Several years ago, FIMO, a maker of parts for cellular telephone towers contacted Evans about manufacturing a specific part. This part holds large cables that connect cell phone towers to the data grids of cell service providers. At the time, FIMO was making the part in Italy using a custom machine that was bending each part from scratch. The machine could produce 2-3 parts per minute. That capacity was satisfactory until this company landed a very large client, and needed to dramatically increase its production capacity. We accomplished their goal using progressive metal stamping.
The part in question is a stainless steel bracket. The steel bracket attaches to a cell phone tower and holds the fiber cables going up the tower. The parts interlock to one another, which means that installers can lock several together to hold multiple cables.
FIMO came to Evans because they landed a very large cellular telephone service provider as a customer, and their demand for this particular part skyrocketed to over 1,000,000 parts per year. They needed to increase their production capabilities dramatically.
Evans created a progressive die tool to manufacture the part using progressive metal stamping. We didn’t change the design, but the customer did take the opportunity to make the part stronger, assuming they were going to move to a different production facility. The die cost approximately $60,000 and five months to create, test, iterate, and finalize.
The progressive die that Evans built can produce 80 parts per minute using progressive metal stamping. Our die also makes a smaller version of the same part to hold a slightly smaller cable. Five years later, we’re still producing this same patented part for our FIMO. As the cellular service business continues to grow and expand around the globe, every cellular carrier in the U.S. utilizes this part on their cell towers.
What is Progressive Metal Stamping?
Wikipedia actually gives a pretty good definition of progressive metal stamping: “a metalworking method that can encompass punching, coining, bending and several other ways of modifying metal raw material, combined with an automatic feeding system. The feeding system pushes a strip of metal through all of the stations of a progressive stamping die. Each station performs one or more operations until a finished part is made. The final station is a cutoff operation, which separates the finished part from the carrying web. The carrying web, along with metal that is punched away in previous operations, is treated as scrap metal. Both are cut away, knocked down (or out of the dies) and then ejected from the die set, and in mass production are often transferred to scrap bins via underground scrap material conveyor belts.”
Check out this video of the final stage of the progressive metal stamping process. This process allowed FIMO to rapidly and efficiently increase production to meet demand. Contact us for a free quote on your part.