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To design a progressive die to produce an automotive component with a narrow stock width

ESI Group : 01 August, 2007  (Company News)
Creating a virtual reality progressive die takes the try-out process off the shop floor and into the engineering office where it can be carried out faster and without tying up presses. We determined the process, developed the initial blank, accurately determined the flow of
material during the first draw form, evaluated the impact of springback on finished tolerances, and monitored thinning percentages before we even began building the die.”

Precise Engineering USA based company, designs and builds complex progressive dies. Engineers simulate every die to validate the process before the actual design stage begins.

Precise Engineering faced the challenge of designing a progressive die to produce an automotive component with a narrow stock width that made it difficult to accomplish a successful draw.

Originally, the part had been designed to be run two across with a stretch carrier on each side and one in the middle to avoid the risk of thinning. As a cost reduction measure, the customer requested that the stock width be reduced by two inches, making it necessary to eliminate the middle stretch carrier. If Precise Engineering had designed the die based on experience, President Pat Quinlan estimates that it would have cost $18,000 to overcome the inevitable thinning problems during startup.

Instead the company’s engineers simulated the drawing and forming process until they perfected the die for a total cost of $3,600. Deep draw creates thinning risk the part is challenging to produce because the combination of a deep draw and a tight material allowance makes it difficult to absorb the stretch during the drawing operation without thinning.

Precise Engineering engineers originally set out to carry the parts two across with three stretch carriers. The original strip provided to the customer for approval had a stock width of 27 inches and a pitch of 12.1 inches. The customer asked Precise Engineering to reduce stock width to 25 inches to comply with the quoted material usage that the customer had submitted to the original equipment manufacturer.

The only way to accomplish this reduction in stock width was to remove the inside stretch carrier that had previously been between the two parts. The challenge was to produce a successful draw without the luxury of this stretch carrier and without exceeding the 20% thinning allowance. The depth of the draw makes it necessary
to provide a pad on the blank to hold the material during the drawing operation. The stretch carriers are created by a trimming operation that precedes drawing and creates a weaker area that allows the blank to pull in, compensating for the stress of the drawing operation, and avoids damage to more critical areas.
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