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News > Technical Articles > Stamping > Proper Care to Stay Ahead of Tool Wear

Proper Care to Stay Ahead of Tool Wear

Reduce downtime and costs for replacment tooling

March 31, 2020

Tools are a consumable part; there’s no getting around it. It’s a high-pressure life inside the press, and your tools are taking the repeated brunt of heavy, direct impacts. Using the wrong tools, tools made with inferior metals, or tools in disrepair, can cost a literal fortune in downtime and tool replacement costs.

How Do I Know My Maintenance Intervals?

Ultimately, your maintenance schedule is unique to the job you’re doing. Age and quality of the tool, type of material being hit, speed of the tool and how the tool reacts to lubricants are major variables in determining proper maintenance intervals. Tool maintenance starts in the design phase; as is the case with many facets of engineering and manufacturing, there is no one-size-fits-all answer – each application has its own unique set of variables.

Maximize Tool Life

Reducing the amount of pressure exerted onto the tool is a science of its own. Deliberately engineered clearances between the punch and the die will significantly reduce stripping forces, while extending the life of your tool. If you know your application has a component that is likely to wear at a faster rate than others, you can design your tool around the frequent changes. By designing the die with easier accessibility in mind, you minimize downtime between tool changes.

When you add a coating to your tool steel, you’re not just prolonging the life of the tool, you’re producing better parts. For example, by applying a lubricous coating to an application that has tendency for galling, you can exponentially negate the galling while getting two to three times the hits versus an uncoated tool.

Where is the Maintenance Performed?

Coatings are applied when the tool is manufactured. Most, if not all shops have a skilled tool room, giving them the ability to perform tool maintenance in-house. If more in-depth machining or surfacing is required, it is possible that a tool would be sent out for maintenance, however we find this to be the exception to the rule. Modern tools like the HP Accu-Lock® Special Retainer Inserts from Wilson Tool International, are designed to be modified or repaired in-house. When you’re facing deadlines, you can’t beat the response of in-house maintenance.

Tool maintenance is as unique as the application itself. The best way to know your maintenance schedule is to know your application. Using the right materials, tonnage and clearances go a long way toward extending the life of your tooling. As always, Wilson Tool International’s team of engineers are ready to assist you in determining the right tool maintenance schedule for you.

For more information on stamping tools from Wilson Tool, please contact our Tooling Technicans or visit

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