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„The Bihler LEANTOOL progressive tool system“

Standardized LEANTOOL progressive

With the introduction of the new Bihler LEANTOOL progressive tool system, Otto Bihler Maschinenfabrik has extended the LEANTOOL modular tooling system to encompass linear manufacturing solutions. This means that it is now possible to make new tools of this kind for GRM-NC stamping and forming machines extremely simply, quickly and economically – with the shortest possible implementation times, at less than half the cost and with an especially short time to market, even with small runs. The standardized system, more than 70 percent of which is made up of standard parts, covers all the necessary process steps, from planning right through to production.

When the Bihler LEANTOOL concept was first introduced for radial manufacturing, it was revolutionary. After all, this standardized solution represented a kind of modular tooling system that for the first time allowed new tools for the RM-NC and GRM-NC stamping and forming machines to be manufactured in a single, uniform process by one and the same manufacturer. The modular system made the process of producing new tools extremely simple, fast and inexpensive. And Otto Bihler Maschinenfabrik has now launched the Bihler progressive tool system that extends this successful concept to include linear manufacturing solutions. This is a modular system that now also permits simple, fast and extremely economical manufacture of all linear tools, i.e. tools that are positioned parallel to the processing plane. “The Bihler LEANTOOL progressive tooling system is the logical further development of the modular system to encompass the linear manufacturing philosophy,” says Marc Walter from Technical Sales at Bihler. “It opens up new possibilities for manufacturing stamped and bended parts on a GRM-NC machine, where the radial concept reaches its limits.”

Modular structure

The two systems – radial and progressive tooling – are not in competition with each other. Each solution is of equal value and is used to suit the component being manufactured. And the logic behind each of the systems is the same as well. Which means that the new Bihler LEANTOOL progressive tooling system also includes precisely defined modules and units for manufacturing tools. Alongside the toolholder plate, the system includes the LEANTOOL module, comprising blanks, the plate assembly and the smaller functional components such as spring packs, securing elements, grippers and stock guides. Of course, the system also includes the standard parts for the various rams and drives. These modular components form the basis for the actual toolmaking process, which starts with planning and includes simple, rapid determination of feasibility. This is followed by the simple, clearly structured design phase using the bNX software, before the tool is finally  manufactured.

Over 70 percent standard parts

For toolmaking in particular, the Bihler LEANTOOL progressive tooling system impresses with its small number of tool components and a particularly high level of standardization. Thus, more than 70 percent of the required components are made up of standard parts. The number of functional units needed will depend on the project. As a rule, the Bihler LEANTOOL progressive tooling system contains 100 tool parts plus around 50 cutting tool parts. When the tool has been made, it is fitted to the GRM-NC, the machine is set up and production of components can begin. And the Bihler LEANTOOL progressive tooling system also scores in subsequent routine manufacturing operation – in the shape of extremely fast tool changes. This is because the GRM-NC for the first time includes special quickchange interfaces to the tools in its standard configuration. These universal standard interfaces permit extremely fast, simple setup.

Cost-effective complex components

At the same time, the Bihler LEANTOOL progressive tooling system opens up entirely new possibilities for manufacturing complex stamped and bended parts. This is because the radial concept permitted a maximum of around eight bending operations, whereas this restriction disappears in the Bihler LEANTOOL progressive tooling system. Indeed, an unlimited number of bending and stamping operations are in principle possible on a component. As a result, highly complex components with twenty or more processing steps can be manufactured without difficulty. This also yields a considerable increase in performance compared with the radial system, since all the necessary processing steps can be performed independently. Depending on the component, speeds of 150 strokes per minute are absolutely achievable in practice.

Clear competitive advantages

The new solution thus represents the perfect response to future market requirements with shorter lifecycles for the end products and an increasing number of variants. The new Bihler LEANTOOL progressive tooling system offers huge potential for saving costs with the resulting smaller quantities: Manufacturing costs can be reduced by more than 50 percent. Furthermore, the system also offers very short implementation times and extremely fast, 100 percent reproducible setup operations. Consequently, the Bihler LEANTOOL progressive tooling system allows all users to get new products to market faster and more cost effectively than the competition, even in very small runs and with a wide range of variants, thus gaining a clear competitive edge.

Bihler LEANTOOL tooling system

With the LEANTOOL System you now implement new bending tools and progressive tools easier, faster and cheaper. The modular system impresses with perfect consistency from planning through design and manufacturing all the way to production on Bihler servo-controlled machines. You benefit from shortest implementation times, up to 70% lower costs compared to tools on mechanical machines as well as extremely fast “Time-to-Market” for classical stamped and formed parts as well as more complex progressive components.

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