Fearing change can be a very natural response – especially in metal-stamping. The stories of tool-coating and lubricant trials run amok; get passed down like ghost stories from engineer to engineer and tool maker to tool maker. One bad experience can “poison the well” for every other product even remotely similar…this is very unfortunate.
Anytime there is a radical change from one type of technology to another – there is always a “learning curve” to be addressed. This happened when users of straight-oil lubricants moved to emulsifiable-oils. There is a period of adjustment needed when switching to wholly oil-free chemistries. But it doesn’t need to be as painful as in the past.
Production methods and equipment have caught up to modern, oil-free chemistries and now there are better ways to minimize disrupting production. A prime example of such technology is the availability of IRMCO iTOOL® – lubricant screening testing. This test method allows a stamper to screen multiple lubricants on virtually any substrate in an actual metal-forming process where metal-flow, part temperature and peak load can be measured and compared. This can help select better performing lubricants for actual line trials – minimizing the chances of tool/die damage, part scrap and costly down time.
Let’s face it – fear is largely driven by “the unknown”. Most improvements to modern manufacturing have been driven by reactive responses to safety or regulatory concerns, or to product failures in the field and global competition. The truly monumental improvements are driven by proactive action against comfortable norms. Phones were merely for calls until smart phones came along – just like higher strength steels of today can achieve things the preceding carbon steels could not and cannot.
It’s normal to “fear the unknown”…so “get in the know”. Contact IRMCO to see how IRMCO iTOOL and our expertise can propel you forward and leave the doubters – and competition – behind…