Continuous Improvement: New Flare Tooling Design
At Proto-1 we always strive to improve upon our processes and techniques. In a recent project, Proto-1 Manufacturing was tasked with a new challenge. A customer had approached Proto-1 to design a tube end forming solution that could produce 70°, short length, 0.065” wall, 304 stainless steel flares for use within exhaust applications for heavy truck. After analyzing the customer’s prints, our engineering team concluded that a new flare tool design would be needed to produce the specs given by the customer.
This new flare tool would address several variables that went into the end forming process to produce the flare. Unlike our past designs, this new concept incorporated a different forming segment design to form a truer inside radius on the flare. The new forming segments also featured a quick roller change over which didn’t require the operator to remove the segments in order to change out the rollers. Due to the new forming design, rollers could now be straight in design. Straight rollers are much easier to manufacture as they require less machining time, thus lowering the cost of this consumable.
Aside from the tool, Proto-1 also designed a fixture to aid the tool with the end forming process. Due to the short length of the part, the fixture added additional safety since the operator wasn’t required to hand load the part into the machine. The fixture also maintained the tube’s orientation and location, which, in conjunction with the grip inserts, prevented slipping and grip marks as opposed to just having larger inserts and no fixture whatsoever.
This new design proved to be a success as the tool was more than capable of producing a part within the required specifications. Compared to our past flare tool designs, this tool used more stroke from our RFM-6 tube end forming machine to produce a part, resulting in less force required to form a part. This results in less wear and tear on the tooling which leads to more produced parts before consumables need to be changed over.
Tube Production Runs:
Aside from our standard lines of tube end forming equipment, Proto-1 offers tube production services to those who can’t justify the capital investment for tube end forming equipment. Rather than purchasing a machine, Proto-1 can manufacture a tool for your specific tube end form. Once the tool is complete, it can then be used in our equipment to runoff your tube production runs. The finished tube end forms are then boxed and shipped. All production runs are completed by a Proto-1 tool technician and each run is inspected by our quality department to maintain accuracy.
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