Technical Information

The ICASS Intelligent Computer Aided Stamping System

helps to rapidly correct forming defects (splits, wrinkles and springback) in stamped sheet metal parts, both during try-out and in production. In production, the system also provides material savings from the use of smaller blanks, as well as scrap reduction.

What is ICASS?

ICASS consists of a set of 12-20 hydraulic cylinders, controlled by a computer system to deliver precise binder forces at different locations on the binder during the stamping cycle. The tonnage in each cylinder is independent and can be commanded in 0.25″ (7 mm) increments in the range of 0.5 – 25 tons. The operational concept is simple: If a split is imminent, the binder force close to the split location is reduced; and if wrinkling occurs, the binder force is increased near the wrinkle. Our extensive tests, both in try-out and in production, have shown that regular rigid binders exhibit sufficient flex to exercise local material flow control using the system.

For try-out, the cylinders, hydraulic pressure tanks and computer system are configured to be moved between presses and dies.

For production, the entire system is configured in a bolster on which the die can be mounted and moved into a press.

In addition, the system can automatically correct for operational variations during production, such as lube build up and small material thickness changes. This is done by using feedback from standard tonnage monitors to detect changes, and acting on this information in real time to change the binder forces to compensate for these operational variations. More information can be found in our technical overview “Maximizing Productivity Using Variable Binder Force Technology” (Click here to download)

Back to top

How does ICASS help make FEA simulation, die try-out and production more efficient?

FEA Analysis: ICASS helps reduce FEA effort to design engineered beads by more than 15%. Instead of spending expensive engineering time in fine tuning beads, a basic design can be used and forming control can be exercised rapidly during try-out with ICASS. ICASS also ensures that simulation uncertainties (friction estimates, material properties etc.) can be compensated for quickly.

Die Construction: Each ICASS hydraulic cylinder provides tonnage in the range of 0.5 – 25 tons while costing 50%-60% less than an equivalent nitro (gas spring). By using ICASS instead of nitros, the cost for binder force generation can be reduced by up to 70%.

For dies running on cushions, fewer pins need to be utilized, thus reducing machining/design costs and also cutting the risk of having misplaced pins. In addition, maintenance of ICASS is much simpler than that for a cushion as the press bed does need to be disassembled.

Die Try-Out: By significantly cutting down on the need to grind and weld beads and shim EQ blocks, ICASS helps reduce try-out time by as much as 80%. In addition, modifications to die geometry are minimized, ensuring that the die face stays close to its original design. At this stage, ICASS can also help optimize blank size. Increased local material flow control enables a 5% material reduction, compared to a standard FEA blank with constant binder force.

Production: In production, the use of smaller blanks as detailed above together with scrap reduction using automatic tonnage corrections to accommodate for lube build-up, die temperature changes and small thickness variations results in material savings in the range of 6%-10%. For an aluminum door-inner panel, this works out to more than $1,000/hour, assuming the parts are being made in a line operating at 10 strokes/min.

Furthermore, downtime to correct production defects is minimized. In a typical tandem line, these downtime costs have been estimated at approximately $150,000/year . By using ICASS, these costs can be significantly reduced.

Finally, by ensuring a correct binder force tonnage profile, press impact forces are reduced, leading to increased press wear and lower press maintenance costs.

Back to top

How do we implement ICASS?

A structured approach allows our customers to maximize the benefits of the ICASS system, starting from die design and ending with production. The recommended procedure is as follows:

Die Design and FEA: Given that an ICASS system enables very effective local control, a rough design for engineered beads is sufficient. Defects that occur on the outer regions of the part can be very quickly remedied with the system; thus, the FEA effort can be focused on meeting all formability criteria for the interior of the part. ICASS also allows for springback compensation by employing high binder force at the end of the stroke. In addition, designing a standard pin pattern for a class of parts allows for rapid die change without cylinder reconfiguration when using ICASS in production.

Try-Out: An ICASS try-out unit can be deployed on the shop-floor in much the same way as nitros are used. Tonnages in cylinders are commanded using a simple Excel interface that has been extensively tested on the shop-floor. Employees with basic computer skills (surfing and downloading from the web) can be trained to operate the system in less than an hour. The key to maximizing the benefits of an ICASS system is to try to correct as many defects as possible with binder force adjustment before attempting any die work. While this point may seem obvious, it does take a conscious effort on the part of the die-maker to avoid reaching for a grinder.

Production: An ICASS system for production is packaged in a rolling bolster, and effectively replaces a press cushion. Each unit can be customized given press specifications (tonnage, cushion area, shut height and cushion tonnage). Installation is relatively simple, involving connection of shop air and 220V power. Specific requirements such as bolster-mounted valves and sensors for die clamping can be incorporated as required. ICASS can also be retrofitted into existing rolling bolsters. The software interface for the try-out and production units is identical; thus, tonnage profiles determined during try-out can be downloaded for production with a single mouse click.

A presentation on the installation procedure for using ICASS as a nitro (gas spring) replacement or for dies running on cushions is available here.

Back to top

Can we get more technical information?

Yes! Please download the technical overview “Maximizing Productivity Using Variable Binder Force Technology” (PDF format) here.

And feel free to contact us for more information.

Back to top