As with most industrial technologies, there is a debate between the traditional and the modern, more innovative methods. Manufacturing of stamped and shaped metal parts such as brackets, thin rods and wire goods is no exception. To produce these high volume parts, a manufacturer has the choice between two primary machine technologies, 4 slide machines or power presses. In this article, we are going to compare each with regards to capability, efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
Use of Power Presses
The industrial revolution saw the mechanization of manufacturing processes as power presses became a staple in factories around the world. These capable machines generate hundreds of tons of concentrated pressure that can be used to stamp a variety of metal parts of varying sizes, shapes and materials. Due to their durability and straightforward design, power presses have long been favored for the manufacture of stamped parts, most notably “uncomplicated” metal parts. Unfortunately, because the power press tooling works in only one direction, the machines have limited ability to produce more complicated part shapes with bends or angles over 90 degrees. This leads to the need for additional tooling and/or production steps, which along with additional lead time and labor negatively affect performance, efficiency and profitability.
Benefits of 4 Slide Manufacturing
As they are more specialized than presses, 4 or four slide machines are used extensively around the globe in a wide variety of manufacturing sectors and their numbers are growing. These machines feature four slides that carry individual tooling which converge on a center point and powerfully impact/press the material, transforming it into a ready-to-finish part. Because the four slides work independently, they can be configured to operate in various planes compared to power press tooling that typically moves in only one direction. Therein lies a major advantage of four slide machines, offering unlimited possibilities for part shaping, bending, punching and cutting, all in one operation.
At the forefront of advanced 4 slide manufacturing is Bihler’s 4 Slide-NC. The servo-driven technology used in the Bihler machines offer greater efficiency, consistency and quality for the manufacturing environment.
Here are some other advantages of the Bihler 4 Slide-NC machines:
- A finished part can be produced in one step by one machine with one set of tooling.
- The rate of production is higher, reducing costs and increasing output up to 50%.
- Improved precision tooling produces parts with tighter tolerances than most press machines.
- Material costs are reduced as 4 slides can eliminate the need for carrying strips or spooled materials.
- Tooling costs are less when compared to press operations that require expensive dies & cams to redirect motion.
While power presses have their place in manufacturing, Bihler customers have discovered the multitude of advantages our 4 slide technology offers by helping them reach new levels of productivity, operational efficiency and ROI.