business Week, things are looking up for American manufacturers. With the implementation of robotics, and exporting materials, manufacturers in the US are feeling optimistic for their futures. On to the links:

That’s it for the links, happy National Small Business week to all of the other small businesses out there, and here’s to a productive start to your week.

Monday Manufacturing Round-Up: May 5th, 2014

Monday Manufacturing Round-Up

As we get into the swing of things in May, jobs in the service industries are on the way up, however things don’t look quite as rosy for those in construction and over-seas. There is also a new trend in the manufacturing of solar panels that could reduce costs, allowing manufacturers to pass on the savings. On to the links:

  • Those who watch over the labor statistics of our service industries are happy about the growth they’ve seen. Market Watch has the brief. Some of the notable growth sectors include wholesale trade, retail trade and arts, and entertainment and recreation.
  • While service industries seem to be on the up, The NAHB’s Eye on Housing report isn’t as optimistic. While they do note that there has been a decrease in the unemployment rate, the construction jobs across the country haven’t increased significantly, and the NAHB blog attributes most of the dwindling unemployment numbers to people removing themselves from the job hunt.
  • In the mean time, Chinese manufacturing has shrank for the fourth month in a row. IMPO Magazine reports that the HSBC’s purchasing manager’s index is again signaling a decrease in production in China, however at a slower rate than what was reported for the three previous months.
  • Solar panel manufacturers in the US and the UK are experimenting with tin in aims of driving down the cost of the panels. International Business Times has the story that breaks down the thought of using tin as an alternative to lead.
  • Contracting Business has a story on the lack of refrigeration repair people on the job market. With a lack of interest from most vocational schools, the low and medium refrigeration repair sector is struggling to replace those who are retiring.

A happy Cinco de Mayo to all, and here’s to a productive start to your week.

Monday Manufacturing Round-Up: April 28th, 2014

Monday Manufacturing Round-Up

For those of us in the Pacific Northwest, spring will be arriving this week with nothing but sunshine and heat. As for the links, North Dakota is putting its economic chips down on drones, while pending home sales increase from last month:

That’s it for today’s links. Here’s to a productive start to your week.

Monday Manufacturing Round-Up: April 21st, 2014

Monday Manufacturing Round-Up:

Easter has passed, and the days in April are dwindling away. Construction season is steadily approaching as well as we continue to progress into spring. Our links this morning include the latest construction news, and an increase of solar panel usage. On to the links:

  • The National Home Builders Association published their latest report on their Eye on Housing blog. Numbers on last month’s housing starts, and what the summer building season could have in store are included in the blog entry.
  • Market Watch takes a look at a recent White House fact sheet on the state of solar panels. While solar panels are still a minor generator of overall energy in the US, there have been more solar panels installed in the previous 18 months than in the last 30 years combined.
  • Fiat and Chrysler plan on making three models of Jeep in China. Manufacturing.net reports that the company is attempting to increase their sales of the Jeep model in a section of the world where they’ve historically struggled.
  • SME.org writes about the continuing integration of CAD and CAM software.

That does it for the links today. Here’s to a productive start to your week.

Material Un-Coilers

Punch Press Un-coilers

Punch press un-coilers are rather self explanatory, as their main function is to hold coils of material, and allow the material to un-coil as it is being fed into the press. While somewhat of a simple task, there are a couple of variations that allow some flexibility and bonuses for metal stamping operations depending on what kind of parts are being stamped out. The five main styles of material un-coilers include a standard reel, a motorized reel, a pancake un-coiler, a cradle, and a tandem un-coiler. We’ll start off with the most basic of un-coilers, the standard reel:

Standard Reel Un-coiler

Standard Reel Un-Coiler

This standard reel un-coiler has no motor or actuating arm. This un-coiler simply holds material and unravels as the material is being pulled.

Standard reel un-coilers have no motor or any control device that limit or dictate how much material is being un-coiled at a time. Standard reel un-coilers come in a variety of sizes, holding lite to medium sized coils. Since there are no controls to the standard un-coilers, the amount fed out at a time depends on the feeder attached to the press. While not the most technologically advanced of all the un-coilers, standard reel un-coilers will always have a place in a stamping operation due to their low cost and maintenance requirements, and ease of moving from one press to the next.

Motorized Reel Un-coilers

Powered Reel Un-Coiler

This powered reel un-coiler will stay still until the material raises high enough to trip the actuating arm and signal the reel to rotate, feeding out a pre-determined amount of the coil.

Motorized reels are very similar to standard wheels, with the exception that material is fed intermittently by a motor within the un-coiler itself. Motorized un-coilers will either feed material with the aid of an actuating arm, or sensors. The more economical end of motorized un-coilers will feed material based on a time out put, i.e. feed for five seconds, where as some of the higher end un-coilers equipped with sensors will give a continuous feed depending on the material height within the view of the sensors. Motorized un-coilers are typically preferred to non-motorized un-coilers as it helps reduce wear on feeding mechanisms.

Pancake Un-coilers

Pancake Un-Coiler

A pancake un-coiler rests material on its side and allows the material to slowly unwind.

Pancake un-coilers are similar to the standard reel un-coilers, with the exception that the material lays horizontally on a flat surface, as opposed to being elevated on the un-coiler vertically. Pancake un-coilers are great for coils that aren’t perfectly round, or to be able to stack multiple coils on top of each other, speeding the process of getting a new coil set up and reducing press down time.

Cradle Un-coilers

Cradle Uncoiler

This cradle uncoiler releases material as it is pulled against the yellow actuating arm. The amount that is fed is capable of being changed depending on the running product’s need.

Cradle un-coilers are another option for managing material, especially larger coils. Cradle un-coilers are better to use for larger coils as the weight of the coil isn’t resting on an extended arm like it would be with either a standard or motorized reel. Most cradle un-coilers will feed material with some sort of motorized function since there would be too much weight needed to be pulled by a feeder.

Tandem Un-coiler

Tandem Un-Coiler

A tandem un-coiler has the great flexibility of being able to load a coil of steel on an open arm while the side in use is running low. This can greatly decrease the down time from when the original coil runs out, and the next coil is in the press and running.

Tandem un-coilers are immensely helpful in reducing press down time. While possessing two separate arms to load coils on to, a second coil can be loaded on to the open side while the press is running the last bit of the original coil material. Once that first arm’s material is all used, a motor allows the main body of the tandem un-coiler to rotate and use the full coil of steel already on the other side. The only down fall of the tandem un-coiler is its price, as the tandem un-coiler tends to be the most expensive of all of the un-coilers we’ve looked at today.

Monday Manufacturing Round-Up: April 7th, 2014

Monday Manufacturing Round-Up,

As we get into the second week of April, spring continues to progress as things clear up out here on the west coast. Three main sporting events also mark this week as a big one with both the men’s and women’s collegiate basketball championships, and the Masters golf tournament wrapping up the week. The early days of spring also signify the beginning of the home buying season. There are plenty out there that believe this is going to be a good year for home-sellers, and is helping in the overall optimism for the economy:

That’s it for this Monday. Here’s to a productive start to your week.