With bottlenecks a routine challenge for busy job shops and OEM's, it's
not uncommon to find the press brake as the primary culprit.
bottlenecks a routine challenge for busy job shops and OEMs, it’s not
uncommon to find the press brake as the primary culprit. For many shops,
gaining efficiencies on the press brake can help mitigate these holdups
and improve part flow throughout the shop.
Pinnacle Precision Sheet Metal Corp. found itself with such a
bottleneck. The manufacturer of electrical components for audio, medical
and aerospace equipment views throughput as one of its major production
“As a job shop, we build to print, so we manufacture
just about anything for the electronics industry, and our part orders
are always changing,” says Brian McLaughlin, Pinnacle Precision senior
vice president. “From chassis to brackets to clips to panels, and just
about any other type of component, our varying product mix means that we
have a lot of changeovers and different lead times, both of which
result in constant battles for maximizing throughput.”
past few decades, McLaughlin and his team have used Amada-style punch
holders for the press brake as well as a quick-release manual clamping
system from Wilson Tool International, White Bear Lake, MN. In its
efforts to reduce bottlenecks and increase throughput, Pinnacle
Precision recently implemented a new punch-clamping system that uses
shop air as the power source.
Designed by Wilson Tool, the new
Express Air clamping system clamps and seats front and back tools
simultaneously using a single pushbutton remote. This quick-change
technology has helped Pinnacle Precision reduce setup time by
eliminating the need to hand-tighten set screws and manually seat the
“We probably perform about five to 15 setups per day,
depending on the batch size,” McLaughlin says. “Using the air-powered
clamps is a huge timesaver. The system clamps, seats and releases the
punches all at once, which dramatically cuts our setup time.”
by standard shop air at 90-120 psi, the clamping system also allows
operators to set up gaps between punch holders to create an ideal setup
for box bending.
“With other clamping systems, the clamping bed
takes up inches of travel that you just can’t get back,” says
McLaughlin. “With the air-powered system, since we can create spaces
between the punch holders, we can bend deeper boxes and still have the
power that’s not found on manual systems.”
Since implementing the
air-powered clamping system, Pinnacle Precision has noticed cost
savings throughout the shop as well as time savings.
where we can improve processes and lead times while keeping costs down
are all benefits we can pass along to our customers,” McLaughlin says.
“In our efforts to maximize the press-brake bottleneck, the air-powered
clamping system is a crucial part of those improvements as we go