Many metal stampings and four slide parts use a continuous metal strip as a the raw material. The tooling performs the required stamping and forming operations along the strip, and usually cuts the parts off at the end.
With continuous reel stamping, the stamped parts remain connected to their backing strip, and are wound onto our custom reels. These continuous reels provide convenient handling, and simplify the customer’s processing on secondary machinery or automated assembly equipment.
Continuous reels have become essential for automating production lines as more original equipment manufacturers turn to robotic and automated assembly systems. At Excel Spring & Stamping, our extensive stamping portfolio includes continuous reel stamping and winding. An existing customer approached us for our expertise and reliability, when considering continuous reels for their new four slide stamping project.
This project came with a few challenges for our team to solve. First, we needed to identify a reel material that would be strong enough to hold the wound parts without driving up costs. We also needed to ensure that the parts would not be damaged during handling and transit. The Excel team also had to find the best way to plate the reeled parts, as well as identify the best orientation for the terminals to ensure compatibility with our customer’s downstream processes.
While our initial plan was to use reels made from wood, this material increased the weight and transport costs for our customer. We designed and fabricated some reels from different materials to find a better solution, and ultimately decided on corrugated cardboard. The corrugated reels are lightweight, returnable and reusable, which makes them eco-friendly. This offered a cost savings that Excel was able to pass on to the customer.
Initially, we tried an outside vendor to plate the parts after we wound them on the reels. We quickly discovered that the nature of the plater’s reel-to-reel process significantly increased the risk of part distortion. Instead of sending out the reels of parts for plating, we decided to use pre-plated material to completely avoid this problematic step. This resulted in much shorter production time, and totally eliminated the distortion problem.
Protecting the parts during production and transportation came down to very careful part winding. We chose to use a powered take-up reel with touchless sensing. We also wound a kraft paper separator between the layers to mitigate the risk of tangling, which could result in distortion and surface abrasion.
Finally, we found that we needed to rewind each reel in a specific direction to facilitate automated assembly at our client’s plant. This is a minor step, but failing to do this would require the client to unwrap and rewrap the reel to face the terminals in the appropriate direction.
Our customer was extremely pleased with the outcome of this project. Excel Spring & Stamping has worked on multiple projects for this client spanning several years and continues to enjoy a positive and mutually beneficial relationship with them. Our client had this to say about our work together:
“With the guidance and experience of the Excel team, we have been able to proceed through an intricate design process. The requirements set forth by national and international agencies demand the precision and repeatability offered by Excel’s manufacturing capability. They have the ability to offer parts on a reel that is orientated in such a manner as to allow downstream applications to assemble without human interaction.”
About Excel Spring & Stamping
Excel Spring & Stamping can produce parts on continuous reels using a highly refined internal process that makes us an ideal provider for your continuous reel stamping needs. We strive to be innovative and eco-friendly in our operations, which is why we utilize corrugated reels that make our continuous reel processes sustainable and cost-effective. The experts at Excel Spring & Stamping will offer solutions that support your automated assembly equipment and processes.
If you have questions or would like to get started on your next project, please contact us today.