Designing tools and dies is a crucial process in the manufacturing industry that involves engineering solutions for stamping, forming, and assembling products. It impacts the quality, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of producing parts and components. For instance, a well-designed tool and die can significantly enhance production capabilities, reduce lead times, and ensure consistent part quality.
Tool and die designs must follow certain guidelines for efficient and high-quality production. Thus, understanding the main rules and principles is essential for all the various stakeholders involved in the manufacturing process. This includes designers, engineers, manufacturers, and quality control professionals.
Here are 10 key rules in tool and die design:
Rule 1: Understand Product Requirements
The first step includes understanding the product specifications, intended use, performance expectations, and any specific manufacturing processes involved. If this is not met, then the design will not matter because the part will fail.
Rule 2: Ensure Compatibility With Manufacturing Processes
The part design should be optimized for the specific manufacturing processes, ensuring it can be produced without causing unnecessary delays or complications. This means features like cutouts or embosses need to be moved away from the bend lines and features are no smaller than one material thickness.
Rule 3: Select Suitable Materials
Features on the part must be compatible with the type of material. For example, aluminum is easily punched but not easily stretched or strained. This must be taken into consideration when engineering the tooling otherwise the sheet metal parts will be susceptible to breakage.
Rule 4: Maintain Precision and Tolerance
The tolerances and dimensions of a customer drawing will have a big impact on the design considerations of a tool. For example, if a cutout has a high precision call out with very low tolerance but is next to an emboss feature the order of operations will matter because the cutout could be distorted during forming.
Rule 5: Incorporate Die Protection and Safety
Die protection and operator safety are two of the most important aspects of tool and die design. By incorporating die protection sensors, it cuts down on the cost of tool repair and downtime in production. It also protects the operators from debris from any potential mishaps with the tooling.
Rule 6: Design for Manufacturability
Designing for manufacturability is an incredibly important aspect to consider when designing a new tool. A tool must be easy to assemble and take apart and maintain. This keeps downtime and sharpening costs low. Therefore, designing a tool with components that are easy to access is a must.
Rule 7: Optimize Tool and Die Geometry
Optimizing space to make as compact a tool as possible saves on costs for tool steel as well as saves on long term material costs for progressive dies. This means manipulating parts in space to nest them as close together as possible in a tool for maximum cost efficiency. Of course, this is all done within reason because the closer stations are together the thinner (weaker) the die walls become.
Rule 8: Part Ejection and Scrap
The removal of material and ejection of finished parts are an important part of any tool and die design. Good die design keeps parts and scrap separate as they are removed from the tool as well as away from any moving pieces or areas they could get stuck or smashed. This allows for the operator to focus on other areas of the tool as it is running.
Rule 9: Maintain Proper Clearances
It is always important to have the correct clearances throughout the entire tool and die design to maintain functionality and accuracy. If we do not maintain the proper punch and die clearances, we will struggle with burrs and sharp edges. We need to keep the proper forming clearances so that we do not over or under bend the material. We also need to maintain the proper clearances so that all the inserts and locating pins will operate properly in the tool.
Rule 10: Conduct Simulation and Testing
Through virtual simulations or physical prototypes, potential issues can be identified, and necessary adjustments made to optimize performance during production. Doing this helps prevent costly and time-consuming problems down the line.
Verdugo Tool and Engineering Co.: Expert Tool and Die Design for Quality Fabrication!
With a rich history spanning over 60 years, Verdugo Tool and Engineering Co. have been a reliable partner for top-quality metal fabrication solutions. From expert tool and die design to precise metal stamping and value-added services, our experienced team is dedicated to delivering outstanding results.