VISI Speeds Stamping Tool Production22 Aug, 2013 By: Stewart Bint
Kleiner Stanztechnik streamlines its manufacturing process with the adoption of Vero Software's 3D CAD/CAM solution.
An important part of success for a subcontractor in parts manufacturing is its in-house tool production. One such company, Germany-based Kleiner Stanztechnik, produces more than 60 highly complex progressive forming tools a year.
Combining its experience in high-performance stamping tools and precision stampings with new technologies, Kleiner manufactures parts for the automotive, plastics, electrical, medical technology, and electronics industries. And since the company adopted Vero Software's VISI for 3D tool design, Kleiner now has an integrated process chain based on 3D data, covering everything from quotations to design and numerical control (NC) programming.
Crafting the Tech behind High Tech
Kleiner operates Bruderer and Haulick & Ross presses running up to 1,200 strokes per minute, and can process strips with a width of up to 320 mm and a thickness of 0.06–4 mm on 38 hydraulic presses with a pressing force of up to 250 tons. The product portfolio extends from populated lead frames, which replace the commonly used printed circuit board, to microstampings, such as snap domes dotted with gold for buttons and switches — where spot galvanization can cut costs by limiting the amount of gold used.
An example of Kleiner's complex precision stamped parts, these snap domes feature spots of gold that will serve as contacts in buttons and switches.
In the field of renewable energy and electric mobility, Kleiner offers solutions for high-current contacting of hybrid and electric vehicles' photovoltaic systems. A recent example of this is plug coupling for charging electric cars, in which Kleiner designed and manufactured electrical contact elements in the signal and high-voltage areas. This included replacing the plug connectors, originally designed as turned copper components, with stamped parts. In addition to the electrical and insulation design, Kleiner designers also sought to optimize the geometry of the parts in such a way that they could be produced easily with a progressive tool, which Kleiner also designs and manufactures.
The 3D tool designed with VISI, showing the plug coupling system that will provide electric cars with energy.
The completed tool, designed and manufactured using VISI from Vero Software.
"We design new projects exclusively in 3D using VISI, which is tailor-made for our type of work," said Ego Kugele, head of design.
Need for a New Tool
About three years ago, an increasing workload prompted Kleiner's personnel to improve on their existing system for faster tool design. That, coupled with the fact that they needed a more advanced system to handle circuit boards and functions for the strip layout, meant that the company switched exclusively to 3D design through VISI.
"We originally [tested] a fully parametric system, but the system constraints we not very suitable for efficient tool design. We subsequently [tested] VISI and were immediately comfortable with the design process, not just because it's extremely easy to use, but because the special modules for stamping tool design were already well established in the market and the software gave an impression of being well-engineered," explained Kugele.
Kleiner Stanztechnik now has VISI Modelling and the cutting and stamping tool module VISI Progress installed on 14 workstations in the design department, along with one additional workstation used for quotations. There are three more VISI Machining installations in the production department for programming the milling machines.
The VISI-Based Manufacturing Process
Once a tool design is complete, manufacturing begins with all programs created using VISI Machining (with the addition of VISI-PEPS Wire for two and four axes, planned for later in 2013) for the Agie and Hurco computer numerical control (CNC) machines. A third VISI Machining workstation is used to drive a high-speed Röders machine dedicated to hard milling and the manufacture of copper electrodes.
The CAM operator prepares all NC programs offline so the machine can be used to produce multiple jobs at the same time. And since the same CAD model is used in VISI for design and NC programming, the data is always integrated and interoperable.
Two VISI workstations include the automatic feature recognition module, Compass Technology, for processing and automatically applying approved, company-standard toolpath data to common geometric features such as multidepth holes and open and closed pockets. The introduction of Compass Technology has reduced programming time by more than 60% for certain 2D and 2.5D milling tasks on complex bolster sets.
Frank Chojinski, a member of Kleiner's management board, said, "We are continuously investing in our staff, in new technology and in optimizing our processes. We deliberately focus on highly innovative stamping technology, together with the tools required for it."