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News > Case Studies > Partech Corporation reduces punch breakage and parts deformation with TiCrN and Optima® coatings

Partech Corporation reduces punch breakage and parts deformation with TiCrN and Optima® coatings

When it comes to precision manufacturing, Partech Corporation takes the practice seriously. Specializing in fineblanking, the Minneapolis-based manufacturer produces parts and related components for a variety of industries that demand exacting requirements on finished parts, such medical devices, aerospace components, hydraulics and electronics.

April 15, 2015

“Fineblanking is unlike any other punch press operation because the system implements hydraulic forces from both sides of the sheet metal to create a fine edge on the finished part that can’t be achieved with a standard punch press brake,” said Tom Strand, tool room / production manager at Partech. “With fineblanking, second-operation machining is not required.”

Several months ago, Strand and his team ran into challenges producing a specific beryllium copper part designed for hydraulic equipment controls. The part was considerably small in size, and each run resulted in stripping challenges, broken punches and deformed parts.

“The material was relatively thick, and we had a lot of breakage on the punch because we were working with copper,” Strand said. “We were also having trouble getting the blank to strip from the punch, which would in turn deform the part slightly.”

Working with Wilson Tool, Strand implemented a special coating for the punches. A product called TiCrN, the coating is a nano layer applied to the punch that is suitable for piercing and especially designed for high-pressure forming applications. Offering a hardness of 4000 HV, the TiCrN coating provides very high hardness, low friction resulting in galling resistance, and a pale yellow color for easier visual identification.

After implementing the coating on the punches, Strand and his team saw results almost immediately.

“Part deformation shot way down,” he said. “Plus, we haven’t broken a punch since we put the coating on and that was three or four months ago. Before the coating we were breaking those little punches all the time.”

With such success applying punch coatings to produce the beryllium copper parts, Strand and his team decided to implement coatings for a nickel part that was proving challenging as well. He turned to Wilson Tool again, and this time implemented the company’s Optima® coating. Just as with the coating for the copper part, the positive results for forming the nickel part were instantaneous.

“The coating made a major difference right away,” Strand said. “Just like with the copper part, our nickel part is stripping and flying right out, forming properly and looking the best it’s ever looked.”

The Optima coating implemented for the nickel part is designed for piercing, blanking and trimming, and provides a hardness of 3500 HV. Much harder than traditional a TiCN coating, the Optima coating provides increased wear resistance, improved surface finish, and greater resistance to corner breakdown.

As well as reduced punch breakage and properly formed parts, Partech Corporation has experienced an increase in overall operational efficiencies by adding the punch coatings for both the beryllium copper and nickel parts.

“By adding punch coatings for both parts, we doubled the run per sharpening right away,” Strand said. “We haven’t had to sharpen the die yet since we’ve implemented the coatings.”

Requiring about two to three hours of labor every time a die needs to be sharpened, Strand estimates the company has saved several hours in labor alone because of the increased run time between die sharpenings. Combining reduced sharpening labor with fewer broken punches and a better quality part, overall productivity has improved and customers are happy.

“Our customers are tickled to death with their parts,” Stand said. “The high counts that come off the run, the way the parts look, the way the punches hold up … all of these results help us keep our customers happy and our operations more efficient. The coatings from Wilson Tool are a good quality product that gave us the results we needed. You can’t ask for more than that.”


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