Progressive tooling is a process that is perfectly suited for the continuous production of sheet metal parts which are usually large and thin, and which have a relatively complex geometry. While perfectly square or rectangular pieces would also be suitable for use with a progressive tool, it is not generally necessary to use this complex tool on simpler metal shapes.
The intermediate steps which are carried out in progressive tooling results from the pressing force and the associated set stroke height. Some of the normal steps associated with progressive tooling include pressing, bending, punching, edging, stamping, and ejecting. It can be said that progressive tooling provides an alternative to using a transfer press because, with a progressive tool, a whole series of machine steps can be executed by using a single press stroke.
Progressive tools are typically designed to process strip material, which is pushed on through the tool by means of using an upstream uncoiler, with each stroke having a precise trip guide. Any product going through this process will be worked on consecutively at processing stations that have been set up to successively conduct their operations on the product.
Separating the product from its band is not done until the last station in the process is reached, and then it will generally fall through an opening into a container that has been specially provided for the purpose. Any stamping scrap which is produced along the way would then be collected into suitable containers using a conveyor technology that forwards the scrap to the desired container.
Depending on how a progressive tool might be designed, it is possible to carry out other processing steps such as lateral edging, which would be applied to the end product. Any progressive machining tool represents an extremely efficient way of producing products, especially those which are produced in very high quantities. The thing which makes all this possible is a very efficient running progressive machining tool, which is regularly serviced so that its operation stays as smooth and consistent as possible.
Where Progressive Tools are Used
Any kind of progressive tooling will be used on some kind of automatic stamping process, and it is simply not possible to use any kind of manual operation with a progressive tool, nor would it be useful if it could be done. Some of the most common applications for progressive machining tools are in the automotive industry, electronics, household appliances, and manufacturing industries.
The ability of a progressive tool to produce complex products makes it extremely valuable and useful in those industries described above. Production processes can be automated to a very high degree when progressive tools are being used, and it’s very often possible to convert ordinary processes into progressive processes by overhauling them.
For pressing and stamping machinery which is not designed to accommodate progressive machining tools, it is still possible to install progressive machining tools and then to adapt an organization’s processes to the new operations which include progressive tools. This can create some tremendous efficiencies where large quantity production runs are required, and where it is necessary to control costs.
When progressive tools are installed on a given organization, it will generally be necessary to adapt company processes and train employees, so that they’re capable of handling very sensitive production equipment. It will also be necessary to regularly maintain the sensitive equipment, so that it’s capable of performing at a high level, and not breaking down during long production runs.
Regular inspection of the sensitive equipment will also help to identify any issues before they can develop into full-blown problems which might be very costly and which might trigger breakdowns. As any manufacturer can tell you, when a critical machine breaks down, it always ends up resulting in lost revenues for the company. Regular servicing will also be a time where modernization and upgrading can take place so that progressive tools can be performing at their best, and so that any new emerging technology can be incorporated into the equipment and taken advantage of.
Control over Progressive Tooling
Progressive tools are far more complex than their mono-functional machining counterparts, such as simple pressing and punching tools common to many industrial functions. Progressive tools generally also include several integrated actuators whose functions require adjustment, so that they synchronize with the timing of production processes. That makes it very important to control progressive machining tools to maintain as much productivity as possible during production runs.
One way to do this is to connect actuators and sensors from a progressive tool with the actual controller of a press and to then use a software solution that provides for control of the punches, presses, and automats. Your production peripherals can thus be integrated with press controller systems, or production plants can be equipped with controllers that are standard to the industry.
Services required by Progressive Tools
Given the fact that a highly sensitive and tremendously productive tool has been installed at your organization, it only makes sense to keep it running at its best so that it can continue to deliver high productivity rates and high-quality products. It is, therefore, necessary that a progressive tool receive knowledgeable installation so that it’s capable of performing up to the manufacturer’s intended specifications, and all connections must be made as required by the manufacturer.
There are also a number of peripherals that can be used to maintain or enhance the performance of a production progressive machining tool. Some of these peripherals include coil lines, uncoilers, scrap shears, discharge conveyors, loading systems, and unloading systems. While all of these may not be necessary to your specific industry processes, at least some of them would likely increase the efficiency of your operation and reduce the strain on your progressive machining tool.
When you’re considering the installation of a progressive tool at your organization, you should also consider whether or not some of these peripherals would be beneficial to your company and its processes. To get the most out of your progressive tool, consider how it should be set up and how you want it to function.