30 May 2018

How much time do you waste in tool change?

A short survey in the Facebook group Lamiera e Lamieristi (Sheet metal and Fabricators) confirms a problem that is very much felt by operators: set-up times are very high. In some cases, they are similar to the time required to bend.

“from 1 to 5 minutes”
“about 10 minutes”
“set-up times from 10 to 15 mins including programming. When multiple stations are required to bend the part, set-up times increase (on my 2-meter machine). On the 6-meter press brake, tooling and programming require from 30 to 45 mins”
“one setup (selecting and installing tools) averages 5 or 6 mins, plus 2 or 3 more minutes for tuning”

All this work is a non-productive activity, because it does not add value to the part. It is wasted effort, which reduces profit margins and increases processing times. The problem becomes even more serious when working on very small lots, where retooling is very common:

“30 times a day”
“13 a day”
“some days you happen to change jobs even every 10 minutes on small lots”
“without pneumatic clamping I’d be working 8 hours just to change tools”
“From 3 to 10 times a day”
“We can reach 15 [changes]”

30 May 2018

Reducing set-up time is therefore essential. For this reason, Gasparini has developed some types of clamping systems that greatly facilitate the operator’s work.
The most common are the Gasparini pneumatic clamping systems, both in the classic version with pipe and in the new patented AirSlide version, without air hose. This latter solution makes retooling even faster.

Gasparini has also recently introduced the Toolever quick-action clamping systems, which combine the speed of pneumatic clamping with the convenience of manual clamps. They have the great advantage that they can also be used on existing machines without any kind of machining or retrofitting. Watch them in action:

As with any investment, it is essential to know the economic return. We have created a small online calculation tool that allows you to evaluate the impact of set-up times and know how much money you are losing. With this data, we can understand the real advantage of replacing manual clamping with faster and more practical ones.

For instance, suppose that an operator has to change tooling 10 times a day. Consider 10 minutes for manual clamping and 5 minutes for pneumatic or lever-operated clamping. We go from 600 seconds to 300, 10 times a day. The annual saving is more than 5,100 €.

Calculate saving in tool changing

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