CAM Logic + KAMAX: Providing Solutions Using Metal 3D Printing to Create Cold Forming Transfer Fingers
Our team was called to meet with KAMAX LP, a prominent company leading the cold forming industry. The goal was to share some insight into our additive manufacturing capabilities and learn more about KAMAX’s business to explore how these systems could improve their business.
The meeting started with a quick tour of the shop floor which eventually led to a congregation in the tool room. Chris Himburg, our Director of Emerging Technology, immediately took notice of an additively manufactured part that KAMAX was using to push blanks into a thread rolling die. However, the printed plastic part could not stand up to the heat of the bolt blank. To address the issue, they added a hardened steel insert to reinforce the plastic, prolonging the tool’s life. This was used as a stopgap measure until the new all-steel part could be installed.
Clearly, KAMAX was not green to additive manufacturing and they knew there had to be another area of their manufacturing process where additive could be useful. Finding the best fit for additive manufacturing comes down to uncovering the right application, and it turned out that KAMAX had their eyes set on a homerun. They needed a quicker solution for producing transfer fingers for a cold forming machine. Traditionally, the fingers would be machined, and the lead times were just too long – especially for prototype applications.
What is a cold forming machine? The image below shows a machine very similar to what KAMAX uses. We have highlighted the transfer rack where the fingers are located.
We knew that we could provide the perfect solution. If we 3D printed the transfer fingers out of steel, we could deliver a solution in a fraction of the time it would take to deliver a traditional set of transfer fingers. We employed our in-house capabilities to additively manufacture the fingers and we used Eiger – Markforged’s cloud-based slicer program – to generate the build file for our Metal X printer.
One week after that initial meeting, KAMAX sent us CAD models of the transfer fingers. We printed and delivered three sets of fingers (6 pieces total) four days after receiving the CAD files.
Above is an image of the CAD model provided by KAMAX of one of the transfer fingers.
Choosing the Right Metal:
Originally, KAMAX had requested 1018 (carburized) steel to be used for their part. Not all metals are suitable for certain 3D printing processes and, unfortunately, 1018 steel is one of those metals. Fortunately, Markforged provides material composition for all the metals that are offered for their Metal X printer. As of the date of this article, these metals include 17-4 Stainless Steel, H13, A2, D2, Inconel 625 and Copper. We were able to analyze the composition of our client’s desired metal – 1018 Steel – and understand the pros and cons of this selection. Then, using our understanding of the composition of the available Markforged metal options, we suggested an even better solution! The material needed to be strong and possess the proper wear properties to hold the blank and we knew that H13 Tool Steel would be the perfect solution. On the Rockwell C scale, it carries a rating of 40 HRC (as sintered).
Chemical Composition of 1018 Carburized Steel:
Chemical Composition of Markforged H13 Tool Steel:
Modifying the Model:
The transfer fingers run in a machine that operates with very quick and very repetitive movements. In this environment, deterioration is inevitable and requires unwanted maintenance that could result in down time and lost revenue for KAMAX. To mitigate this issue, we knew that we could modify the original design of the part to better address the needs of our client. Reducing the weight of the part would alleviate some of the pressure that increases the undesirable deterioration. We put a sparse infill inside the transfer finger to reduce the weight and prolong the time between required maintenance. You can see the triangular infill printed into the part for light weighting in the images below.
Closing remarks from KAMAX:
The 3D printed H13 cold heading transfer fingers worked very well for the sample run. We are waiting for a later scheduled production run of this part in order to gather some tool life data on the fingers. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 situation this production run has been delayed until later this year.
In response to COVID-19 Stay at Home/Work from Home Order, Remote Training Classes Extended until May 29th
Remote Training Offer Extended!
Don’t miss your chance to take a Master’s Class in Synchronous Technology
Have you had a chance to take part in our special one day Remote Training opportunities? If not, don’t worry! Due to popularity we have decided to continue these classes through April. On Tuesdays and Thursdays we will be focusing on SOLID EDGE, and Wednesdays and Fridays will be NX!
We understand that the current work environment is out of the ordinary for many of us, so we are offering a special, high-value, 1-day Synchronous Technology online Master’s course. The intent is that this class will allow designers and engineers that are familiar with Solid Edge and NX but maybe haven’t ventured into the Synchronous environment, the opportunity to bring a new skill set back to the office.
9am – noon, noon – 1pm (Break), 1pm – 4pm
UPDATE: The following classes are sold out
5/12, 5/14, 5/19, 5/21
For a better understanding of Synchronous Technology in Solid Edge, we will look at design methods that employ a hybrid approach of Ordered and pre-Synchronous Technology tools. With this design method understood, we will then move into Synchronous Technology design workflow for Part and Assembly environments.
• Pre-Synchronous Technology design tools and features
• Synchronous design workflow
• Using the Steering Wheel: easily modify existing geometry
• Design intent: rules, tools, and assumptions
• Advanced features and workflow
• Design change workflow
• Assemblies with Synchronous Components: in-context process for designing and editing
For a better understanding of Synchronous Technology in NX, we will look at design methods that employ an empathetic approach to design challenges. Whether you are forced to work with an imported STEP file, or you are trying to make sense of someone else’s feature tree in Part Navigator, we will highlight some tools that can help you get out of a jam. We will also cover design techniques that can be integrated into your regular workflows for increased efficiency.
• How does Synchronous Technology work?
• Best Practices & Pitfalls
• Which faces should I select?
• Understanding operation scope within workflows
• Real-world examples using the Synchronous Technology toolset
• Utilizing selection filters
• Managing Blends: edit, resize, reorder
• Optimize Face: when and how to use it
• Reorder/Suppress/Unsuppress in Part Navigator
• Using WAVE links to preserve original geometry
Have Additional Questions about these Training Classes?
Email us at email@example.com
Crisis engineering: Die-Tech & Engineering joins the race for ventilators in the coronavirus pandemic
Bill Berry was sitting at his desk on a Friday afternoon when he got an unexpected call from a customer. Berry is the president and owner of Die-Tech & Engineering, a supplier of casting dies in the greater Grand Rapids, Michigan area. The customer was Twin City Die Castings, who had called Berry as a trusted supplier, requesting a quote for a casting die.
It was an urgent request, and part of the effort to accelerate production of ventilators, key life-saving devices in critical short supply as the pandemic swept the globe. The request specified delivery of casting dies for ventilator parts within five weeks. Berry understood the emergency well – he and his wife had followed and discussed news of the pandemic and the life-saving efforts. He was also confident that his company had the people, technology and expertise to deliver in a fraction of the specified time. “You don’t have five weeks – if these things are going to make a difference, you need them in days,” he told his customer. When Berry told Twin City Die Castings that his company could deliver the things they needed in days instead of weeks, they wanted a timeline that broke down the process.
Die-Tech & Engineering and Twin City Die Castings are supply chain partners in a $490 million deal between the U.S. government and General Motors, authorized under the Defense Production Act, to build 30,000 ventilators with help from Ventec Life Systems, a ventilator manufacturer in the Seattle area. Before the pandemic, Ventec produced about 200 ventilators per month, each with about 700 components. GM marshalled its formidable supply chain to help scale production to thousands of units per month.
Die casting scales production
Many of the metal parts of the ventilators had been produced previously by machining, but die casting processes could enable production of higher volumes more quickly and efficiently. “The ventilator company was capacity-limited by certain components,” Berry says. “If you’re machining them from blocks of aluminum or importing them from offshore, you can only do it so fast. To scale production rapidly into a whole different order of magnitude of production quantities, you need to convert some of those parts from machined parts to high-volume tooling with multiple cavities for high-pressure die casting.”
Compressing die design and production cycles
Berry briefed his staff on the project and the team went to work immediately. Brian Chatlosh, a lead designer at Die-Tech & Engineering with decades of experience, had already worked a full day. Still, he volunteered for the project and returned to his office and began modeling a preliminary design of the casting die. “We had an RFQ at 5 o’clock in the afternoon and we were able to present a preliminary mold design at 9 PM to get approval to order material,“ Berry explains.
“Less than four hours after being asked to quote the project, we had an online meeting showing the mold design and how it would work.”
President, Die-Tech & Engineering
We got the customer to agree on steel sizes and approve the concept of the tool. I stepped out of the room and called my steel supplier and gave him the sizes, and the steel was here at two in the morning.”
When the steel was delivered it went through a heat-treating process that required one and a half days. As the detailed design was developing, Chatlosh shared components with the rest of the team so they could create the numerical control programs to produce them while he was still finishing the design of the tool. “Because everything is documented and everything is done in a pre-engineered fashion using modeling techniques and programming techniques that we’ve developed over many years, we were able to just divide the project among essentially 40 people and they were all working on their own parts,” Berry explains. “Much of it was being built as it was being designed.”
When Chatlosh left in the wee hours of Saturday morning, Die-Tech had a fully modeled tool design and the company was cutting parts on its machine tools. By Monday morning, Die-Tech’s 11 five-axis machines were simultaneously cutting different components of the die from the heat-treated steel. Four and a half days after the initial call, the die was assembled, loaded on a truck and on its way to Twin City Die Castings. The next day, Twin City cast the first parts using the tool. Over three weeks, Die-Tech built a total of seven dies for 44 cavities that Twin City used to cast ventilator parts. It is likely that those parts will save lives in April.
Keys to fast turnaround
Before this urgent high-stakes project, Die-Tech & Engineering already enjoyed a reputation for fast delivery. Over the years, the company has invested in people, processes and technologies to engineer with speed. Key technologies include five-axis machining with palletization and advanced computer-aided design software from Siemens Digital Industries Software.
“We’ve been working together in a CAD environment for 30 years, starting with I-deas, now part of the Siemens family of products,” Berry explains. “We have a big library of designs and we’re using NX mold design software. We have lead engineers who understand the software and how to design molds very well. Using NX in a team environment, we were able to have multiple engineers all working on the project at the same time, along with multiple machinists and toolmakers. We specialize in being able to do things in a massively parallel fashion. By moving everything else out of the way we were able to put all of our resources on this particular project. We were able to build the entire die in essentially the amount of time as it took to build the longest-lead-time part, which was four and a half days. ”
“We absolutely could not have done this without an advanced mold design environment like we have in NX. It worked really well.”
President, Die-Tech & Engineering
Now addressing the work that Die-Tech had delayed for the ventilator project, Berry brushes aside notions of heroism in the fast-track engineering his company delivered. “Heroism involves risk and sacrifice like the people who will use these ventilators to help others. We were fortunate enough to have the right motivation, the right kind of equipment, the right kind of CAD environment and the right kind of people that fit this project. We were uniquely qualified to respond in this way. It was the most exciting project I’ve ever had the opportunity to work on. It was a good example of how to use technology and people to solve a problem really quickly.”
Die-Tech and Engineering has been supported for more than a decade by Siemens solution provider partner CAM Logic Inc.
Working Off-Site with Solid Edge and NX
As the world experiences unprecedented challenges battling COVID-19, more and more employees are being asked to work from home. We want to make sure that you have the information you need to make your Siemens software continue to work for you, even when you’re working at home. Below are two videos that will walk you through, step-by-step, setting up Solid Edge or NX for remote licensing.
Our team is equipped to continue to provide the support you have come to expect from CAM Logic. If you need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our help desk.
NX Integrated Injection Molding Simulation Tools
Using NX to tool injection molds? What many NX users already know is that the NX product portfolio is massive. Some products range from advanced CAM capabilities to data management. What many injection molders are not aware of is that NX has an affordable and highly reliable injection molding simulation set of tools built right into your NX interface. It’s called NX EasyFill Advanced!
Let me preference the rest of this article with a very clear statement, there is no substitute for experience, many injection molders know how the plastics in their portfolio are going to behave based on years of experience. The problem with this is, however, an injection molders customer needs to see the data that validates the experience, this is where simulation can be a valuable tool. What if you have inexperienced designers that need some help being confident with design proposals or modifications? Again, running a quick simulation to check for defects such as short shots or potential burn marks and be a great way to keep project timelines on track.
So, what exactly is NX EasyFill Advanced? Simply put it is an embedded tool inside of NX that allows users to run filling, packing, warp, and cooling analysis on plastic materials that range from popular polypropylenes to more advance glass-filled nylons. Like other simulation tools, better data that is put in will get users better data out. NX EasyFill Advanced lets users set up their simulations the way they need. Users can control mesh density, entering process conditions on injection pressures, cycle times, access to prepopulated material libraries and many other details that play a roll in validating high-quality molds and parts.
Another large perk of leveraging NX EasyFill Advanced is that all your data stays in NX. If your company today uses a third-party solution, you know that there is a risk of exporting data out of a design platform and into a simulation tool. By housing all your data inside of NX the risk of losing data that is important to simulation results are greatly reduced. Also, like NX when you are up to date on NX maintenance, your simulation tools are always getting the best-populated libraries, best simulation tools, and full product support from your NX partner, CAM Logic.
Think NX EasyFill Advanced might be helpful? Click here to download the product brochure or contact CAM Logic to set up a demonstration.
Technical Publications – A Major Time & Cost Saver!
When we start thinking about the manufacturing process we think about prototypes, production tooling, lead times, material costs, customer requirements just to name a few product development road bumps. What many if not most manufacturers overlook when improving processes are manuals and assembly instructions. For Solid Edge users, Technical Publications or for short “Tech Pubs” is a major time and cost saver.
Let’s start with “what is Tech Pubs”? Tech Pubs is an added tool that works right within Solid Edge that helps streamline the documentation process with time-saving features for rapidly creating and updating documents. Users find real benefit in using this tool primarily when creating manuals for their end-use products, updating online product catalogs, sending assembly instructions to other internal departments, or for marketing/promotion purposes. Tech Pubs, in a nutshell, is a communication tool that is tied directly back to the model or assembly that a designer is working on. Another nice feature in Tech Pubs is no matter how robust the model, everything can be exported out into industry-standard 3D PDFs and web-based HTML. Again, because Tech Pubs are seamlessly integrated within your Solid Edge software, you are work directly with your Solid Edge parts and assemblies and eliminate the need to convert computer-aided design (CAD) files.
Where is the real value of implementing Tech Pubs into a workflow? First, there are the benefits of documenting technical changes early in the design process, it might be important to be able to accurately reference previous ideas and designs. Also, and probably the biggest initial upfront cost saver is eliminating the need for specialized technical authors or 3rd party services. If your team can easily create their documentation and it all ties into Solid Edge, you don’t have to export data, don’t have to have someone edit and clean it up, and get it all done a lot faster. Last, for companies that have an online product catalog, there is real value in having a tool that makes automatic changes to the online products automatically when the designer makes an update. This way there is a big reduction in documentation errors.
Technical Publication is a tool that we here at CAM Logic are seeing a lot of growth within our Solid Edge customer base
Click here to sign up for our upcoming webcast on February 25th to learn more
Why Additive Manufacturing is the Right Fit for Production Tooling
Wayne Gretzky once said, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been”. Having for the foresight to always be looking ahead to where the next opportunity to be successful is at leads to greatness not just on the ice but also in manufacturing. Harnessing the benefits of additive lends to manufacturers both large and small take the necessary steps to bring their companies into the next industrial revolution. Traditionally additive has been looked at as a tool for prototypes and concept models, but with the advancement, in materials, the sweet spot for additive is quickly becoming production tooling.
Jigs, fixtures, gripper arms, tooling guides, and low volume production are ideal applications to leverage additive. The reason is that the materials, such as the types offered by Markforged composite printing technologies, are precise, strong, and repeatable. Users of this technology can print their forming sections and fixtures generally faster and less expensive than having to put blocks of aluminum or steel on a CNC machine. Think about how much effect getting production tooling faster has on a company bottom line if you never have to say “my parts are here but we are still waiting on our fixtures to get done” why wouldn’t you look at additive manufacturing?
If this is such a great option for us why haven’t we already started using additive? The idea of using technology takes time and effort to get right. Often redesigning your tools for additive is necessary or taking a hybrid approach of traditional manufacturing with aspects of additive is the right approach. In manufacturing, there isn’t a lot of opportunities to spend the time necessary to optimize processes or that open mind needed to say, “yeah this is different, but it works”. For manufacturing that is willing to take the time to explore additive or work with a company like CAM Logic to prove solutions the benefits of additive can be substantial in cost-saving, time-saving and a massive reduction of headaches for staff.
Have a need or questions about leveraging additive manufacturing? CAM Logic has a full range of Additive Manufacturing for Production Applications and solutions ready to support your engineering and manufacturing operations.
The CAM Logic 2020 Cornucopia Webcast Series is in Full Effect!
We’ve created a holistic engineering webcast series to give you tips, tricks, trends, and technologies to make you best in class. So don’t delay and grab your virtual seat for this series whether you’re focused on engineering or manufacturing initiatives. Topics include Siemens Digital Software best practices to additive manufacturing capabilities to quality control with reverse engineering tactics. Pick the one(s) that fit you best and enjoy our 2020 live webcast series:
On January 23, unleash PMI Interoperability with NX Tools
On December 10, don’t miss out on leveraging Solid Edge Wiring Design tools
Learn by using industry-proven tools that simulate and verify electrical behavior as the design is created. The graphical authoring environment creates wiring diagrams via an intuitive user interface and built-in intelligent libraries of electrical symbols, components, and simulation models.
Benefits you’ll gain:
- Robust library with more than 4000 popular industrial parts
- Utilize simulation to highlight design challenges such as short and open circuits, voltage drop, fusing, and wire sizing errors
- Automate standards-based diagram generation
- Cross-referencing for multi-sheet schematics
- Automatically generate reports for wires, connectors, and devices used in a design