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Anti-slug Pulling Methods

Anti-slug Pulling Methods
When the punch is withdrawn after cutting a slug, a vacuum is
created on the upstroke that will tend to pull the slug out of the
hole. If heavy lubricants are present, this tendency is increased.
One solution is to build the die with tight punch-to-die clearances. This will stop most slug-pulling problems at the expense of
accelerated wear, and shorten punch and die life. Other solutions
also work successfully.

Spring-loaded Pusher Pin

Figure 10-1 is an example of a spring-loaded pusher pin to force
the slug to remain in the die opening. It permits the punch to be
sharpened without removing the pusher pin as shown in Figure

Blow-off Device with Hole Through the Punch

Figure 10-3 shows how compressed air may be supplied through
a drilled passage in a punch to blow the slug out of the die opening. A timed burst of air is advised, rather than a continuous flow.


Die Maintenance Handbook

Figure 10-1. An example of a spring-loaded pusher pin to force the slug to

remain in the die opening. (Courtesy Dayton Progress Corp.)

Figure 10-2. Inserting a keeper pin into the vent hole in the side of the
punch will hold the pusher pin at the correct retraction amount to permit
sharpening the punch, and shorten the pusher pin the correct amount at the
same setup. (Courtesy Dayton Progress Corp.)


Anti-slug Pulling Methods

Figure 10-3. Example of compressed air supplied through a drilled passage

in the punch to blow the slug into the die opening.

This method is seldom used, but is excellent for thin materials

and larger slugsit provides a large effective pressurized area.
A continuous flow, as shown in Figure 10-4, should be avoided
because it will:
waste costly compressed air;
create excessive noise, which can damage human hearing;

Figure 10-4. An example of how a continuous blast of air through the punch
blows the lubricant from the stock surface.


Die Maintenance Handbook

blow the lubricant off the surface of the stock before contact
atomize lubricant, creating health concerns and housekeeping problems.
The use of a timed burst of air is advised for several reasons.
These include:
reduction of air consumption;
the lubricant is not atomized, resulting in more healthful conditions in the pressroom and less lubricant waste;
the timed air burst has maximum effectiveness.
Figure 10-5 illustrates a ground conical depression in the face
of the punch. This depression permits the compressed air to act
against most of the slug surface since it is fractured from the part.
This effectively increases the available piston area and serves to
improve slug blow-off action.

Reverse Taper in the Die Button

In most cases, slug pulling can be stopped by grinding the die
for approximately one-half to one-and-one-half the metal thickness with a reverse taper. This will cause the slug to jam into the

Figure 10-5. A ground conical depression in the punch face effectively

increases the available piston area and serves to improve slug blow-off


Anti-slug Pulling Methods

die opening tightly so it cannot pull back. As shown in Figure 106, the punch entry is set to jam the slug just cut into the taper.
This will dislodge the previously cut slug, which is shown being
There are some disadvantages to using reverse taper in the die
button. Punch, and especially die wear, are increased. In addition,
the cutting pressure is increased, tending to cold weld the slugs
together in a string or solid stick-like continuous mass, which can
cause severe slug jamming.
When reverse taper is used, (Figure 10-6), it is helpful to keep
the tapered portion of the die opening short and provide a stepped
or normal tapered relief beneath the reverse-tapered portion.
While this will aid slug shedding and cold-welding problems, it
tends to weaken the die section. In addition, die life is reduced.
This method is not considered good die-making practice. Rather,

Figure 10-6. The use of reverse taper in the die opening will cause the slug
to jam into the die opening tightly so it cannot pull back.


Die Maintenance Handbook

it is a method of dealing with slug pulling at the expense of die life

and maintenance costs.

Emergency Anti-slug Pulling Measures

In an emergency, many anti-slug pullback methods have been
tried and found helpful. These include everything from deliberately nicking the punch and/or button to set up a small burr, to
applying electrical tape or Velcro to the punch face.

Electrical Etching and Metal Deposition

in the Die Opening
One method that works in an emergency is to etch the inside of
the die button with an electrical etching marker. If etching equipment is not available, arc-welding equipment set for low amperage can prove effective for larger die openings in an emergency.
A similar technique is to deposit hard wear-resistant material
with an electrical deposition tool within the die opening. This type
of equipment and deposition technique may give better results
than etching equipment intended for tool marking or low-amperage, electrical-weld deposition. Several companies provide equipment for depositing wear-resistant materials on tool steel.

Punch Shear Angles

Grinding a shear angle on the punch can stop slug pulling by
curling the slug into the die opening as the cutting action occurs.
One example of a punch shear angle is shown in Figure 10-7. A
disadvantage of this method is a tendency for the punch to deflect
to one side.
Unbalanced shear as shown in Figure 10-7 is useful when the
die opening is on an angle. This condition is frequently a problem
with dies for trimming and piercing holes in large irregularly
shaped parts. Here, the point should be ground to a slightly greater
angle than that of the die opening. The sharp edge should begin
the cut. In this way, the punch portion that heels up the punch


Anti-slug Pulling Methods

Figure 10-7. Grinding a shear angle on the punch curls the slug into the die
opening to stop slug pulling. A disadvantage is a tendency for the punch to
deflect to one side.

limits any tendency for the punch to deflect. Developing proper

punch-point geometry may require some trial and error. However,
once the best point form is found, it can be reproduced as needed
from die-maintenance data.
Most hole-cutting operations do not involve angular punch entry. To curl the slug into the die opening with straight entry, a punch
geometry of the type illustrated in Figure 10-8 is useful to prevent
slug pullback. Angular shear is good to curl the slug to avoid slug
pullback. An added advantage is reduction of peak cutting force
and snap-through energy release.

Vacuum Slug-ejector Systems

A very useful slug- and part-ejection system makes use of a commercially available air-powered-vacuum ejector device known as
a bazooka. The bazooka is easily fitted under die openings. The
blast of air may be timed to avoid waste. Like all vacuum systems,
it is best suited for thin, light materials (see Figure 10-9).
Figure 10-9 illustrates one of several designs of compressedair-powered vacuum slug-ejector devices. This two-piece design
fits into precision-machined openings in die shoes and subplates.
The O-rings seal the bored openings. Compressed air is supplied
by drilled holes in the shoe or die subplate.


Die Maintenance Handbook

Figure 10-8. Balanced V-shear is used to curl the slug into the die opening.
The flats at the edges of the punch together with the radius in the center
increase punchs wear life and lessen the tendency for the punch to split in
the middle.

Figure 10-9. An air-powered-vacuum slug-ejector design. (Courtesy Koppy



Anti-slug Pulling Methods

External Vacuum Systems

External vacuum systems are suited for removing large, thin slugs
in high-speed work, such as semiconductor lead-frame production.
If scrap is discharged through the bed, the entire chamber can be
sealed so that an external vacuum source can be connected.
The use of a compressed-air-powered vacuum-ejector device is
not recommended due to the high air consumption needed to achieve
satisfactory results. A high-volume, dry-vane or roots-blower pump
is advised for such applications. Of course, a filter must be used on
the pump inlet to prevent the entry of slugs and debris.
One consideration of a vacuum system is that the vacuum force
acting on a slug in a die opening cannot exert more than 14.5 psi
(750 mm Hg), which is normal atmospheric pressure at sea level.
In addition, some airflow is necessary since a vacuum, by definition,
contains no air with which to convey slugs.

Slug-retention System
A unique patented die-opening geometry has shallow helical
grooves cut into the die opening. A slug is retained in the die
opening as the cutting action occurs. This principle is illustrated
in Figure 10-10.
In a round die opening, the grooves are helical or straight. If
helical, then the grooves have opposite helixes. If straight, they
are terminated at the depth of punch penetration. Non-round
shapes have angular grooves or straight grooves similar to the
round shapes. The inability of the small discontinuity on the slug
to follow the groove locks the slug into the die section. This method
may leave a slight burr on both the slug and opening that may be
objectionable in some cases.

Slug damage to the die and parts are a result of failing to retain
or properly eject slugs each time. There are three basic ways to retain or properly eject slugs from die openings. These methods are:


Die Maintenance Handbook

Figure 10-10. A small carbide die button is shown with grooves in the sectioned button halves. (Courtesy Oberg Industries)

1. pushing the slug into the die opening with either a springloaded pin within the punch or a blast of compressed air
through the punch;
2. sucking the slug into a cavity beneath the die opening with some
form of vacuum systemthis method works best with thin materials; and
3. modifying the die-opening clearance and geometry to retain
the slug within the die openingthere are many methods,
including a recently patented system that is unique, compared
to any past shop practices.
The most common die-opening deviation to control slug pulling
is to reduce the amount of die clearance from values known to
produce long die life. While this often does stop the slug-pulling
problem, cutting pressures and tooling wear are increased. In extreme cases, a reverse die taper is used. This also greatly increases
cutting pressure and die wear.
Some emergency measures, such as nicking the die cutting edge
with a carbide scriber, etching the die opening with an electric
marker, or depositing globules of material with an electric welder,


Anti-slug Pulling Methods

are effective. However, these do not reflect good die-making practices. They are emergency measures that are wasteful of time and
tooling life.