Kilmartin Industries, a large metal stamping and machining company in Boston, Massachusetts, recently replaced their CAM system. Now, they utilize the Licom APS 3D machining module (Licom Systems, Inc. Westborough, Massachusetts), with engraving, as well as their Wire-EDM software module. They have also reduced their coining and striking die lead times production cycles by 80 to 90 percent. Their pursuit of excellence in coining and die striking machining is exemplified in saving customers' time and money.
According to Mike Hartman, Kilmartin tool room supervisor, "The methodology used to produce coining and striking dies normally is quite time consuming. A customer usually sends us artwork, or we design the die for them. Then a pattern maker must enlarge the artwork, normally four or five to one, to cut the pattern. This process, depending on the complexity of the design work, can take from one to four hours.
"The old method was to use a manual pantograph engraver to cut the die. Intricate shapes required for coining or striking dies can take up to two to five hours to machine. Usually after a die is cut, some handwork needs to be done to the die to clean up and sharpen corners left by the tool radius. The total time for this machining process from start to finish, can take as long as nine hours.
He goes on to say, "We have tried other CAD/CAM systems, but unfortunately the stumbling block has always been producing proven NC programs to easily make our coining and striking dies.
"We like to take our customer's artwork and by utilizing a scanner, transfer the artwork to a vectorizing program, which converts it to DXF file format. APS software can read either DXF, IGES, CADL, Anvil 5000, and other exchange formats, to rapidly produce NC programs. One particularly useful feature of the APS's Mill software module is the engraving function. This allows a conical tool to ramp up a corner and down, thereby making the features at the top of the die as sharp as they are at the bottom of the die. The APS software totally eliminates the "handwork" that was associated with a die through production cycle."