Tool and Die
At Anchor Harvey, we pride ourselves on providing the highest quality forged aluminum products that meet customer’s needs with precision, consistency, and unmatched detail. We can achieve this level of detail and consistent quality through our custom tool-and-die work, allowing us to keep a consistent design throughout the part production process. This allows new tools to be developed quickly, made immediately, refined and retooled as needed, and replaced quickly when necessary.
Anchor Harvey has an entire suite of in-house machine tools to make our own forging dies and can custom make new dies for every customer order.
What is Tool and Die?
Tool and die making is a machining class used to make dies, jigs, fixtures, molds, tools, gauges, and other manufacturing implements. Tools and tooling is a blanketed term that refers to all manners of manufacturing implements used to produce other parts in multiple manufacturing processes.
The difference between normal machining and tool and die manufacturing is that tool and die making is specifically a set of procedures that makes tooling used to make actual parts.
- Fixtures are tools used to hold parts for manufacturing. In forging, a fixture can be a special implement used to grab and hold a part while that piece is hammered or secured into a die.
- Jigs are like fixtures, except they are shaped in a way that actually guides other tools in the manufacturing process. Jigs are commonly used in machining applications but may not be a common part of the forging process.
- Tools and tooling refer to a shaped piece that is used in the shaping of the part. In machining, every cutter or drill is considered a tool. In forging, dies and shaped hammers would all be considered tools.
- Dies are a shaped plate of metal that is pressed to a part (either the part is pressed into the die or the die is forced onto the part) to shape it into the negative impression of the die.
Making of a Forging Die
The tool and die professionals at Anchor Harvey use their skills to custom produce each die for every customer order. Here is what our process looks like:
- The forging and design engineers work closely with the customer to design a part to their exact specifications.
- Engineers will design a die with a negative impression of the final part. This design will include the materials to be used, a tool path for machine tools to cut the die faces, a heat treatment specification for the final die, and a manufacturing process to produce the die.
- The die material is purchased from one of the Anchor Harvey quality domestic material vendors.
- The die plates are cut using machine tools at Anchor Harvey’s in-house tool and die shop. This can include multiple rounds of low-speed milling, precision grinding to achieve flatness, and electric discharge machining (EDM) procedures to create the intricate and complex negative faces of a closed forging die.
- The die plates, now cut into the proper shape, are heat treated and normalized using Anchor Harvey’s in-house heat treatment process. This makes the dies hard and resistant to damage and impacts so they can stand up to the forging process and produce consistent forged aluminum parts.
- The die now enters the production process and can begin forging parts, all without ever leaving the Anchor Harvey shop!
How Anchor Harvey Improves Die Making
Anchor Harvey’s in-house tool and die shop, and the professional tool and die makers that work there, are constantly improving the die-making process, subsequently improving the quality of our final parts. The tool and die shop uses state of the art CNC mills, sinker and wire EDM machines, and high-quality tool steels to make dies to the highest standards, providing the following benefits and more, including:
- Defect Free: The tool and die makers at Anchor Harvey can produce smooth and precise dies; we can also repair or retool dies at a moment’s notice. This produces consistent parts that are free of small defects that can affect the appearance and performance of parts.
- Finish: Smooth parts are produced from smooth dies. The surface finish of final parts is sometimes unimportant for more than aesthetics, but some may require post-processing to remove imperfections on a part’s surface.
- Consistency: A good die produces consistent parts without risk of damage to the die. A die with defects produces defective parts and is more prone to failure, requiring a complete retooling of the die.
Anchor Harvey’s in-house tool and die shop produces the most consistent dies to produce the most consistent parts in the forging process. We can also retool a production process in a little as one week. This versatility and precision is one part of the premier forging process that allows Anchor Harvey to provide the most premier forged aluminum products to all its customers.