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Dokumentenidentifikation EP1425141 14.06.2006
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0001425141
Titel KALTGESTAUCHTER ABSTANDSHALTER
Anmelder Pem Management, Inc., Wilmington, Del., US
Erfinder FRANCO, S., James, Wind Gap, PA 18091, US;
LITZENBERGER, K., Thomas, Coopersburg, PA 18036, US
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
DE-Aktenzeichen 60305130
Vertragsstaaten AT, BE, BG, CH, CY, CZ, DE, DK, EE, ES, FI, FR, GB, GR, HU, IE, IT, LI, LU, MC, NL, PT, RO, SE, SI, SK, TR
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 18.03.2003
EP-Aktenzeichen 037847316
WO-Anmeldetag 18.03.2003
PCT-Aktenzeichen PCT/US03/07832
WO-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0004014620
WO-Veröffentlichungsdatum 19.02.2004
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 09.06.2004
EP date of grant 10.05.2006
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 14.06.2006
IPC-Hauptklasse B21K 1/50(2006.01)A, F, I, 20051017, B, H, EP
IPC-Nebenklasse B21K 1/56(2006.01)A, L, I, 20051017, B, H, EP   B26F 1/14(2006.01)A, L, I, 20051017, B, H, EP   

Beschreibung[en]
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to the formation of a self-clinching type metal fastener by a progressive forging process.

BACKGROUND AND DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

Internally-threaded, self-clinching type fasteners are well-known in the art. When installed, they provide materials such as sheet metal panels with a threaded structure to receive a screw so that elements can be secured to the panel. A typical self-clinching fastener of the standoff type which includes an elongate barrel is shown in Figures 3 and 4. The basic structures of this type of fasteners include a head, a self-clinch groove, a barrel, and an internal bore with threads. The fastener is installed by a press and anvil so that the groove receives the cold flow of metal from the sheet while the polygonal head is embedded into the sheet. These structures secure the fastener to the sheet rigidly, both axially and rotationally.

One effective means for producing a self-clinching fastener of the above-described type is by a progressive die forging process. This process utilizes sequential punch and die forging to create the head, the clinch groove, the barrel, and the internal bore of the fastener from a metal blank or slug. Such a formation process is described for example in U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 2002/0054806 entitled "Grooved Nut and Manufacturing Method Thereof" filed on January 3, 2001 by Sakamura et al. and published on May 9, 2002. This document discloses the progressive punch and die tooling used in this process as exemplified by Figure 3. As shown in this figure, a horizontally reciprocating ram holds a series of punches, each opposite a respective die providing a series of forging stations. The punches and dies progressively form the basic shape of the fastener from a blank of metal which is moved between stations after each stroke of the ram. The shearing action between the punch and die of the final station trims metal from around the edge of a temporarily formed circular head of the fastener as the blank is pushed through the die by the punch to create the final polygonal shape.

A problem exists with this manufacturing process, however, because the shearing process in the last station of the progressive forging leaves an undesirable upward-facing burr on the top side of the head of the fastener. Furthermore, there is another problem with this final head trimming station in that the scrap ring which results from cutting the material away from the periphery of the circular head to achieve the final polygonal shape often sticks to the face of the trim die, obstructing the continuous operation of the progressive forging process. There is therefore a need in the art to utilize a cold forging process to create a self-clinching fastener which does not have these deficiencies.

US-1,636,691 describes an apparatus according to the preamble of claim 1.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention, which is defined in claims 1 and 5, has been devised to cure the above-described problems of the undesirable manufacturing burr on the head of the fastener and to effect the efficient removal of the trimmed scrap ring at the final station of the head trimming station of the forging process. According to one aspect of the invention, the forging apparatus of the prior art is modified in that the punch and die tooling in the head trimming station are reversed in position. That is, the punch is positioned on the die block while the die is located on the reciprocating punch block. This reverses the direction of relative movement between the fastener and the die so that the burr is formed on the underside of the fastener head rather than the top side. This is more desirable since the underside of the head is embedded into the sheet material once the fastener is applied to a sheet. The burr is then not visible and cannot affect the final appearance of the clinched assembly. Because in the new system the barrel of the fastener is necessarily held within a cavity of the trim punch at the last station, an added reciprocating knock-out pin is employed to eject the part from the punch and through the opposite side of the die.

Reversing the relative direction of movement between the die and the fastener during head-trimming also leaves the scrap ring around the outside of the punch at the final station rather than against the face of the die as in the prior art. This is advantageous since the scrap ring then may be quickly and reliably removed from around the trim punch by a stripper sleeve which pushes the scrap ring off the end of the trim punch after the trim process is completed. This avoids the unreliable scrap removal of the prior art. Additionally, this is also advantageous in separating the finished product from the scrap material, whereby also eliminating the need for costly sorting or manual inspection operations to remove the scrap from the finished product.

Steps of the forging process of the invention at the final head-trimming station may be further described as follows. The fastener blank having a tubular barrel and a temporarily formed circular head is placed into a bore of a punch with the barrel of the fastener residing in the bore and an underside of the circular head abutting an end face of the punch. The forging apparatus then moves the die toward the top side of the fastener until a polygonal cutting edge of the die shears metal from around the edges of the circular head of the fastener blank. Movement of the die stops when the cutting edge lies beyond the punch end face and the underside of the head of the fastener. At this point, a knock-out pin which is reciprocal within the bore of the punch forceably ejects the fastener through a passage in the die and beyond an opposite side of the die into a container for completed parts. The forging apparatus then moves the die away from the punch. Once the die is clear of the punch, a stripper sleeve which is reciprocal about the outside surface of the punch moves from a retracted position over the end of the punch and in doing so removes a scrap ring left around the outside of the punch. Since the orientation of the tooling is horizontal, the scrap ring then falls away from the punch by gravity, and may also be assisted by pressurized oil or air to ensure the downward motion of the scrap ring is achieved. The cycle is then completed and the trim station is now ready to receive the next partially formed fastener blank.

The apparatus for performing the inventive head-trimming process comprises a stationary punch having a bore for holding a barrel portion of a fastener blank, an end face for supporting an underside of a head portion of the fastener blank when held in the bore, and a polygonal shank. The invention further includes a reciprocal die having an internal passage and a trim plate including an aperture, the trim plate aperture having a circumferential polygonal edge closely corresponding to dimensions of the shank of the punch for receiving the punch. The die is movable from a retracted position toward a top side of the fastener blank to an extended trim position where the cutting edge lies beyond the punch end face. There is a knock-out pin reciprocal within the punch bore for ejecting the fastener blank from the bore and through the die passage to an opposite side of the die. A stripper sleeve slidably mounted to the outside surface of the punch is reciprocal between retracted and extended positions by a spring-activated mechanism, the extended position placing a distal end of the sleeve even with the punch end face for removing a scrap ring from the punch. Since the die is movable in a substantially horizontal plane, the scrap ring falls away from the end face of the punch by the force of gravity and can be assisted by pressurized oil and or air as needed. Other objects and advantages of the present invention will be readily apparent to those of skill in the art from the following drawings and description of the preferred embodiments.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

  • Figure 1 is a top diagrammatic view of a prior art multi-station cold forging apparatus.
  • Figure 2 is a top plan view diagrammatically showing the cold forging apparatus of the present invention.
  • Figure 3 is a side partial cross section view of a fastener formed by the prior art method.
  • Figure 4 is a partial cross section view with an enlarged area of a fastener produced by the present invention.
  • Figure 5 is an exploded isometric assembly view of the various elements of the present invention corresponding to forging station number six shown in Figure 2.
  • Figures 6A through 6D are side elevation partial cut-away views of the cold forging apparatus of the present invention showing its sequential operation.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Figure 1 diagrammatically depicts the cold forging apparatus of the prior art which includes reciprocating punch block 11 that holds a series of punches 8 that strokes toward and away from die block 13 that holds a series of dies 9 to perform a sequential forging of a metal slug 15 into the general shape of a standard type self-clinching fastener as shown in Figure 3. This prior art apparatus and the apparatus of the present invention both utilize six forging stations, S1 through S6, beginning with a first station in which metal slug 15 has been severed from a rod-like substrate material 17 and ending with the final sixth station where the cylindrical head is trimmed to a hexagonal shape on a fully formed part. The slug.is sequentially moved between stations from one die cavity to the next after each stroke of the punch block by a transfer mechanism well known in the art (not shown). The invention lies within the apparatus and operation of the sixth and final forming station where the circular head of the fastener blank is trimmed to a hexagonal shape.

Referring now to Figure 2, the fifth and sixth stations of the present invention are depicted, stations 1-5 being essentially the same as shown in the prior art device of Figure 1. One of the aspects of the invention is the reversal of punch 8 and die 9 elements of the previous stations so that the die assembly 12 of the invention at the sixth station is held by the reciprocating punch block 11 while the punch assembly 14 is fixed in the stationary die block 13. By reversing the position of these elements, the direction of the head trimming shear is reversed. Also, as will be further described, the finished part is ejected through the punch block rather than falling through the stationary die block 13 as in the prior art.

Changing the direction of trim operation has the beneficial effect on the surface characteristics of the fastener head as depicted by Figures 3 and 4. As shown in Figure 3, the prior art method of cold forging shown in Figure 1 results in an upward-facing trim burr which protrudes from the head of the fastener. This burr is a rough and sharp edge which is aesthetically undesirable. Using the apparatus of the present invention however the burr, which inevitably results from the die shearing method of trimming the head to its final hexagonal shape, now resides along the underside surface of the head of the fastener. Since after installation the head of the fastener is embedded in a substrate material, the trim burr is not visible and the top surface of the head of the fastener is flush with the outside surface of the substrate exhibiting an aesthetically acceptable final appearance after assembly.

Referring now to Figure 5, the various elements of the invention at the sixth station shown in Figure 2 are depicted further including the resulting finished part 16 and the trim scrap ring 18. Trim die 12 includes trim plate 27 that has a hexagonal opening with a cutting edge along its inside surface. Punch assembly 14 includes a holder 19 that rigidly secures hexagonal punch 23. The punch assembly further includes a stripper sleeve 25 and a knock-out pin 21 that are slidable within the assembly relative to the fixed punch 23 and holder 19. Means to effect the motion of the stripper sleeve and the knock-out pin are not shown and are well within the knowledge of one of skill in the art.

Referring now to Figures 6A through 6D, the four stages of the trim process using the apparatus depicted in Figure 5 are shown in sequence. Referring first to Figure 6A, the fastener blank 16 is delivered by a transfer mechanism (not shown) so that a barrel of the fastener resides within the cylindrical bore of a hexagonal punch 23 which is rigidly secured within holder 19. The first step in the trim process begins with the motion of the die 12 toward the fastener. In this position, the underside of the circular head 15 of the fastener blank abuts an end face of the punch.

Referring now to Figure 6B, the die has moved to the end of its stroke to the completed trim position. A cutting edge on the trim plate 27 on the face of the die has severed a scrap ring 18 from the fastener blank which is sheared by the punch 23 from the circular head of the fastener to provide a resulting hexagonal shape. The hexagonal head now resides within a passage of the die beyond a backside of the trim plate.

The next step of the operation of the invention is shown in Figure 6C. The knock-out pin 21 which is preferably spring-loaded (spring mechanism not shown) is released and forceably ejects the finished fastener 16 through the die passage 20 and away from an opposite side of the die falling away by the force of gravity as depicted by the arrows shown in this figure. It should be noted at this stage that the scrap ring 18 remains around the outside of the punch 23.

The final stage of the operation of this station is shown in Figure 6D in which several events occur simultaneously. While the die 12 is being withdrawn to its home position, the knock-out pin 21 is retracted and stripper sleeve 25 is extended to a point flush with the end face of the punch, forcing the scrap ring 18 off of the end of the punch and away from the apparatus by gravity as shown by the arrows. Thereafter, the stripper sleeve 25 is retracted to its home position flush with the endface of holder 19. Now the elements of the punch assembly are in the same position shown in Figure 6A ready to accept the next fastener from the transfer mechanism and the cycle is thus complete.

It should be understood that there may be other modifications and changes to the present invention that will be obvious to those of skill in the art from the foregoing description, however, the present invention should be limited only by the following claims.


Anspruch[de]
Vorrichtung zum Zurechtstanzen der Köpfe der Rohlinge von Verbindungselementen, die in einem Gerät zum Kaltformen eingesetzt wird und folgendes umfasst: - einen stationären Halter (19) für einen Stanzer; - einen Stanzer (23), der ein Bohrloch aufweist, welches den Zylinderteil der Rohlinge der Verbindungselemente (16) hält und eine Endseite umfasst, die die Unterseite des Kopfteils (15) der im Bohrloch gehaltenen Rohlinge der Verbindungselemente stützt und einen polygonalen Schaft aufweist; und durch folgendes gekennzeichnet ist: - ein Formwerkzeug (12), das einen inneren Durchgang aufweist, durch den das Verbindungselement (20) fallen kann, wobei der innere Durchgang des Formwerkzeugs während der Benutzung einen Auswurfsbolzen aufnimmt, der reziprok in dem bereits erwähnten Bohrloch zum Auswerfen der fertigen Verbindungselemente durch den bereits erwähnten Durchgang aus einer gegenüberliegend Seite des Formwerkzeugs dient, und - eine Schnittplatte (27), die eine Öffnung umfasst welche eine umlaufende polygonale Schnittkante aufweist, die genau den Abmessungen des Schafts des bereits erwähnten Stanzers (23) zur Aufnahme des Stanzers (23) entspricht, wobei ferner das Formwerkzeug (12) von einer eingefahrenen Stellung, wo sie gegen die Oberseite der erwähnten Rohlinge der Verbindungselemente (16) liegt, zu einer ausgefahrenen Schnittstellung koaxial zum bereits erwähnten Stanzer (23) beweglich ist, in der die Schneidekante hinter der Endseite des Stanzers liegt. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, welche ferner eine verschiebbar an der Außenseite des erwähnten Stanzers (23) angebrachte Abstreifschlaufe (25) umfasst, die zwischen einer eingefahrenen Stellung und einer ausgefahrenen Stellung bewegt werden kann, wobei ein distales Ende der Schleife in der ausgefahrenen Stellung hinter der Endseite des Stanzers liegt um den Ring aus Fertigungsabfall (18) vom Stanzer (23) zu entfernen. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 2, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das bereits erwähnte Formwerkzeug (12) in einer vorwiegend horizontalen Ebene beweglich ist und dass der Ring aus Fertigungsabfall von der Endseite des Stanzers durch die Gravitationskraft beim Entfernen des Stanzers abfällt. Verfahren zum Zurechtstanzen der Köpfe der Rohlinge von Verbindungselementen in einem Kaltformverfahren, welches folgendes umfasst: - das Platzieren eines Rohlings eines Verbindungselementes (16) in ein Bohrloch eines Stanzers (23), der eine Endseite aufweist, wobei die Unterseite des Kopfendes (15) des bereits erwähnten Rohlings eines Verbindungselementes (16) durch die Endseite des Stanzers gestützt wird; - die Bewegung eines Formwerkzeugs (12), welches einen inneren Durchgang (20) und eine Schnittplatte (27) mit einer Schneidekante umfasst, auf den bereits erwähnten Rohling eines Verbindungselementes zu; - das Beschneiden des Kopfes des bereits erwähnten Rohlings eines Verbindungselementes (16) mit der Schneidekante der Schnittplatte (27); - die Unterbrechung der Bewegung des Formwerkzeugs (12) in einer ausgefahrenen Schneidestellung, in der die Schneidekante hinter einer Unterseite des Kopfendes des bereits erwähnten Rohlings eines Verbindungselementes liegt; - den Auswurf des Rohlings des Verbindungselementes aus dem Bohrloch des Stanzers durch den bereits erwähnten Durchgang (20) zu einer gegenüberliegenden Seite des Formwerkzeugs; - das Einziehen des Formwerkzeugs; und - die Entfernung eines Rings aus Fertigungsabfall (18), welcher sich um den Stanzer befindet, durch die Bewegung der Abstreifschlaufe (25), die beweglich an der Außenseite des Stanzers(23) angebracht ist, bis der Ring aus Fertigungsabfall (18) durch die Abstreifschlaufe (25) von der Endseite des Stanzers abgedrückt wird.
Anspruch[en]
A fastener blank head-trimming device for use in a cold-forging apparatus, comprising: a stationary punch holder (19); a punch (23) having a bore for holding a barrel portion of a fastener blank (16) including an end face for supporting an underside of a head portion (15) of said fastener blank (16) held in said bore and having a polygonal shank; and characterised by;

a die (12) having an internal passage free for the fastener to fall through (20) wherein said internal die passage receives in use a knock-out pin reciprocal within said punch bore for ejecting the finished fastener through the die passage and away from an opposite side of the die; and

a trim plate (27) including an aperture, said trim plate aperture having a circumferential polygonal cutting edge closely corresponding to dimensions of the shank of said punch (23) for receiving said punch, said die (12) being movable coaxially relative to said punch (23) from a retracted position toward a top side of said fastener blank (16) to an extended trim position where said cutting edge lies beyond the punch end face.
The apparatus of claim 1 further including a stripper sleeve (25) slidably mounted to the outside surface of said punch (23), said sleeve being movable between retracted and extended positions, said extended position placing a distal end of said sleeve beyond said punch end face for removing a scrap ring (18) from said punch (23). The apparatus of claim 2 wherein said die (12) is movable in a substantially horizontal plane and said scrap ring (18) falls away from the end face of said punch by the force of gravity upon removal from said punch. The method of head trimming a fastener blank in a cold-forging process, comprising

placing a fastener blank (16) into a bore of a punch (23) having an end face; supporting an underside of a head portion (15) of said fastener blank (16) with said punch end face;

moving a die (12) having an internal passage (20) and a trim plate (27) with a cutting edge toward said fastener blank (16);

shearing the head of said fastener blank (16) with the cutting edge of the trim plate (27);

stopping movement of said die (12) at an extended trim position where said cutting edge lies beyond an underside of the head portion of said fastener blank (16);

ejecting said fastener blank (16) from said punch bore and through said die passage (20) to an opposite side of the die;

retracting said die; and

removing a scrap ring (18) from around the punch by moving a stripper sleeve (25) slidably mounted to the outside surface of said punch (23) until said scrap ring (18) is pushed off the end face of the punch by said sleeve (25).
Anspruch[fr]
Dispositif de finissage de la tête d'une pièce brute pour organe de fixation, destiné à être utilisé dans un appareil de forgeage à froid, comprenant : un porte-poinçon fixe (19) ; un poinçon (23) possédant un trou alésé servant à maintenir une portion de fût d'une pièce brute pour organe de fixation (16) comprenant une face d'extrémité servant à supporter une face inférieure d'une portion de tête (15) de ladite pièce brute pour organe de fixation (16) maintenue dans ledit trou alésé et possédant une tige polygonale ; et caractérisé par : une matrice (12) présentant un passage interne libre pour que l'organe de fixation tombe au travers (20), dans laquelle ledit passage interne de la matrice reçoit en service une broche d'éjection à mouvement alternatif à l'intérieur dudit trou alésé du poinçon afin d'éjecter l'organe de fixation fini à travers le passage de la matrice et de le faire sortir par un côté opposé de la matrice ; et une plaque de finissage (27) comprenant une ouverture, ladite ouverture de la plaque de finissage possédant un bord coupant polygonal périphérique correspondant étroitement aux dimensions de la tige dudit poinçon (23) pour recevoir ledit poinçon, ladite matrice (12) étant mobile de façon coaxiale par rapport audit poinçon (23) à partir d'une position rétractée en direction d'une face supérieure de ladite pièce brute pour organe de fixation (16) jusqu'à une position étendue de finissage dans laquelle ledit bord coupant se situe au-delà de la face d'extrémité du poinçon. L'appareil selon la revendication 1 comprenant en outre un manchon extracteur (25) monté de façon coulissante sur la surface extérieure dudit poinçon (23), ledit manchon étant mobile entre des positions rétractée et étendue, ladite position étendue plaçant une extrémité distale dudit manchon au-delà de ladite face d'extrémité du poinçon pour enlever une bague de rebut (18) dudit poinçon (23). L'appareil selon la revendication 2 dans lequel ladite matrice (12) est mobile dans un plan substantiellement horizontal et ladite bague de rebut (18) sort en tombant de la face d'extrémité dudit poinçon sous l'effet de la force de la gravité lorsqu'elle est retirée dudit poinçon. La méthode de finissage de la tête d'une pièce brute pour organe de fixation dans un procédé de forgeage à froid, comprenant

le positionnement d'une pièce brute pour organe de fixation (16) dans un trou alésé d'un poinçon (23) possédant une face d'extrémité ; la mise en appui d'une face inférieure d'une portion de tête (15) de ladite pièce brute pour organe de fixation (16) sur ladite face d'extrémité du poinçon ;

le déplacement d'une matrice (12) possédant un passage interne (20) et une plaque de finissage (27) dotée d'un bord coupant en direction de ladite pièce brute pour organe de fixation (16) ;

le cisaillement de la tête de ladite pièce brute pour organe de fixation (16) au moyen du bord coupant de la plaque de finissage (27) ;

l'arrêt du mouvement de ladite matrice (12) au niveau d'une position étendue de finissage dans laquelle ledit bord coupant se situe au-delà d'une face inférieure de la portion de tête de ladite pièce brute pour organe de fixation (16) ;

l'éjection de ladite pièce brute pour organe de fixation (16) à partir dudit trou alésé du poinçon et à travers ledit passage de la matrice (20) vers un côté opposé de la matrice ;

le retrait de ladite matrice ; et

l'enlèvement d'une bague de rebut (18) du pourtour du poinçon par déplacement d'un manchon extracteur (25) monté de façon coulissante sur la surface extérieure dudit poinçon (23) jusqu'à ce que ladite bague de rebut (18) soit poussée hors de la face d'extrémité du poinçon par ledit manchon (25).






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