MATE tooling was used to design a cable management system component with minimum material thickness to reduce material costs without compromising on its strength.
Rising sheetmetal prices due to heavy demand in Asia and the Middle East are impacting profit margins of sheetmetal manufacturers.
Reducing raw material costs has become the latest challenge for component fabricators serving the engineering and mining sectors in Australia and New Zealand.
But smart tooling technology can help make a positive impact on margins while avoiding costly trial and error processes to reach a solution.
A manufacturer of electrical enclosures and cable management systems in Europe employing a typical turret punching/forming machine wanted to use the minimum material thickness in order to reduce the cost of the component.
The component was part of a walkway used in a cable management system, and hence needed to be strong enough to be walked on without deformation.
The applications specialists at MATE Tooling were presented with the challenging task of combining structural strength with minimum material thickness to manufacture the component.
The solution involved implementing a non-spring loaded custom beaded embossing using MATE forming tools.
A beaded embossing or bend is a common way to add strength to a sheetmetal component. As the material is deformed, the effective material thickness increases to make it stiffer.
The hexagonal solution using MATE tooling combined the natural strength of a hexagon with the functionality of a beading tool into a non-spring loaded custom beaded emboss tool.
Measuring 50mm across the flats, the hexagonal shape exceeds the design parameters for some brands of size-2 spring loaded tools, but the shallow height of 1mm and the gentle angle of 60 degrees made this situation an ideal application for non-spring loaded tools.
The upper assembly is a two-piece construction that includes the upper inverted die and a combined shank and alignment ring.
The lower tool is a simple die with the profile of the emboss machined on the surface. As the sheet moves, it is stripped from the form on the lower tool.
One of the challenges with this tool is to ensure that subsequent cycles of the tool do not crush previous forms. Knowing that these forms would be used close together, MATE included a relief at the corner of each form to prevent the previous form being crushed.
The resultant form was strong, aesthetically pleasing and provided good traction. This application was successful because the customer and the tool supplier collaborated in the design process.
MATE Tooling is represented in Australia and New Zealand by Maxitec .