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News > Case Studies > Impax® Tooling Solutions helps Blount International reduce tooling costs dramatically.

Impax® Tooling Solutions helps Blount International reduce tooling costs dramatically.

Blount International, Inc. is a worldwide manufacturer of replacement parts, equipment and accessories for the forestry, lawn and garden, agricultural, and concrete finishing industries. At its manufacturing facility in Kansas City, Missouri, the company produces a variety of lawn mower blades, saw chains and other outdoor equipment parts under the brand name OREGON®.

August 1, 2014

In order to manufacture some of the highest quality products in the industry, Blount International needs stamping punches that can withstand the rigors of their ever-increasing production needs.

For years, the company had relied on a single supplier for all their standard and special shaped punches. That is until they ordered a specialty shaped punch from Impax® Tooling Solutions by Wilson Tool and discovered that the cost was about half the price of the competitor’s punch.

“We made the decision to switch to Impax Tooling Solutions then and there and found out that all their other shapes were about half the price as well,” said Rodney Sorensen, [need title] for Blount International. “They provided a higher quality punch and their turnaround time was much better, too.”

Sorensen also appreciated the knowledgeable support he received from the sales and engineering staff at Impax.

The company punches steel from .149” up to .312” thick. On one particular product, their edger line, they use a ball lock punch that experiences significant galling on the side of the punch. To reduce the amount of galling Sorensen suggested trying a coating on the punch.

Optima® coating from Impax Tooling Solutions is a custom-engineered TiCN coating designed to significantly reduce galling in stamping applications like this. Optima coating provides a surface hardness, wear resistance and lubricity unmatched by any other coated or uncoated stamping tool. 

In order to determine the coating’s effectiveness, Sorensen and his colleagues set up a test. They ran the same stamping operation for 24,000 strokes with a coated punch and 24,000 strokes with an uncoated punch. The results were undeniable, you could see the difference in the galling on the uncoated punch compared to the punch coated with Optima coating.

“Just by adding the Optima coating we doubled the life of our tooling, so we get another 50 percent savings,” said Sorensen. “By switching to Impax Tooling Solutions we’ve saved over 100 percent. We really have. The tooling pays for itself now.”

Sorensen says they’ve tried coatings from other tooling providers, but they didn’t seem to hold up as well as the Optima coating.

Today, Blount International orders nearly all of their stamping tooling from Impax Tooling Solutions and every punch is coated with Optima.

They’ve even begun ordering specialty punches they had once done in-house from Impax. With production going up, ordering more special tooling from Impax Tooling frees up in-house EDM machines to do other work.

According to Sorensen, there is a very good reason for making the switch to Impax, “The cost savings are too significant to ignore. Imagine if we’d done this 20 years ago!”

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