For the past several years, SMB has faced increased competition from suppliers in low-wage countries. This situation has forced SMB to make parts more cost-effectively without lessening fastener-insertion accuracy. So in 2009 the company decided the best way to achieve this goal was to replace its three 12-year-old presses, made by Haeger Inc., with model 824 WindowTouch presses, also made by Haeger.
Thomas Schnekenburger, chief executive officer of SMB, says his company chose the model 824 because its touch screen control with InsertionGraphics guarantees failure-free fastener insertion. InsertionGraphics visually guides operators through the insertion process so that:
Every fastener is inserted, in the correct sequence and on the correct side of the part.
Every fastener is the correct length.
Every fastener is straight.
“Workers can immediately see where hardware does not fit correctly,” says Schnekenburger. “The right fastener must be installed in the right hole with the right length-no more and no less.”
The model 824 features a turret insertion system that allows both automatic and manual insertion in a user-defined rotation. Up to four different fasteners can be installed in a part at a time.
Schnekenburger says SMB parts contain eight to 18 fasteners that are two to four sizes. When there is a large quantity of two different fasteners, the operator has to pick up and position the part twice.
However, the part often contains a large quantity of one size fastener and a small quantity of the other sizes. In those cases, SMB automatically feeds the one size fastener and manually feeds the other sizes, so the operator picks up the part only once.
When inserting fasteners in soft metals like aluminum, SMB uses a positive stop to prevent bulging and ensure repeatability. The stop is designed for insertion applications requiring pressures as low as 50 pounds.
SMB also pre-aligns insertion tools with T-brackets to decrease setup times. Schnekenburger says this enables machine operators to change fasteners or feeder bowls in less than 5 minutes. The model 824 can handle up to four feeder bowls.
“At times, our customers demand specific types and brands of self-clinching fasteners,” says Schnekenburger. “With [this machine], we can use any type, size or brand of fastener they want.”
For more information on fastener-insertion machines, call 800-878-4343 or visit www.haeger.com.