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.

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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.

Auxiliary Punch Press Equipment

Additional Equipment for Punch Presses

Now that we’ve covered the basics with punch presses, ranging from frame and power differences, we look to the outside of the press before we look to the inside. There are a handful of machines that are required to have along with a punch press to run a punch press to its full capabilities. Today we’ll take a look at three of the main auxiliary equipment pieces to add with a punch press, and in the coming weeks we’ll take a closer look at each individual machine.

Punch Press 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.

Punch Press Un-Coilers are very important, as this is where the raw material begins its journey into the press. Coils are loaded into the un-coilers and are fed into the press by a variety of techniques. Some un-coilers are motorized and control the amount of material that is fed at a time, whereas some have no electrical or motor functions and feed out as much material as is being pulled. All styles of un-coilers have their strengths and weaknesses based on their set-up that we’ll take a more in-depth look at next week.

Material Straighteners

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

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

Material straighteners are needed depending on what thickness of material is being used, and how far the material is being fed. Since the coils of material have been bound in their wrapped position, some heavier gauge materials tend to have a curvature to it that will need to be straightened out before hitting with a die. The same goes for a die with more than two or three hit progressions. If material is needed to travel through so many progressions, it is important that the material is as straight as it can be going into the press.

Feeders

Air Feeder

This air feeder feeds copper-clad material into a mechanical press. Two sliding pieces alternate movement to feed the material into the press.


Material feeders are vital to a smoothly running punch press. A feeder determines the amount of material that is fed into the press, so having a consistent set amount of material specified for each product is very important. There are a couple of different styles of feeders, and determining which feeder is best for your situation can vastly improve run time efficiency.

Next week we’ll start off by looking at the different styles of material un-coilers.

Monday Manufacturing Round-Up: March 31st, 2014

Monday Manufacturing Round-Up

Heading into the last day of the month, and the last second stretch to finish up tax filings, accountants across the country are making their final push to make it through another busy season. As for the rest of the country, job creation numbers have looked good so far in this first quarter, but some say that the job numbers aren’t the biggest determinant of a recovered economy. On to the links:

There are some of the biggest headlines in manufacturing for March 31st, 2014. Here’s to a productive start to your week!

Monday Manufacturing Round-Up: March 17th, 2014

Monday Manufacturing Round-Up

The third week of March always seems to mark the beginning of IT managers across the country slowing down their bandwidth to try to keep everyone focused on work, as opposed to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. However, heading into this week there’s some good news for home buyers and factories, but some skepticism amongst home builders. On to the links:

Get those brackets done at lunch today, the madness begins on Wednesday. Here’s to a productive start to your week!

Mechanical vs Hydraulic Punch Presses

What’s the Difference Between a Mechanical and Hydraulic Press?

While serving the same purpose and having, mostly, the same general anatomy, there are some key differences between mechanical and hydraulic punch presses. The main structures that we discussed two weeks ago (Straight Side and C-Frame) can still be applied to both mechanical and hydraulic presses, however the difference lies with how the energy to cycle the ram is created.

Mechanical Power

A mechanical press generates its power, mechanically, meaning that a motor is connect in a variety of ways to a crankshaft that cycles the ram for one complete operation. The motor that generates the momentum is connected to a flywheel via belts, and in simple punch presses, is connected to the crankshaft and controlled by an attached clutch. In some bigger punch presses, the flywheel will attach to a pinion that attaches to an additional gear that rotates the crankshaft. In Straight Side presses, there will typically be two pinions and gears that run the singular crankshaft.

Mechanical Press

Here a mechanical press is continuously running through cycles. The main flywheel at the right feeds the clutch the power from the motor to cycle the crankshaft continuously.

Benefits of Mechanical Punch Presses

  • Speed. The speed in which mechanical presses can be ran are higher than hydraulic presses. This allows for higher production and efficiency.
  • Consistency of tonnage at bottom of the stroke. With a mechanical press, you’re maximum tonnage delivery happens in a smaller window as compared to a hydraulic press. However, this again helps attribute to the speed at which mechanical presses can be ran because you know the absolute limit of what your press will be hitting at the bottom of its stroke.

Hydraulic Power

Hydraulic Press

The hydraulic punch press has no flywheel, and runs via pressure from hydraulic fluid.

Hydraulic punch presses run off of pressurized hydraulic fluid, just like any hydraulic machinery would. The ram of a hydraulic press is hooked up to a cylinder that receives hydraulic fluid via a motor that pumps the fluid.

Hydraulic presses tend to be used for slower, deep draw parts. The reason hydraulic presses are used for deep draw parts is because the hydraulic power allows for a more consistent source of pressure in a larger range of the stroke, as compared to a mechanical press. Hydraulic presses may be used for faster running parts as well, however, the ability to run deep draw parts is diminished the faster the press is ran. Ensuring that the proper amount of force is applied at the bottom of the stroke is crucial as well, to avoid over exertion of the material causing ripping and potential damage to the die and press.

Hydraulic Press Ram

Here is the ram of a hydraulic press. As you can see, there the tubing connecting directly to the ram that forces in hydraulic fluid to operate the punch press.

Benefits of Hydraulic Punch Presses

  • Better forming and drawing capabilities. Hydraulic presses have a wider window within the stroke path of the stroke because the compressed air requires less motion to exert its full force compared to a rotating motor and flywheel.
  • Better for smaller runs.
  • Shut height variations don’t affect the force that can be applied.

Both mechanical and hydraulic presses have their strengths and weaknesses, but factoring in the different parts and functions you can create with a die, both styles of presses will always have a place to be used.