New system for tapping sheet-metal threads

March 17, 2005
A new tooling system produces threaded holes in all types of sheet metal, eliminating the need for secondary tapping operations or additional fasteners.

Punch presses equipped with Mate EasyTap tooling automatically generate threaded holes in sheet metal.

Developed by Mate Precision Tooling, Anoka, Minn. (, the Mate EasyTap tool system extends the capabilities of CNC punch presses, producing precisely located threaded holes quickly, automatically, and with repeatable quality.

Mate EasyTap tooling is designed for thick-turret presses with autoindex stations, programmable ram depth, and suitable software. Prepunched or extruded holes on the sheet are threaded through a coordinated rotation of the turret press autoindex station and ram stroke. The tooling produces a full range of threaded holes in most materials, including stainless and mild steel, and aluminum.

Mate EasyTap tooling uses standard taps and Bilz collets. A pushbutton adjustment sets tap length. And a "miss-protection" feature prevents tool and part damage in the event a prepierced hole is missing.

According to company officials, the unit adds broad versatility to existing turret presses with only nominal tool investment. It eliminates the need for extra fastening components such as self-clinching fasteners and nuts with lockwashers, as well as assembly tools, giving designers a new option for cost-effective manufacturing and assembly.

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