The Significant Role of Precision Tools in Machineries for Packaging Plants
25 October 2021
The demand for filling and packaging lines is growing worldwide, particularly in emerging and developing countries. The trend toward individualised packaging requires dynamic, flexible plants with high throughput rates. The packaging industry continuously faces new challenges. There are new trends in machine building, new requirements from producers and machine buyers but also regulatory changes. Therefore, it becomes increasingly crucial to develop future-proof machine concepts, business models and services in a digitalised and networked industry – both for machine builders and for plant operators.
Spark Erosion Technology
Straight to business, spark erosion equipment is not like conventional cutting technology. There’s not a single abrasive disc or cutting blade around. Replacing those forceful, kinetically aggressive tools, an electrically charged electrode discharges a focused point of travelling, material-eroding energy. Eroding thousands of tiny craters per second, the electrode can cut complex outlines into hard metals. Best of all, there’s no contact between the tool and those metals.
With the mechanical, contact-abrasive tool edges gone, that highly charged electrode takes over the job. The metal-to-metal rubbing action is eliminated, replaced by a subtractive cutting process that vaporises tiny quantities of workpiece alloy. Upon discharging the energy, thousands of these eroded voids form highly focused incision marks. To put it another way, the non-contact electrical charge is highly controllable and capable of applying the finest cuts, which can then travel in any direction, as guided by a system of state-of-the-art motion controlling electronics. All the while, as the intricate shapes are applied, there’s no frictional heat generated, so there are no changes to the metal, no material deformations, and no poorly applied cuts to undermine the process.
Dies, Jigs and Fixtures
If a client comes looking for a die, for a quality assured cutting, stamping or stripping tool of any description, the chosen manufacturing operation had better be capable of delivering the goods. That means a tool must be geometrically and dimensionally spot-on. Made to the highest possible engineering tolerances, the dies may be fabricated out of the toughest carbide and duplex steels available to man, but that’s no excuse to use a shoddy fabrication system. If a client specifies a set of dimensional and material tolerances, all of which require fatigue and impact-resistant materials, then those project specs must be observed. Remember, if a customer isn’t satisfied, they will go to another manufacturer, one that’s perhaps located in another state or country. At the end of the day, there really is no substitute for quality.
A jig, the tool type being referred to here, is a type of bench retaining mechanism. Advanced jigs hold and orient workpiece. They also provide smooth planar surfaces and additional tooling features, including guides and fine adjustment controls. If jigs and fixtures don’t do their job properly, well, an accompanying tool, be it a drill bit or a cutting blade, won’t perform its tool stroke as intended.
Whether a client is responsible for a small machine shop or a 100m long production line, the same level of quality-assured manufacturing excellence should always be applied to your dies and fittings. Tool-dense dies need to be formed precisely. Likewise, jig and fixture blocks, whether they’re built to function as simple bench vies or to operate as mounting mechanisms for 5-axis CAD workstations, they must be serviced to the very highest repair standards, as made possible by a top-notch engineering operation.
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