The company in question produces large electronic enclosures. Until recently, it had been using a large piece of expanded foam to separate each panel during transportation.
But this foam is expensive to purchase, awkward to store, and difficult to dispose of at the ultimate destination.
Consultants from Mate identified that the ideal solution was to fabricate a small, disposable metal clip that could be attached to each panel so as to separate them during shipping – effectively putting the solution ‘outside the box’.
Following discussion and careful analysis, they developed a prototype using a lance-and-form assembly purchased from Mate. Once the concept was proven, all parties moved into production mode using a Cluster, Double Form Tool and Blanking tool from Mate.
This fabricator uses Finn-Power sheetmetal machines; however, the solution developed by Mate could work effectively with any tooling system.
In order to produce this disposable component as cheaply possible, the parts needed to be produced with a minimum amount of handling.
The Mate packaging clip solution uses three tools, four hits, and almost no handing.
- Pre-pierce around the form – two hits, with a progressive cluster tool
- Form the two clips on one hit
- Blank the finished components into the scrap chute
Since the pre-pierce shape required to create the profile around the form would have resulted in a substantial cantilever (weak die), the Mate applications team recommended a progressive cluster tool.
Each hit pierces the right and left hand side of adjacent components, together with the hanging hole.
The forming tool created both forms in a single hit and is relieved to prevent crushing the adjacent forms.
Finally, the blanking tool is relieved in the centre to prevent crushing the forms of the part being blanked. It is also relieved around the side to prevent damage to the adjacent forms.
This application, combined with the customers ‘outside-the-box’ concept, eliminates many sources of waste including procurement, storage, and disposal of the foam packaging material.
The Mate packaging clip solution is another demonstration how innovative tooling solutions save customers time, money, and resources.