Form Mates with Function in Turret Punch Tooling

Forming operations take center stage on the turret punch press through some new tooling innovations from Mate Precision Tooling.

In the innovative world of specialty tools that can produce high-quality parts using fewer secondary operations, perhaps the most significant turret press advancement of all is the forming station that introduces high-form tooling through either a lower unit ram or by raising a forming tool into position.

The increase in forming height enables fabricators to fully utilize their turret’s feed clearance and keep their sheets in a constant level position to minimize or eliminate sheet distortion during the forming operation. Forming takes center stage with the new Hybrid Threadform forming tool for punch presses from Mate Precision Tooling (Anoka, MN) that provides a new solution for fastening two pieces of sheet metal together without tapping or secondary operations.

Designed for use when the material thickness is greater than the screw pitch, the Threadform forming tool thins the material in the center of the form, creating a threadform helix so that the material fits between the pitch of the screw head in just one operation. At the heart of this specialized tool is an upper and lower insert machined with a profile that precisely matches the thread helix of the screw thread. The geometry of this part is modeled electronically by a Mate Applications Specialist using advanced CAD software to create a three-dimensional solid model for the specific requirements.

Benefits of using the Hybrid Threadform forming tool include the elimination of tapping and other labor-intensive secondary operations such as welding fasteners to sheet metal. The tool also eliminates debris when tapping and reduces component cost by eliminating the need for special fasteners.

Available in all tooling styles and station sizes, Hybrid Threadform tooling is made from high-speed tool steel for precision results and long life and is backed by the company’s unconditional guarantee. “Many of our tooling users are combining the Hybrid Threadform forming tool with our other special applications tooling for their fabricating projects,” reports John Galich, the Mate marketing manager. “For example, by combining use of the Threadform forming tooling with EasyBend™ for forming corners, EasySnap™ to break apart pieces from sheet, a shop can reduce setups, maximize machine usage and increase profitability.”

But there’s more. Mate’s new VariBend™ tooling performs 90 deg bends on a punch press with a bending angle that is adjustable in 1 deg increments and will handle the specific material types and thickness for which it was designed. VariBend will produce form heights of approximately 0.300 in to 0.700 in (7.60 mm to 17.75 mm). Programmed as a normal forming tool (regular forming or as an up-forming tool), VariBend operates with CNC punch press accuracy and with little or no sheet marking.

A demonstration of how Varibend can eliminate multiple secondary operations.

VariBend is well-suited for punch presses with upforming capabilities and especially machines with stroke control. For thick turret machines without stroke control, an Ultraform® holder can be used for length adjustment. VariBend is available in many tooling styles and station sizes.

That’s not all. Consider Mate’s new Trumpf Style Forming Tool and Special Shapes programming files for easier and faster press set up even before the tooling arrives. Previously, the set up process was done either of two ways: manually from setup drawings or with a USB stick supplied with the new tool data from the original equipment manufacturer. “We go one better and email the files to the customer for import,” states Galich. “This is a faster, more efficient method because shops can start programming and setting up their machine while it’s still being manufactured. By being able to do all of the prep work ahead of time, our customers can essentially start the job once the tool arrives. Our express process eliminates easy-to-lose USB sticks and allows for directly importing and storing the information correctly with other programs.”

The Trumpf style tooling features a full range of options for every application, including Next™ high performance tooling, QuickLock™ convenience tooling, standard style economy tooling, and LongLife™ slitting tools. Mate offers the most comprehensive range of tooling systems designed to accommodate any punching application enabling fabricators to produce high quality piece parts with economy.

Beyond forming operations, Mate offers UltraTEC® A and B M4PM™ Steel Punches that are available in optional M4PM steel for high performance punching applications. M4PM steel has at least 50 percent or greater wear resistance according to independent metallurgical experts. M4PM is a high speed, particle metallurgy steel that combines the chemical composition of M4, particle metallurgy manufacturing and a triple temper treatment process.

For the most demanding punching projects, M4PM offers superior resistance to adhesive and abrasive-wear to maximize interval between regrinds. The increased alloy content results in higher effective hardness for better wear resistance. A more uniform distribution of smaller carbides results in significantly reduced tool breakage and edge chipping. M4PM steel helps ensure increased machine uptime, improved sheet metal products, lower tooling and production costs.

To maintain solid tool performance, Mate provides the Premia™, the ultimate automated tool sharpening system that features an innovative touch screen interface that simplifies all tool setup and maintenance operations. Everything is menu-driven, with three standard programs for small, medium and large tools, plus two more that are completely customizable. These programs ensure sharpening consistency, no matter who operates the machine. If an operator prefers manual operation, there’s Premia’s manual mode. For maximum operator versatility, the interface allows a choice of language and measurement units. The software interface is easily updatable via a USB port or SD card.

A demonstration of the Premia sharpening system.

Premia has numerous best-in-class features including the most powerful motor (3.3 kW); a large 10.5 gal (40 l) coolant tank; the ability to sharpen tools with diameters as small as 0.031 in (0.8 mm) and as large as 7.50 in (190.5 mm); and a dual-stage coolant filtration system that extends coolant life and reduces maintenance.

Mate Precision Tooling, 1295 Lund Boulevard, Anoka, MN 55303, 800-328-4492, Fax: 800-541-0285,,