MFCS Metform Works with University of Illinois Senior Engineering Design Team

During the 2017 spring semester, a University of Illinois Senior Engineering Design Team worked with Metform on a project to explore how to improve hot forging tool life.

In the hot-forging process, material is heated to 2250 degrees Fahrenheit and impacts multiple stations consisting of punch and die tooling, which form the part to the desired shape. The tools impacting the hot part are intended to last through several hours of operation making thousands of parts before their wear requires a tooling change. Due to the amount of work performed by the tools, some fail sooner than others. The goal for the Design Team was to improve the tools that fail the fastest. By increasing tool life, less changes will be required and downtime will be reduced.

The Design Team performed FEA simulations with altering parameters, analyzed the effects of altering die and punch dimensions and material properties. Tools in the 1st and 2nd stations were redesigned to reduce the work load in the 3rd station, which forms the part to the customer’s dimensions. New tools were manufactured and, after the trial concluded, there was a 50% improvement on the punch tooling life, which will result in improvements due to less downtime for changes and the number of tools that will need to be purchased.

Students had a great learning experience by going outside of the classroom and working in the “real world” of manufacturing. MFCS Metform was invited to the University of Illinois to view the students’ final presentation. At the luncheon, a plaque was presented to Dan Cavanagh, Metform president; engineering manager at Metform; and project manager at Metform. The Metform team was excited to be able to realize measurable improvements in punch and die tooling from working with the Senior Engineering Design Team. It was a mutually-beneficial situation for both students and the company!