Industry 4.0: Sensors Come to Sheet Metal Forming

Ohio State University article about Industry 4.0 the use of sensors in stamping:

If you don’t think you can justify sensors, my recommendation is to track coil-by-coil performance [bad AND good] to see effect of metal props. You might find that success is a function of more than just YTE or hardness.  Sensors like tonnage monitors will help focus corrective actions.

-Danny Schaeffler, and  ​

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​Impact of Overseas Tooling Sourcing: A report from the Center for Automotive Research ​

CAR  Director of Manufacturing, Engineering, & Technology Abe Vadhavkar writes about the impact of sourcing tools overseas on the US tool & die sector.​  ​The report​​ states that new tooling sourced in Low Cost Countries such as China and Taiwan may cost 20 percent lower than US sourced tooling, with similar time-to-completion, even with shipping. ​ Among other things, the report highlights ​the​ advanced age of US tool & die workers and potential for US-based shops to become technologically uncompetitive without new tooling business to support investment in newest machinery & tryout equipment.  ​This report offers steps to revitalize the US tool & die sector. ​

-Danny Schaeffler, and  ​
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Aluminum and Steel Usage at Nissan-Smyrna, TN

The ​​Nissan assembly plant in ​Smyrna, TN makes 640,000 vehicles a year, and it’s stamping plant supports production of 1.2 million vehicles. The stamping plant goes through 375 tons of steel and 14 tons of aluminum every day.

-Danny Schaeffler, and

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Aluminum and Steel Battle for Supremacy in Automotive Applications

There are benefits and challenges associated with each metal, and automakers need to consider strength, stiffness, manufacturing, weight, and cost – and many more characteristics. Steelmakers and aluminum producers are eager to help: 2 tons of sheetmetal are purchased for 17 million vehicles sold each year in the US – there is no other industry with such high-volume sales opportunities. Read about the challenges and considerations in my article in the May 2018 issue of MetalForming Magazine at

-Danny Schaeffler, and

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Treat Water Before Diluting Your Stamping Lubes

You drink bottled H2O rather than tap because it might taste “hard”, but what about using it for diluting stamping lubes? When diluted lubes dry during part storage, the remaining hard water ions can lead to problems.
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Lubrication Technology for Metalformers, a conference from Metalforming Magazine in Feb 2019

Lubrication Technology for Metalformers, a February 2019 seminar from Metalforming Magazine, will help you learn how to select the right lubricant for your specific project based on material type, thickness, and forming challenges. The talks I’m most interested in hearing include these:
“Automotive OEM Requirements: Lubricant Selection and Management Standards at General Motors” by Alan Pearson,
“Selecting the Right Lubricant for the Workpiece Material—Aluminum, Steel Stainless Steel” by Chris Fletcher,
and the keynote “How to Evaluate Lubricants—A Data-Driven Approach for Metalformers” by Ali Fallahiarezoodar

For info, see:

-Danny Schaeffler, and

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Sharp Edges Lead to Cracks? Who Knew?

“Cracks found in the Transbay Terminal superstructure appear to have started at the sharp corners of holes cut into vital steel beams during construction.” The San Francisco transit center opened in late August after 10 years of construction, costing $2.2 billion. And a month later, beams with cracks were found, leading to it’s closure “out of an abundance of caution.” This is going to be a costly mistake (covered under warranty!)

“If you don’t have the time and resources to do things right the first time, how will you find the time and resources to do it over again?” – me.

-Danny Schaeffler, and

Images from

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Using Test Data to Derive Product Improvements: Design Tests to Give Pertinent Quantitative Info

NIST and industry partners create new lab test to provide quantitative data on the scratch and damage resistance of automobile polymer clearcoat layers.  Compare this with the 2 common methods currently used that provide only qualitative assessments: one is a rotating wheel of brushes to simulate car wash damage, and the other is a robotic ‘finger” moving back and forth to mimic damage from human contact and abrasive surfaces. Both of these “methods only assess clearcoat performance based on appearance, a qualitative measure where the results vary from test to test, and they don’t provide the quantitative data that scientifically helps us understand what happens to auto finishes in real life.”

-Danny Schaeffler, and

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Tesla Stamping and Assembly of Model 3

There are only 35 high end Schuler servo stamping presses in auto manufacturing worldwide and the one at Tesla is the first one in the US. The equipment has allowed Tesla to form unique parts, like the Model 3 front fender, which engineers say has greater depth in a single piece of stamped steel than any other fender in production. Tesla chose to build a factory to handle all of its seat production, making it unique in an industry where its competitors all outsource seats.
This is a good article highlighting manufacturing of the Model 3.

-Danny Schaeffler, and

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Schuler and Porsche Form JV for Auto Body Parts

Schuler and Porsche form a 50/50 joint venture to use IoT Industry 4.0 networked equipment capable of machine learning to create the “Smart Press Shop.” The intent is to create “highly flexible production of complex car body parts, with a focus on aluminum body panels.” Schuler technology that enables up to 20 strokes per minute with reduced energy consumption will be deployed. Small batch production will be achieved with a newly developed die-changing approach.

-Danny Schaeffler, and

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Increasing Profits by Reducing Complexity and Focusing on Customer

After almost 20 years of losses, GM’s former European division is profitable one year after being sold to the parent company of Peugeot/Citroën. There are obviously many reasons, but some that stood out to me:
– an agreement with labor to trim salary costs by reducing the standard workweek to 35 hours from 40.
– assembly output reduced in Rüsselsheim to 42 vehicles per hour instead of 55 to “focus on cars customers actually want to buy.”
– On the Corsa model which starts at about $14,000, there are 10 possible infotainment systems, down from 57 (!) and there are now 9 windshield / wiper options, down from 16.

-Danny Schaeffler, and

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Is it cheaper to flood the tools or use an engineered lubricant designed for advanced metals?

Saving pennies or dollars per gallon shouldn’t translate to many thousands of dollars in unnecessary and increased tooling costs or defects and scrap. Learn more about balancing the optimum lube at the optimum concentration vs spraying a cheap lube all over your tools and floor from

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Finding Solutions for Wear -Tooling By Design in the September 2018 Issue of MetalForming Magazine

I always read what Pete Ulintz writes. His latest article in Metalforming Magazine ( is on tooling wear when forming stainless and aluminum.
A few additional comments from my experience:
A) Your metal supplier may be able to provide you coils with the PE/PVC coating already applied.
B) You might need to adjust your forming approach. I’ve worked with parts where the polymer coating was ripped off when going through the draw beads and that balled up dirt restricted metal flow.
C) D2 is usually a bad choice for forming stainless steels into parts with even moderate complexity. Chromium in D2 + Chromium in stainless steel = galling.
Pete’s also one of the best speakers/teachers that’s out there. You can hear him and others in Nashville on Sept 12/13:
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“Quality is in the eye of the customer for most in the metal fabricating world”

Nice post by @fabricating reminding people that an ISO9001 mindset is great, but not every job needs ISO9001-level documentation. “Quality is in the eye of the customer for most in the metal fabricating world.”

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Coil Fed Laser Blanking coming to SET Chicago

SET-Chicago to start laser blanking in 2019: straight line cutting speeds about 2 meters/sec from coil-fed strip continuously fed up to 1 m/sec.

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Stamping Higher-Strength Steels Seminar – Sept 12/13 in Nashville

Happy to be speaking at PMA’s Stamping Higher-Strength Steels Seminar in Nashville, Sept 12-13.  Learn about high-strength-steels / formability, tool steels & coatings, presses & die design, and effective lubricant strategies.

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