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News > Case Studies > Rabies tag manufacturer experiences greater productivity with Impax Tooling Solutions

Rabies tag manufacturer experiences greater productivity with Impax Tooling Solutions

For dog and cat owners, one of the most routine responsibilities is a trip to the vet for annual vaccinations and rabies shots. 

February 1, 2015

For dog and cat owners, one of the most routine responsibilities is a trip to the vet for annual vaccinations and rabies shots. With millions of domestic animals throughout the country, that accounts to just as many rabies tags that need to be produced on an annual basis. For Stone Manufacturing, the company that manufacturers the aluminum and stainless steel tags, it’s a pretty tall order.

“We manufacture millions of tags a year,” said Randy Parks, plant engineer at the Kansas City-based facility. “Small animal veterinarians need a lot of tags since the animals have to be vaccinated once a year, so we’re always working on producing next year’s tags.”

As well as the volume, the company manufactures several different shapes for their tags, a process that requires regular die set changeover for the punch and die components.

With such high volume production and frequent changeover, the company needed ultimate efficiencies with their punch and die components. Using fixed die sets, the team at Stone Manufacturing struggled with alignment issues and spent significant time completing changeouts.

“We really needed something that provided quick interchanges so we could swap out punches and die blocks for each shape and then be ready to run,” Parks said. “And the alignment is essential. The entire setup has to be very precise. If there is a milli-second of an angle difference on the positioning, then it’s not going to work.”

Working with Wilson Tool, Stone Manufacturing implemented a high performance ball lock tooling system from Impax Tooling Solutions® that provided rails and individual ball lock punch holders. The new setup allowed for faster changeouts and more accurate positioning, which in turn provided increased accuracy, consistency and productivity.

“It used to take us an hour and a half to change out the punch and die set, whereas now we can do it in about 20 minutes,” Parks said. “That was a big change in terms of productivity.”

As well as more efficient production and faster changeover, reduced tooling maintenance downtime and extending die life are essential criteria for Stone Manufacturing to maintain their production standards.

“We manufacture a lot of stainless steel tags, and that material can be very rough on tooling,” Parks said. “Our customers don’t like it when we leave a burr, so we have to be very die conscious and sharpen our dies between every 25,000 to 50,000 tags. That frequent sharpening can really wear on the life of the die.”

To help Stone Manufacturing achieve a longer die life, Wilson Tool suggested a TiCrN coating, which provides a nano-layer of coating that is suitable for piercing and especially effective for high-pressure forming applications.

“The coating has worked out really well for us and helps extend the die life,” Parks said. “I’d estimate we achieve about 10 – 15% better die life with the coated punches, which helps overall production and efficiencies.”

Achieving increased production and longer die life with their new tooling system and coating solution, Stone Manufacturing regularly works with Wilson Tool on troubleshooting and fine tuning for each specific application. This partnership approach to working together in turn helps the manufacturer keep vets – and cats and dogs – across the country supplied with brand new rabies tags each year.

“The people we work with at Wilson Tool are real personable and have a lot of expertise and knowledge,” Parks said. “That helps us provide efficiencies and overall production outcomes that we can pass on to our customers.”

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