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Fineblanking – more than only a method of production

The process chain for sheet metal processing has changed fundamentally over the last 20 years.

While before such production operations, as cutting of blanks, piercing of holes and cut-outs, production of threaded extensions or forming works, had to be carried out separately and on various machines, now this is done for medium to large sheet metal parts of small and medium series for example on an piercing machine and laser as one machine and on a swage-bending press.

On the contrary, in large-lot production of small and functional parts such press is used that is constructed today as a highly efficient automatic machine and is usually equipped with progressive tools. From this perspective, even if various procedures and processes were optimized in the past, they basically relied on the ”old base“. However, thereby no quantitative jumps are possible with respect to the growth of productivity and reproducible quality as well as mainly with respect to the growth of values, whereby the above-mentioned ”old base“ is getting more and more under the pressure of cost reduction, in spite of all progress achieved. The only way out of this closed circle is a consistent change in thinking and unbiased searching for alternatives. At the same time, however, all relevant aspects and impacts should be examined strictly and consistently, in many cases bringing with itself a breach of or ”doubts“ about the given taboo. This everything according to the motto: Does a plastic part also have to be such in the future or could it not be replaced by a more functional sheet metal part that can be produced more cheaply? Does a really complex casting or forged part have to be used here or would not a functionally integrated sheet metal design group be better, whereby both material and working time, machines and tools can be saved? Is it essential to produce multifunctional sheet metal groups from cut out, pierced, treated with laser, bended, forced out, pinned, coated and connected sheet metal parts or would it not be better to choose, as an alternative to previous costs, complete production in the form of fineblanking and further combinations of fineblanking and forming?

Fineblanking as a competitive factor

The answer is obvious as in fineblanking – simply said – accurate, repeatable sheet metal parts are created after each stroke of the press that can be mounted immediately and that need to be ironed in case of very special requirements. Many functions can be designed for parts and groups of parts from various steel, copper, aluminium materials and alloys, whereby both the number of mechanical parts inside the design group is reduced and the number of the individual operations is restricted considerably up to assembly of components. Consequently, it means decrease in more machines, presses and agents as well as implement and tools, etc., so it is considerably more economical compared to firstly generally higher purchase costs of shearing devices and manipulation auxiliary devices and tool systems. As a leader in the fineblanking market, the Swiss company Feintool Technology AG, CH-3250 Lyss offers its customers from various sectors a complete range of technologies, products and services, starting with design and material consultancy concerning production of tools and designing of stamping systems, and ending with service and training of customer personnel. Fineblanking is similar to normal or scissor cutting, however, it allows series production of accurate parts without slightly torn or torn shearing areas without additional working, and parts can be produced with integration of forming and piercing operations into one working process. The three-force principle in a tool and a press used in fine blanking and combined fine blanking and forming guarantees very high accuracy of dimensions, levelness and shape, so no further machining and finishing activities are necessary, even for very demanding accurate parts for mechanical/electromechanical drives and transmissions.

Continuous examination of costs and creation of values

It is already obvious from the example of geared wheels from gearbox what savings of materials and machining can be achieved if fineblanking or combined shearing/forming is preferred to production by machining. Normally, chip machining means: cutting of a semi-finished product, cutting out of internal holes, cutting out by the eye, straightening, working of external dimensions, working of tooth tops on external dimensions, milling of teeth, placing of holes, pinning/finishing! On the contrary, fineblanking requires: fine blanking, bevelling of tooth tops, pinning/finishing! As modern progressive or module tools are able to combine in themselves various operations of fine blanking and forming, it is possible to produce sheet metal parts only in one stroke. In practice, it leads to savings of up to 70% and more, in dependence on the number of pieces, with regard to the functional integration and scrap of mechanical parts necessary before for the same or increased output. Moreover, the combination of fineblanking/forming gives designers and manufacturers other possibilities for creative and alternative solutions, further leading to correct advantages concerning cost productivity as well as competition. Forming of external and internal main contours of a flat sheet metal part by means of fine blanking can be optionally supplemented, in case of combined fineblanking, by bending, dimpling, pushing through, piercing, bowing, deep drawing and connecting. Thereby the individual designs of parts for integrated functions can be implemented, which reduces both the number of parts in the design group and the costs of production and assembly. The technological and percentage potential of fineblanking technology is of importance especially in multifunctional parts, in many cases replacing both conventional technical parts and their production devices.

Summary

Parts produced using the fineblanking and forming technology find application in all areas of both professional and private life and they take care e.g. in home appliances of increased comfort, in automotive technology of efficiency and safety or in design groups and devices using drive technology of dynamic and repeatably accurate movements and actions. Either classic precisely cut parts, such as scissors and knives, stable elements for manual tongs and electrical tools, drive elements and geared wheels for gearboxes, mechanical or elecromechanickal ratchets and moving mechanisms in cars or special parts for sport devices and medical technology, fineblanking and forming technology always takes care so that output, safety, service life, comfort and low maintenance are in accordance with provided economy in production.

02. 07. 2007

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