Producing the basic shape for the top die from this solid block of metal requires several machining operations which are undertaken prior to its heat treatment. This initial machining work involves “blocking out” on heavy duty millers, CNC milling and lathe work.
As the customer’s final product has a shaped top and carries the product name it is then necessary to machine the inverse of this on the now hardened blank top. To achieve this we manufacture an electrode out of graphite (shown above left) which looks like the finished item. This electrode is fitted onto a spark erosion machine in our EDM department and sparking takes place between the electrode and the top so creating the required image and shape.
For the complete die to work effectively all parts of the die must be manufactured to design tolerances so that they fit and work smoothly together. Therefore the final stages include precision grinding and final polishing undertaken in the fitting shop.
This results in a completed top die as illustrated above right, photographed before dispatch to our customer’s factory. There it is set up on a press ready for production.
The complete tool includes not only the top die, but also an outer box with wear liners and the bottom ejection plate.
The die is filled automatically with salt lick powder, and compressed until the required compaction is achieved. Packaging and dispatch follow.
The end result for this product appears to be healthier and contented animals, as illustrated by Nicola’s ponies
Most tooling is produced from solid blocks of material. According to the application it may be the hardest of metals to resist wear or high conductivity material for thermo setting items. Out tooling may also involve the use of plastics, ceramics and specialised alloys.
The products resulting from our tooling are to be found in many areas including transport, the home and house building, energy production, medicine and agriculture. This includes the production of copper cable for overhead conductors, kiln furniture, tiles of all types, brake linings, pharmaceutical tablets, and even honey dippers!