Achilles was a great warrior of ancient Greece and the hero of Homer’s Iliad, but despite his legendary invulnerability, an arrow to the heel led to his downfall. Likewise, something as small as a washer can become the Achilles heel of any design if not considered carefully.
Stamped parts like washers – found in everything from recliners, to kitchen blenders, to cars, and much more – come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials. With so many options, design engineers might pick the first material and form that meets their basic requirements, but this can lead to a sub-optimal design and problems down the line.
Engineers can work closely with washer manufacturers like New Process Fibre Company, Incorporated (NPF) to ensure they avoid any unexpected arrows to the heel of their design.
“A lot of engineers pick out the material, dimensions and tolerances they are looking for, but if they pick out a material and it doesn't work, then they’re kind of stuck,” said Bill Rust, director of sales and marketing at NPF. “We’re here to help.”
Material Considerations for Stamped Parts
Engineers have plenty of good reasons to move away from metal materials and toward non-metallic ones such as thermoplastics, laminates and fibers for stamped parts.
Vulcanized fibre is a light and strong material often comprised of wood pulp, paper and rag material. With good impact and abrasion resistance, as well as high flammability ratings, vulcanized fibre can be used in automotive components or provide electrical insulation, among many applications.
Thirty seven representatives from twenty six New Zealand and four Australian manufacturing companies, two business organisations (The Manufacturers’ Network and the EMA) and two government funded innovation agencies (Callaghan Innovation and the Australian IMCRC) have all combined into a study group to investigate advanced manufacturing technology at the Internet of Manufacturing Conference in Chicago and through visits to a number of U.S manufacturing companies.