Standard parts Standardisation as a tool for success in die and mould making
Standardisation along the entire value chain plays a key role in the success of a company. In die making it also offers great economic benefits — but how?
The world is getting smaller — both logistically and economically. Globalisation increases the competitive pressure on die makers, but also offers the chance to profit from orders in fast-growing markets. At the same time the innovation wheel is turning at an increasingly faster speed, which requires adaptability and flexibility from companies. The high cost and time pressure force companies to constantly improve their efficiency. A high degree of standardisation along the entire process chain offers an excellent opportunity to drastically reduce costs and project lead times.
In the product life cycle of a die, it is important to take a holistic view of the costs. Right from the beginning of a project, possible savings should be considered. The use of standard parts has a positive effect on the overall cost. Helpful questions are for example: Are there die components which can be standardised? If so, what possibilities are there to fall back on for internally standardised parts or die set concepts? Could these parts be bought from an external standard parts manufacturer? There is a lot of savings potential in this that helps gain clear competitive advantages.
The design phase is crucial
The costs of a die set can be greatly influenced during the development phase, whereas during serial production at the end of the product life cycle they can barely be reduced. During the development phase digital wizards can be used to carry out a quick pre-calculation of the project. This guarantees a high degree of planning security and can help in deciding whether or not to realise a project. The designer chooses the positioning of the parts and the machining sequence in the die. It’s up to them how the individual machining stations or the feed are designed. In this phase, the production parameters, with which the die will later work in the stamping workshop are set. Furthermore, the designers decide if the die set can be made from in-stock standard plates or if customised special plates must be used. The more standard parts are used, the higher the percentage of fixed calculable costs. The standard parts manufacturer provides the necessary resources, and they also bear the risk of manufacturing errors. When designing dies, the advantage of standard parts is that predefined CAD data is available and configurators or wizards help to select or configure the right standard parts for the respective requirements. When making the die, the lead time is reduced because the components are already available in a prefabricated and partly heat-treated state. In series production, non-productive times and waiting times caused by broken dies are drastically reduced by using standardised parts.
Digital wizards help to reach goals quickly
By using standard components savings can be made in all areas. This begins with a fast and reliable pre-calculation. To this end, the standard parts manufacturer Meusburger provides wizards which allow to put together all the necessary components for a project quickly and easily and which can be saved for later. CAD data of complete die sets can be exported from the Meusburger web shop or offline shop to all common CAD systems with just a few clicks. This gives the designer more time to concentrate on the actual critical points of a die.
Creating quality standards
Establishing quality standards starts with the material. The share of material costs in the total cost of a product is relatively low. However, the material has an influence on the production costs of the die and, as a consequence, on the series production and maintenance costs. Those required for repairing, cleaning or setting up can be easily identified. However, the cost of delivery delays or customer complaints is difficult to identify. Such follow-up costs can be reduced by using high-grade steel that has been heat-treated for stress relief and machined within precise form and position tolerances. Meusburger now offers over 40,000 items in die making, which are specially tailored to customer requirements. The high-grade steel used at Meusburger is heat-treated for stress relief and the company guarantees exact form and position tolerances, so their low deformation material has a big influence on the manufacturing and maintenance costs of the die. The manufacturer’s versatile bars in various shapes, dimensions and material grades are suitable for use as wear plates, retainer plates or cutting dies. With already hardened tool steel, for example blocks for eroding, a lot of time can be saved. Similarly, standardised components create the best conditions for a wide variety of applications. From guides to cutting elements and springs through to innovative and exclusive active parts, the standards part expert offers a wide range.
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Machining standards and design guidelines
By introducing an internal specifications document, machining standards and design guidelines can be established. Design guidelines are the basis for standardisation in die making. Over the entire life cycle of a product, the ability to influence the cost is highest during the design stage. The internal specifications document helps to reduce the variety of components used and thus keeps the number of variants to a minimum. Therefore a higher economic efficiency is reached through the learning curve effect and cost advantages which result from larger batch sizes and order quantities. Ultimately, the specifications document also serves as a tool for the continuous monitoring of adherence to the predefined standards. Experts at Meusburger have created a specifications document template for design. This ensures that users do not forget anything during the creation of their own internal specifications document and so that they can quickly select the appropriate components.
Uniform quality standards of standard parts, such as high-grade steel, which has been heat-treated for stress relief, precise form and position tolerances, and optimal heat treatment create ideal conditions for manufacturing dies. All employees of a die maker should be involved in the further development of these standards and guidelines.
Through a systematic and consistent standardisation of products and processes, major savings in time and cost can be made, thus creating the decisive basis for the long-term success of a company. From the quick pre-calculation of a project with the help of digital wizards, time savings through predefined CAD data and the use of standard parts configurators, to the reduction of non-productive and waiting times in the event of broken dies, the use of standard parts in die making provides decisive competitive advantages.