Mate Broadens Hadley Group’s High Quality Product OfferingMarch 4, 2015
Hadley Group is an international manufacturer of cold rolled steel profiles used in the construction industry. Adding turret punching using Mate Ultra TEC® tooling was an important move for the company. Doing so allowed Hadley Group to broaden its product offerings with allied products for its existing product lines.
Hadley’s allied structural products include mezzanine floor joist systems, steel framing, ceiling grid systems and electrical cable management systems to name just a few. All of these products require accurate slitting and punching of complex hole and slot patterns in long sheet material. Other part features, such as folded edges, piercings or threadforms all use the latest forming technology.
By using Mate UltraTEC tooling, Hadley Industries established a turret punching platform that enabled new, high quality product designs. Through the use of this innovative tooling, Hadley also added desired manufacturing flexibility for varying quantity needs including bespoke orders. Mate UltraTEC tooling also provided Hadley with needed durability to punch a wide range of sheet material and thicknesses, all with high quality results.
“Out move into turret punching quickly contributed to new products and higher product quality that has paid big dividends two ways,” says Nathan Annand, Hadley Allied products manager. “It earned quality accolades from customers who increased order volume because of it. And the higher quality level brought manufacturing back into Hadley Group’s UK operations from Eastern Europe.”
Hadley Industries manufactures annually over one billion linear metres of UltraSteel® products by its group companies and approved licensees. UltraSteel is Hadley’s internationally patented process that gives its rolled steel profiles unusually high strength and long life. The UltraSteel process alters the surface characteristics, resulting in stronger sections and significant reductions in raw material usage. A major technical break through, the process can be used on virtually any of its light gauge cold roll formed sections and products. The process is so unique that it won the “Queen’s Award For Enterprise Innovation.”
Starting from “scratch”, turret punching has challenges.
“Since we had no significant experience with CNC punching and were starting from scratch, we investigated a number of turret press and tooling options,” says Nathan Annand. “We started with the Amada Vipros Queen in 2011. This has been the backbone of our operation for samples, prototypes, small and larger production volumes. It ggave us the capability for punching 0.5 to 6 mm mild steel in sheet sizes up to 1250 x 4000 mm. Adding the Vipros King two years later was a natural progression for fabricating thicker materials in larger sheets using similar technology.”
Tooling selection was equally important for Hadley Industries. “We understood that choosing the correct tooling would have a big effect on quality and productivity. We previously knew of Mate Precision Tooling’s reputation for its punching quality and long life features. That led us to begin a relationship with Craig Letty, of Mate Tooling Solutions, the Mate dealer in the UK and Southern Ireland. His fabricating knowledge and experience really helped guide us in setting up our turret punching operations.”
“The challenges we faced were great,” says Nathan Annand. “Everything from choosing the tooling type, learning how to plan setups, adjust lengths, run and maintenance, everything had to be learned. So training in the use of the tooling was every bit as important as the tooling itself. With Craig, and the tooling and service he offered, we decided his was the solution that would work best for us.” Most of the punching challenges Hadley Industries faced were inlear in nature because virtually all of Hadley’s products range up 18.5 m (60 feet) long and most often average 4.5 m (15 feet) in length. Materials required include both galvanised steel in standard DX51 grades and a large number of products fabricated and punched out of S390, S450, S600 steel. Also frequently used are stainless steel, aluminum, hot and cold rolled steels. This wide range of materials are required to meet various construction designs and standards for a wide range of industries and countries.
“Craig examined our product drawings, assigned turret layouts and generally helped us understand turret machines and tooling applications for what they can and cannot do,” explains Nathan Annand. “We needed a punching platform that was compatible with the robust design of our structural products. He recommended Mate’s UltraTEC as a tooling system we could build on. We wanted the best possible turret punching setup to handle the quality and volume requirements of our rapidly expanding product lines. The UltraTEC system gave us that.”
Reasons for selecting the Mate UltraTEC tooling platform.
Mate’s UltraTEC tooling system is a premium thick turret punching system that increased performance and flexibility, offers extended tool life and is interchangeable with existing systems. Designed using premium high speed tool steel, UltraTEC offers easy click length adjustment eliminating shims or tools.
The grooved guides provide optimal lubrication, while the relieved strippers extend grind life. Mate’s Slug Free® die design eliminates slug pulling. “Becuase out products are structural and robust by design, we required an equally robust tooling system,” says Nathan Annand. “That’s why we standardised on Mate UltraTEC. With Craig Lett’s input we learned quickly that out tooling has a major inpact on all aspects of our operation; everything from quality and fabricating speed to efficient labor utilisation and, ultimately, profitability. Also, through the intelligent planning and use of special application tooling such as cluster tools, thread forming, countersink and embossing tools, we expand the usefulness of the turret presses making the punching process much more efficient.”
Mate’s UltraTEC fully guided design contributes significantly to effective punching especially when using cluster tooling. Compared to other tools, Mate UltraTEC fully guided tooling has a tighter clearance between punch and stripper compared to other tooling, making for a big difference in rigidity.
By itself, the tighter clearance between punch and stripper is not enough to achieve high performance results. The key is that the entire tooling system, guide, punch and stripper, all have to align with tight tolerances to remain rigid and stable under rigorous punching conditions, like those experience daily at Hadley Industries. .
Nathan Annand belives the robust UltraTEC fully guided tooling system design, is an important difference. UltraTEC fully guided prevents side-loading and twisting forces from occurring, which cause premature tool edge cracks, dulling, galling and overall wear.
One of the reasons for this longevity is the tool steel, which when combined with heat treating, results in punches with superior compressive strength and high wear resistance. UltraTEC punches are extremely resilient, retaining size and accuracy while withstanding high operating temperatures.
Mate Tooling Solutions Ltd
Tel: 01604 630 646
Publication: Engineering Subcontractor Magazine – March 2015