Die Identification – A Critical Part of the Stamping Operation

DieCrashIt’s one thing to stamp out a bunch of bad parts because the die hasn’t been properly maintained, but it is another to suffer through a crash because the wrong shut height was set. Failure means hours or even days of downtime and hundreds of thousands of dollars in repair expenses. The fact is, both are preventable with a very simple RFID solution.

Let’s face it, stamping presses aren’t the most technologically advanced machines in our industry. With all the multi-axis, CNC driven machines out there nowadays a press can look somewhat archaic. However, they are one of the most widely utilized machines across the globe today and have been for many years. I can’t say how many times I have walked into a press shop and witnessed 30 year old presses in full operation. So while they may be the dinosaurs in the world of machines, their flawless operation is critical.

One sure way to protect this critical process is to incorporate RFID. Simply affixing an RFID tag to the die can inform the operator of the following:

  • Die location
  • Use Data
  • Repair Data
  • Setup Data
  • Shut Height
  • Feed Material
  • Correct Transfers
  • Number of Hits

All this information is recorded to the tag’s memory and can be read with either a handheld or fixed reader. Since the tag can be read and written to, the information on the tag can be updated after every job or periodic maintenance.

Everyone knows that properly maintained tools extend the life of equipment and help ensure quality products are being produced, but recording this data is another story. The safest and most secure method of recording data about a die is RFID. There are no documents to lose, or illegible handwriting to decipher because the RFID tag is secured directly to the die. Incorporating a die protection program is certainly not a major undertaking. On the contrary, recovering from a crash can cause a major strain on time and resources.

Learn more about solutions for the Metal Stamping industry by visiting Balluff’s website.

Customization of RFID tag holders and mounting accessories

Does your RFID application require a customized tag holder? What about special brackets for read/write heads and processors? Don’t have the bandwidth to design the mounting hardware required for your unique application? The Balluff Customizing Group can help! If you are implementing the BIS C, BIS L, BIS M or BIS U RFID systems we will make sure you get the performance your application demands.

For several years the Balluff Customizing Group has been working directly with engineers and maintenance personal to provide design and development services for RFID mechanical accessories. The process is streamlined and very straight forward. Please contact Balluff’s Technical Support Professionals to discuss your RFID application.

Here are a few recent examples of RFID projects in the Customizing Group:

1) RFID Pistol Grip Read/Write Head for BIS M data carriers. The modular design can be used with M12, M18 and M30 tubular read/write heads for logistics tracking of incoming and outgoing shipments.

PistolGrip

2) Keyfob with embedded BIS C data carrier. Individual access codes are programmed to the tags allowing only authorized personnel to enter restricted areas.

Keyfob Keyfob2

3) BIS M read/write data carriers embedded in stainless steel NPT plug for Production Tracking.

DataCarrier

Tracking low-cost assets with RFID tags…Is it worth it?

First, a lesson in Lexicography

Lexi-what!? Don’t be alarmed. This blog is not as boring as it sounds, especially if you are involved in manufacturing. Lexicography is the art of compiling, writing and editing dictionaries. Sounds like a ton of fun, but let’s move quickly to the point to prevent nausea or inducing sleep. Value, according to dictionary.com when used as a noun, is defined as relative worth, merit, or importance. Notice, the lexicographer mentions nothing about cost.

Tracking valuable assets using RFID within the walls of a plant has become common practice for many organizations. Tracking fork trucks, specialized equipment, machinery and other high cost items are a no-brainer. However, experienced users of RFID technology have realized that it is important to know the location of a high cost asset, but it is paramount to know the location of a high value item.

Defining the VALUE of assets (tools, measurement and calibration devices, specialized machines etc.) can be a tricky game. Conversely, it is not difficult to record the cost of an asset on a balance sheet. A tool which has a cost of $50 doesn’t have a VALUE of $50.

Do you really know what your assets are worth? Is your $50 tool worth hundreds, thousands, or even millions? How is that possible? This is fairly straight forward. If that tool is an integral part in the operation of the manufacturing line then every minute that tool is “missing” is a minute of downtime. How much does a minute of downtime cost your company? How much does an hour of downtime cost your company? Does this tool help your final product conform to standards? What is the cost of nonconformance? What are the financial implications of a product recall? These questions need to be addressed when determining whether or not you should track your assets.

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