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issue: September 2005 APPLIANCE Magazine

Production - Food Service Equipment
Improving Form and Function

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Foodservice equipment manufacturer APW Wyott was able to eliminate secondary brake operations while improving product design by using advanced tooling from Mate Precision Toolin

Using new tooling, APW Wyott is able to create sheet metal forms like curved cross breaks for its foodservice equipment product lines. This is achieved by using the extended programming capabilities of punch presses that can operate in the X and Y axis with the ram down.

Foodservice equipment used in restaurants, concessions, and bakeries are designed specifically for heavy-duty usage. APW Wyott, a 60-year-old foodservice equipment manufacturer of heavy-duty ovens and heating cabinets and countertop equipment, says this makes quality of utmost importance. The Dallas, TX, U.S.-based company is constantly looking for better ways to upgrade its fabricating operations to improve its products.

Our product designers look for new ways to enhance the functionality of our products and to make them more cost effectively, confirms Mike Schutkowski, senior sheet metal programmer. One recent example of this, he says, was improving the processes used to make the stainless-steel panels for its commercial cooking appliances.

APW Wyott heating cabinets and ovens have extra-thick, stainless-steel panels with stiffening cross breaks and reinforcing ribs fabricated in them to withstand the wear and tear found in commercial kitchens, Mr. Schutkowski explains. The customary way of producing these part features for different part runs in small quantities requires the use of a press brake and hand labor.

According to Mr. Schutkowski, parts have to be moved following punching from the turret press to the press brake. Each part has to be aligned in the machine by hand, formed, and then removed by hand. The process gives these products extra durability, he notes, but is slow and creates a major bottleneck in our overall fabricating operations. So we looked for a better way.

Mate Rollerball tolling rolls across the stainless steel surface to produce curved stiffening cross breaks and reinforcing ribs.

A Novel Idea

APW Wyott has complete fabricating equipment in-house in order to produce its broad product line in varying quantities. This equipment includes shears; press brakes; welding, finishing, and assembly equipment; and three turret punch presses.

Our part runs are not large, usually 1 to 50 at a time, so keeping setup time to a minimum is very important, Mr. Schutkowski says. We really wanted to produce the stiffening cross breaks and reinforcing ribs on the press while the panels were being punched to eliminate the press brake operation and the production bottleneck that resulted.

The company tried other wheel-type tools on its Amada presses, but they didnt do the job because of the hard materials the manufacturer requires. The reinforcing ribs had to look nice as well as provide the reinforcing function, Mr. Schutkowski notes. Eighty percent of our panels needing stiffening are fabricated from 20-gauge stainless steel, with the remainder [using] 16- and 18-gauge and a small amount of .050 aluminum. We heard about the Mate Rollerball tool, so we decided to investigate.

Richard Atwood, sales engineer at Mate Precision Tooling (Anoka, MN, U.S.), came up with the idea of using the Rollerball tool for making cross breaks in a turret press that were functional and also had a design flair to them. While the Rollerball tool has been around for a few years, its primary application had been for making reinforcing ribs. The new idea gave APW Wyott a novel technique that also allowed it to create interesting product designs.

Fabricating stiffening cross breaks and reinforcing ribs are very important part features in our broad line of foodservice equipment, Mr. Schutkowski explains. Weve come up with a method using the Rollerball tool from Mate Precision Tooling that produces these stiffening cross breaks and reinforcing ribs in functional and attractive curved patterns utilizing the programming software of the turret press, a process weve never seen done before. Its fast, accurate, and weve totally eliminated use of a press brake to produce these stiffening cross breaks and reinforcing ribs.

Design Benefits

Originally designed to form ribs, flanges, and raised areas across the entire work surface of light gauge sheet metal, Rollerball not only worked for APW Wyotts applications, it proved to be rugged enough for all stainless-steel panel applications. The big plus, however, was the design flair that the Rollerball tool added. To achieve this, the tool utilizes a steel ball, which creates a continuous deformation or bead in the sheet metal. The tool itself remains stationary, while the ball segment of the tool rolls across the material surface. The tool does no punching. Instead, as the workpiece is advanced, the Rollerball, in combination with the auto index station, creates the desired arc deformation in the material.

The Rollerball process is really fast considering all the steps we had to go through before using the press brake to make the stiffening cross breaks and reinforcing ribs, notes Mr.Schutkowski. With the Rollerball, we operate our Finn Power [press] at full rapid traverse speed, producing typical stiffening cross breaks in the 20-gauge stainless very quickly. These reinforcing cross breaks look really nice, so they enhance the overall products appearance. Plus, the curved pattern on most applications adds more support than straight-cross breaks and reinforcing ribs.

Controlling the height and width of the cross breaks, as well as the angle, depends on controlling variables of the press, tool, and material. Using his 15 years of experience in turret presses and programming, Mr. Schutkowski estimated that it took about 4 hr to create the first program using existing software, which included setting up code parameters for different part types and then verifying the toolperformance on sample parts. Subsequent programs required just a fraction of that time, including first article inspection.

The Rollerball process is consistent, so there are no noticeable variations in these cross breaks, Mr. Schutkowski reports. They look nice. Also, we liked the flexibility that the tool gives us. We now use 30 different reinforcing cross-break and rib configuration programs, and we can change configurations just by changing to a different stored program. Once the press is programmed, no operator intervention is needed to produce the stiffening cross breaks and reinforcing ribs. The press and tooling do all
of the work automatically.

Mr. Schutkowski also says that the Rollerball tool paid for itself in less than 6 months through reduced production time. He can set the tool up in less than 5 min, and has yet to run into any problems. Its a good, durable tool, he notes, and its done a good job of extending the range of our fabricating capabilities.

Suppliers mentioned in this article:
Mate Precision Tooling

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