Before the Industrial Revolution, a single worker or a team of artisans carried out the product manufacturing process. These skilled workers monitored and carried out every single step of the manufacturing process from start to finish. This was a long and tedious process, posing a challenge to the mass production of products.
With the invention of the assembly line, the manufacturing process was transformed to a great extent. Smaller parts of a large component could be placed in a prespecified order as they progressed from one station to another to completion. Back then, this process, known as the progressive assembly, was responsible for the evolution and improvement of the manufacturing industry.
What Are Progressive Tools?
Progressive tools are alternatives to transfer tools. Using a progressive tool, manufacturers can carry out a whole series of tooling steps using a single press stroke. These tools are designed to process strip materials.
An upstream uncoiler and precision strip guide together push the raw material progressively through the tool. The component gets processed one after the other at consecutive processing stations. When it reaches the last station, the part gets separated from the metal strip. The finished part then falls into a container placed to collect it, while the scrap metal gets discarded.
One Stroke, Multiple Operations:
Various shaping tools and stations are used to operate on stamped metal components made from sheet metal through progressive tools. Here are some of them in detail.
This operation requires applying an enormous amount of force to change the shape of the raw metal sheet through the usage of displacement by progressive tools.
This is another operation performed on components with the help of progressive tools. Its goal is to create 90-degree angles on the component that is being produced.
If components require cavities or holes through them, they get punched with a punch press while progressive tools and a counter supportive die support the operation.
Fine blanking is a process that uses progressive tools to help engineer features that traditional punching or cutting operations cannot create.
This is a process that uses progressive tools to create metal components whose depth is more than its diameter.
Materials Used in Progressive Tooling:
Progressive die stamping and tooling is a versatile process. It uses several different materials, mostly metals, to produce components for a variety of applications. Metal maintains its malleability and versatility even through high pressure or extreme force. The most commonly used metals in progressive stamping are
- Galvanized steel
- Stainless steel
- Hot/ cold rolled steel
Benefits of Using Progressive Tools:
There are many benefits of using progressive tools. They have taken the manufacturing industry to new heights for the following reasons:
- Progressive tools help to produce huge volumes of components and tools. With the rising consumer demand across the world, progressive tools solve one of the largest challenges that manufacturers face – mass production.
- The amount of scrap metal produced is very low compared to other manufacturing and stamping methods.
- Multiple operations can be carried out in one go using progressive tools. This saves time and costs of manually transferring components from one station to another.
- Progressive stamping tools require a high level of accuracy to function, which significantly brings down the failure rate and the number of malfunctioning parts produced.
- Downtime is also significantly limited because the raw material progresses through stations automatically rather than manually.
- Manufacturers can carry out production runs longer than with any other manufacturing method when they use presses with progressive tools.
- Since progressive tooling helps manufacture a large volume of parts, per part costs go down.
- The progressive tooling process is efficient and maximises output.
Progressive Tooling Applications:
Progressive tools have diverse applications across a range of industries around the world. The most prominent of these industries are
- Military and defence
- Consumer appliances
To maximize your productivity and profitability, it helps to choose a manufacturer and supplier that provides all the services you need under one roof. Metal stamping manufacturers that use progressive tools and offer related secondary services help clients get the best output possible in a cost-effectively and efficiently.