The Slide Forming process is a metal stamping process that combines the progressive die process with additional forming stations in a self-contained specialized piece of equipment.
Since Stewart EFI has the ability to produce progressive die as well as slide-formed components, our engineers and toolmakers will design and build the tools and dies using the process that is best suited to give you the highest quality part at the lowest total cost.
The ability to produce these complex components allows the possibility of combining multiple parts into a single component.
The Slide Forming machine or press incorporates and synchronizes a Strip Material (or wire) Feeding Device, Material (or wire) Straightener, one or more Press (or Die) Heads that can accommodate a progressive die(s) and a Forming Station where the part is bent. The Feed, Straightener and Press Head work much like the progressive die process, except that all of these sub-processes are integrated into one machine along with the Forming Station.
In the Press Head(s) cuts, holes, dimples, extrusions, coining and certain other part features are accomplished. The parts remain attached to the strip in this station.
The partially completed parts, still attached to the strip are then presented to the Forming Station. Once sensors detect that the strip is in the proper location a gripper (Blank Holder) holds the part and it is cut-off from the strip.
The Forming Station is mounted in the cam operated area of the machine. The form tooling is mounted on the machines cam driven slides around a central mandrel (also called a king post or arbor). The mandrel acts as an anvil over which the Slide Punches (Forming Tools) will form the bends in the part. Slides which have a punch fastened at one end are part of the machine and are guided in a holding sleeve and are moved at the other end by cams mounted on the machines drive shaft(s). These slides can be activated simultaneously or in sequence. Depending on the type of machine employed four or more of these slides are either fixed at 90 degree intervals around the central mandrel (commonly referred to as Four-Slide or Multi-Slide) or can be placed, as required, anywhere around a 360 degree axis to the central mandrel (commonly referred to as Rotary Forming). Slide forming machines are available in horizontal and vertical versions dependent on the axis of the slide direction.
After the part is formed in the Forming Station Stripping Fingers will positively eject (or strip) the part off of the Mandrel and out of the machine.