Manufacturing

Background: A Fortune 100 company had made a substantial investment in plant and equipment with the intent of commanding the number one market share position in a particular industry. Initially, all systems were "go" and proceeding according to plan. It was soon determined that consumable tooling was holding back production.

ICI's Contribution: Die maintenance called for a tool maker to insert carbide die segments into common die holders, thus making the dies interchangeable between production machines. The operation required manual lift of 100 pound dies and insertion of carbide into the die holder under high pressure. If not precisely positioned, the carbide would build such internal pressure that it may violently fragment. ICI designed a simple lift assist that consistently positioned the die holder and carbide insert for proper alignment. The new system developed 400 tons of pressure fully under tool maker control and contained the die set in and enclosed chamber that allowed full visibility yet contained carbide fragmentation if necessary.

Upgrades & Retrofits

Background: Faced with safety and performance issues, a leading Tier-1 automotive stamping company needed to replace die clamps on three transfer presses. The original manufacturer was no longer in business, so going back to the source was not an option. Other presses had been upgraded but with less than satisfactory results.

ICI's Contribution: ICI evaluated each of the three presses to determine the cause for concern and the source of performance problems. Once determined, ICI then proceeded to investigate commercially available clamping systems that would meet application requirements. It became apparent that quality clamps were commercially available; however, clamp supplier power units to drive the clamps were unsatisfactory. ICI's solution was to provide a turnkey clamp retrofit package using best-in-class clamps with a custom designed unit to power the clamps. An integrated control system was also supplied to monitor and control clamping functions during die change.

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