Quality Makes Us Global

Expert Tooling Through Global Forming

Just about any process used to shape or form metal requires some kind of die to be tooled. This could be roll forming (roller dies), stamping (cutting and forming dies), stretch bending (form die), or welding fixtures, all of which hold a workpiece in place while welding takes place. Global Forming manages the tooling process for your project’s die(s) or fixtures to ensure manufacturability as well as the ongoing care of each die to ensure maximum life cycle and productivity.

large factory machine

Machine Tooling to Match the Manufacturing Process of Your Project

Every type of metal shaping process presents its own set of unique tooling challenges that must be properly planned and accounted for before a final production line setup and tooling of dies can take place. With our decades of shop floor experience at Global Forming, we are deeply familiar with all various factors and considerations that go into tooling for roll forming, stamping, stretch bending, and the creation of welding fixtures. Our customers typically prefer to design the dies and fixtures for their project. When those designs are handed off to Global Forming, we take over the management of the entire tooling process from design evaluation for manufacturability to creation of the dies and fixtures and setting up the production line for your project.
Custom Machine Tooling Done Right the First Time
Given the substantial investment of time and money that goes into building custom tooling, it’s of critical importance to get it right the first time as retooling means drastically higher costs in time and money. After we have done a full evaluation of the designs for the dies and/or fixtures needed, we’ll let you know if they’re approved or if changes are needed to ensure the results will match your needs, requirements, and specifications. The tooling will then take place using state-of-the-art CAD and 3D design systems to custom tool your dies and/or create the welding fixtures you need.
Roll Forming Tooling Considerations and Design Factors
close up of factory roll forming machine
While roll forming is one of the fastest and most cost-effective manufacturing processes for producing large volumes of identical metal parts to tight tolerances, it does present a whole set of tooling considerations to account for in the design process. One such consideration is that because each consecutive set of rollers only perform an incremental bend in the strip of sheet metal, the greater the complexity of the final profile geometry, the larger the number of roller dies that must be tooled to achieve it.

Another consideration is the cutting die that will be used to separate the part from the strip of sheet metal material being used. This cut-off die and press may be positioned on the production line to cut the blank from the sheet metal strip before forming begins or it may be positioned at the end of the line to cut the formed part as the last step of the process.

A pre-cut die or a post-cut die each has its advantages and disadvantages. There’s greater stability of the work material when it remains as part of a continuous strip during the forming process. If the work piece is cut from the strip ahead of forming, keeping the piece stable during forming is more difficult and can cause greater end flare (deformity of the trailing edge) without the support of the strip.

On the other hand, a pre-forming cutoff die is much simpler since it’s only cutting the flat sheet metal to the right part length. A post-forming cutoff die, by contrast, must be tooled to match the part profile that has been formed, making it a more complex and expensive die to tool. In order to avoid deformation of the final part, all the surfaces of the profile must be supported during cutoff, which may not be feasible. Then again, the cutoff die might also be tooled to incorporate one or more additional operations such as punching or notching, thereby avoiding additional tooling of dies to perform those as separate secondary operations on the pieces. A complex post-forming cutoff die will also present higher maintenance costs over time compared to a precut die.

Precut pieces tend to cause more stress to the roller dies in the production line because each part has a leading edge that stresses the rollers, whereas when the material is a continuous strip, the only leading edge is the one at the very beginning of any given production run. A post-forming cutoff die will likely cause some amount of part deformation such as burrs or rough ends, which will in turn require some post-forming secondary operations to address.

Metal Stamping Tooling Considerations and Design Factors
If the metal stamping process is going to remove, cut, or shear the material, it’s a cutting die. If a die is only going to bend the material, it is a forming die. In some cases, dies can be made that perform both cutting and forming of the stock material. Most stamping processes to bend and shape a piece of metal involve two dies. The female die is the one into which the metal is pressed to achieve the desired shape. The male die is the one that does the pressing. The same applies to cutting dies where the male die is the punch driven into the die block or female die.

If the final profile of the metal part or component is geometrically complex, the workpiece may need to pass through multiple die stations, which are called progressive dies for progressive stamping and the stock material will be a continuous strip of sheet metal. If the stock material has already been cut into blank workpieces, then the multiple stations are referred to as transfer dies since the workpiece must be mechanically moved from station to station as opposed to the continuous feed of a sheet metal strip in progressive stamping. A combination die is one that performs multiple cutting and forming operations in one stroke of the stamping press.

All dies must be carefully designed with advanced CAD software, then evaluated for manufacturability, which may be achieved by tooling experts using computer simulation software. Only after validation of the designs would tooling the dies begin by a method such as CNC machining or Wire EDM.

Stretch Bending Tooling Considerations and Design Factors
When a part has been initially formed into the desired base profile but the final shape profile requires a larger bend radius than can be achieved by other methods, stretch bending is the answer. The tooling is specialized because it includes both the bending die with the desired bend radius, but also the clamps that must be attached to both ends of the workpiece. The bending machine will then rotate those clamps toward each other, bending the workpiece around the die to achieve bend angles up to 180º. While the form die is relatively simple, the clamping fixtures must be designed precisely in order to stabilize the piece for stretching and forming around the die without causing any damage to the workpiece.
Welding Fixture Design Factors

When a part needs to be welded during the manufacturing process, the part must be held in place by a welding fixture. This sounds simple enough, but in truth is surprisingly complex. It becomes quickly apparent that the quality of the final part relies heavily on a well-designed welding fixture. If the fixture holds the part too tightly, it might end up deformed after being released from the fixture post-welding. Held too loosely, however, and the weld might not be nearly as precise as it needs to be. The fixture also has to be designed in a way that the part can be quickly removed from it post-welding in order to keep pace with the desired production speed. The fixture also must not be in the way of the area the welding gun needs to access to do its job. If your parts have tight tolerances, then welding fixtures require precision machined or ground fixture parts.

Regardless of what kind of dies or fixtures are needed for your project, Global Forming will manage the entire tooling process for you from design validation to the tooling of production dies and fixtures. Get more information by contacting Global Forming through the contact us page of our website, by phone at 317.290.1000, or by email to rfox@globalforming.us to discuss your project and its tooling needs.