Have you ever heard the phrase, “Nine pounds of stuff in a one pound bag?”, or otherwise known as the “Blivet Effect?”
I’ve recently experience this, actually four incidences in three different companies to be exact. It revolves the wrong shut height. When the recipe in a press doesn’t match die dimensions, or when the die dimensions are estimated, some bad things can happen.
In all of these companies, stamping presses of various tonnage ratings were run with a die that was over shut height dimension (the first hit caused a kaboom!). Dies were locked up so badly, that they had to be torched, cut, and/or mechanically coaxed out. In all cases, it took several days for this process to take place, causing lost production and significant down time (not to mention the financial loss and aggravation for a multitude of employees).
In order to eliminate these situations, here are two off-the-shelf electronic solutions that can be installed:
- Linear Transducers – Provide Measurement Feedback and Electronic Reference
The body of a magnetostrictive transducer is mounted to the press frame. A mechanical arm that moves a magnet (captive on a track or floating above the surface of a profile-style transducer) along the distance of the transducer provides continuous analog feedback (typically 0-10V or 4-20mA output) to provide precise distance feedback. The electronic feedback is translated into inches or millimeters and a correct reference shut height dimension is displayed. Transducers are manufactured in lengths to match all stamping stroke requirements, from a few inches to over 12 feet.
- UHF RFID – Identify proper die and selected recipe (Varying sizes and shapes of dies mandates reading tags from a long distance with a wide range of tag locations)
The benefits of this solution are that adding UHF RFID eliminates damages to dies and press and substantially reduces downtime. It also offer the hidden benefit of Traceability. Traceability allows the integration of die utilization in press with Active Plant system to track usage results. This leads to better management of die assets for preventive maintenance.
In one organization, for an investment of $5K, an estimated $240-$320K was saved in one year because catastrophic events were prevented using UHF RFID.
So, if you’re experiencing problems with your shut height in metal forming and have locked-up a stamping die or injured a press, these solutions could save you in expensive downtime!