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News > Case Studies > Solutions for Today's Fabricators

Solutions for Today's Fabricators

No two shop floors are the same. Each is uniquely formed to meet the needs of its customers, requiring a customized setup to ensure high product quality and floor output. 

July 12, 2018

One area of a shop where this particularly rings true is press brake tooling setups. Today, most shops run two or more different styles of press brake tooling. As the needs of their customers change, fabricators are being pushed into multiple tool styles. However, many suppliers are not able to support this need, and shops require multiple vendors to provide additional tooling solutions to their customers.
 
Where shop managers are beginning to see success is partnering with a supplier that provides multiple tool styles to fit their needs. Efficiencies in purchasing, troubleshooting and overall customer service can quickly be attained when working with a one-stop-shop. It is clear that a variety of plant floors are experiencing success with this approach.
 
Turn Impossible to Possible
 
For Larry Calvert, general manager of Sabina Manufacturing, problem solving is an important part of his role.
 
“If we have a problem part that we’re scratching our head on, we’ll send [Wilson Tool International] a drawing, tell them what we want to achieve, and they’ll work through it with us,” said Calvert. “A lot of times when you think it’s not possible, they’ll come up with a way to make it possible with your equipment.”
 
At Sabina, Calvert and his team purchase all European-style tooling. European-style tooling includes lots of options and configurations for most common bending applications. There are two main die styles that include 1V and quick-change 2V dies. Both are offered with a holder that allows alignment-free changeover and no extra fastening step.

European punches are commonly loaded into a segmented holder. The holder’s segmentation allows for shorter punches to be used for box bending since the punch holder creates space for the part, and also increases the height of the punch. Operators like European tooling because they get to handle a smaller, lighter punch.  
 
As general manager, Calvert was brought to Sabina Manufacturing to eliminate bottlenecks and create efficiencies. With one supplier for all of Sabina’s press brake tooling needs, cost and lead times have decreased.
 
“Sometimes it’s not just price that awards the part, it’s how soon the customer can get the part in their hands,” said Calvert. “So, efficiencies, from quoting to the tooling going out the door, help us get awarded parts that we otherwise wouldn’t be awarded.”
 
Increased Efficiencies for Enterprise Welding
 
As director of operations for Enterprise Welding, Phil Carton oversees the production of thousands of different parts. These parts are run on a weekly or monthly basis, requiring 10-15 press brakes operating at full capacity.
 
With this amount of volume, changeover is incredibly important. Around 10 years ago, Phil and his team sought to decrease the changeover time on their floor, setting the lofty goal of cutting their setup times in half or even 75 percent. A large part of accomplishing this goal was standardizing their tooling as much as possible.
 
“When we made the switch to [Wilson Tool], we were able to see the reduction time we wanted,” said Carton. “With standardized press brake tooling and updated controllers, our operators were situated with reliable tooling and programming, right out of the gate.”
 
Currently, Carton and his team use American Precision and WT-style precision press brake tooling. The American Precision tooling is manufactured staged or “common shut height” across the line, so you never need to use shims or risers to get equal height tooling. Different from other tooling styles and manufacturers, setups for staging include various angles and operations in one setup. For instance, a 30-degree, 90-degree and flattening operation can be loaded side-by-side.  
 
WT-style precision press brake tooling is made to run in TRUMPF-style press brakes. Tools are easy and fast to load with a push button mechanism, allowing them to be loaded vertically from the front of the machine instead of the side.

By using one provider for their press brake tooling needs, Carton sees benefits in multiple procedures.
 
“Using multiple products from the same company is an advantage for us as it eliminates points of contact,” said Carton. “From a purchasing standpoint, troubleshooting standpoint and from a service standpoint, it makes the shop more efficient and reliable.”
 
Specific Tooling for Specific Jobs
 
Flexibility is an invaluable asset to attracting new business. Being able to handle a wide variety of unique, low-volume operations without sacrificing turnaround time can only increase your reputation as a wide-range parts provider.
 
For Bryan Layman, plant manager of Tool & Die Systems, the flexibility provided by a broad press brake portfolio allows his shop to handle both large volume work and unique, job-shop operations.
 
“We handle a lot of unique operations when it comes to sheet metal applications, that’s when I ask John [Waller], our Wilson Tool rep for help,” said Layman. “We’ve handled sheet manufacturing before, but we’re a very large-scale job shop, and we need specific tooling for specific jobs.”
  
Like large-volume operations, unique, smaller volume projects rely on short lead times. When Layman and his team have a specific request, success hinges on turnaround time.
 
“Customers want short lead times,” said Layman. “I want them to come to us first and never have to worry about having a need after that.”
 
Consistent Characteristics Multiple Offerings
 
To successfully navigate the unique needs of their customers, plant managers and engineering directors benefit from a provider that holds an in-depth, customized product offering. However, it’s more than just the product portfolio that needs to win. Short lead times, increased shop efficiencies, and being able to provide specific solutions to specific problems can help ensure success.
 
Wilson Tool International offers a one-stop shop approach to press brake tooling, holders and accessories. To learn more, call our Bending tooling technicians at 800-445-4518, bending@wilsontool.com or visit wilsontool.com/onestopshop.

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