Sharples: Long Ruling The Realm Of Steel Rule Dies
Sharples has been manufacturing steel rule dies since 1967. The company has decades of experience in all aspects of steel rule diemaking and serves multiple diecutting industries with its technologically advanced equipment.
When it comes to Steel Rule Dies, Sharples has you covered. With over a half century of experience in diemaking, Sharples has evolved into a leader in the industry of steel rule dies while maintaining a long-standing reputation for delivering superior service and quality. It has achieved success through long-term relationships with clients who depend on Sharples’ commitment to quality and service. Sharples has extensive experience in many industries, working with a wide range of diecutting presses in today’s market.
- Bulky automotive interior trim
- Gasket manufacturing
Steel rule dies are an economical way to trim various materials and are utilized for cutting several different finished products. Sharples’ depth of experience as a steel rule die maker covers many different diecutting machines, including:
- Sheet feed
- Hand feed
- Roll feed
- Traveling head
- Belt feed
- Inline trim
Laser Cut Dieboards
Laser cut dies bring consistency from the first cavity to the last with accuracy and rapid turnaround. Having a die laser cut by Sharples also adds the scrutiny of a highly skilled diemaker to ensure perfect kerf. Each die is laser cut depending on geometry and amount of knife within an area. Sharples has a large inventory of various board thicknesses and types. Wooden dieboards are stored for no less than one month to ensure stability with the environment before laser cutting. Dieboard bases can be laser cut from birch, maple, clear plastic and Rayform. Multiple lasers and shifts enable fast turnarounds to keep up with the demands of clients.
CNC Bending Steel Rule
In the early days of steel rule diemaking, all rule was hand bent. In the early 2000’s, Sharples added computer numerically controlled (CNC) bending to its capabilities. Since that time, the company has reinvested in the best technology in the industry as well as keeping up to date with the craftsmanship that is still required. CNC technology aids in diminishing high spots in a die, dramatically affecting the die’s flatness. Extra cavities of knife can easily be ordered for customers to have on hand for emergencies or maintenance.
Nicked tear strips and perforated knives can be repeated, providing customers with consistency in production. Today, Sharples has the largest array of CNC benders in the country as well as the largest inventory of knife providing different bevels, edges, thicknesses, and heights. “Bending all the Rules” is what Sharples does – it covers all heights, more than any other diemaker nationwide and has seasoned craftsmen with decades of experience to knife its steel rule dies.
- Knife heights include: .937”, 1 1⁄4”, 1 1/2 “, 1 3⁄4”, 2”, 3” and 4”
- Wide range of knife inventory (Stock sheet available upon request)
- CNC Bending from .937 – 4” high
Welding And Brazing
Sharples has welding experience. Welding joints are required at times for strength or to prevent gaps from occurring in higher knifed die. Steel rule dies may need supports welded to their outer frames. Dies used to cut fibrous material can have their joints brazed to help prevent buildup of fibers, which could interfere with the diecutting process. Having the ability to provide this service in-house gives Sharples the edge and versatility to provide quick turnarounds in a controlled atmosphere.
Laser Cut Metal
In 2004, Sharples made an investment in flying optic-style laser cutting, a dedicated metal cutting laser. With this capability, Sharples now offers a vast inventory of options for plates to meet all production needs. Sharples stocks ground hard plate, stainless steel, and aluminum. It also offers countersinking, drilling, and tapping. Whether a backup plate is needed for strength, a feed-thru plate to accommodate scrap removal, or a mounting plate, Sharples’ ability to provide clean-cut plates makes it superior in its field.
Dedicated metal laser-cutting gives Sharples the ability to cut quality cut plates with a minimal heat-affected zone. Sharples can laser-cut steel up to 1⁄2”, stainless steel up to 5/16”, and thin aluminum burr-free. Abrasive waterjet cutting of thicker steels and aluminum is also another capability that enhances versatility with Sharples’ tooling. Examples include an aluminum heat-sealing fixture for a blister sealing operation or female blanking tool.
Waterjet Components and CNC Routing
Sharples supplies all dies with uniform cut ejection by utilizing waterjet cut technology. For those customers with intricate and contoured shapes, Sharples’ waterjet cut ejection can be beneficial. The consistency of the ejection follows the shape of the blade with proper spacing, allowing for the rubber to evenly eject but not distort the part or material being cut.
With even ejection, die cutting speeds can be increased. Uneven ejection can cause problems when die cutting and can ultimately reduce the quality of finished parts. Waterjet cutting is also utilized for cutting seal gaskets for sealing tools, providing uniformity, and problem-free reordering. Sharples stocks multiple thicknesses and durometers of ejection in the market. The company has moved ahead of its competition by investing in waterjets with advanced features such as superior software, high speed, large bed capacity, and abrasive cutting.
In addition to waterjet cut parts, Sharples also offers CNC routing. Large work areas and multiple machines provide the ability to mill clearance pockets in dies, anvils, and buildups. Sharples can also provide machined locators in its tools to help find the part when diecutting.
Commitment To Constantly Improving
The goal of constantly improving is achieved by consistently cross training all employees, documenting processes, and having employees understand the full line of manufactured tools that Sharples offers. The Sharples team is trained to recognize the need for executing projects efficiently on a daily basis and to understand expectations of timeliness and a commitment to quality. Sharples also strives to spend a minimum of 15 minutes per day on improving processes and/or products whether it is internally or for its customers.
All employees must understand utilization of all equipment and labor optimally with the goal of all employees to run profitable. Serving over 10 countries worldwide, Sharples continually works on efficient and economical solutions to help customers run more efficiently. In 2009, Sharples implemented a powerful and very customizable enterprise resource planning (ERP) system for job tracking, and it offers client access to its ERP system for ease in scheduling and ordering.
Quality and Inspection
There is a minimum of three to five inspection steps during the manufacturing process, from design to
final inspection. Upon customer request, Sharples can prepare a custom inspection report to accompany the tooling or parts. Finished parts are inspected all the way through the cutting process, from the incoming material to first article of inspection. Following existing job ticket and specifications and providing customers with their own inspection forms completes the final inspection process.
Every customer is different. Every job is different. Sharples keeps customer specifications readily available to all departments at every stage of the manufacturing process. Specifications are continuously updated as customer preferences and guidelines change. Sharples also offers document certification through a coordinate measuring table which allows for generation of digital readouts establishing data on finished parts and tools. For steel rule die customers, Sharples also offers CNC measuring for the overall sizes of the die’s knife at multiple points with a CNC probe, providing accurate reports for close tolerance dies.
By continuing to be on the forefront of diemaking, Sharples moves forward and grows not by fearing change but embracing it. Sharples’ philosophy is and always will be to Invest in the Best. Look for the upcoming launch of Sharples’ new website that will offer technical references to address die construction questions, press leveling, and makeready for diecutting.