Speed Processes with 4-Way Radius Tools
Parts with rounded edges are frequently used in sheet metal fabrication. Not only do they provide a more finished appearance, rounded edges also eliminate sharp, pointed corners that could cause injury during removal or damage internal components or wiring. Many times, fabricators use special tools that also require the use of an index station. Certain operations may require these, but there is an often overlooked tool that can improve process time, reduce costs and reduce machine wear: the four-way radius tool.
The Mate Solution
A four-way radius tool allows fabricators to get corner radii in parts with just one hit vs. nibbling or using a special tool. Since it can hit all four corners simultaneously, a four-way radius tool does not require an index station. The four-way radius tool can fit in a single station or a multi-tool. By designing it to match the width of a slitting tool, fabricators can also combine a fourway radius tool with parting operations to further streamline manufacturing processes.
In a continuous parting application, the four-way radius tool uses one vertical hit between the parts to get the nest closer to the maximum range. The four-way radius tool can also help maximize sheet range and reduce machine wear. For example, if you have a sheet of 100 parts (10 rows by 10 columns), you can punch the corners with 121 hits with the one tool vs. 400 hits with a special tool in an index station.
“Shake-and-break” is a popular name for an easy method of separating multiple parts from a sheet of material. The method is based on small, interconnecting tabs between the parts created by programming spacing of the shearing or slitting punch. These tabs keep the sheet and parts intact while being punched, yet are easy to separate off the machine. Any parts that don’t fall loose by shaking the sheet are quickly twisted out by hand. By designing the four-way radius with micro-joint ends and combining it with a slitting punch with micro-joint ends, you can get a shake-and-break solution that has rounded corners. Better yet, pair these with a Mate EasySnap™ tool for easy parts removal from the skeleton.