Why Choose the Bushing Flare and Flatten Process?
When designing components for manufacturing and assembly, engineers often have a list of requirements they need to meet. The joints may need to meet certain functional requirements, withstand specific directional forces, or look a certain way. Once the design is locked, it’s time to determine what assembly processes can be used to meet the joint requirements and produce a good part.
Parts Utilizing Bushings
For parts that require a bushing, such as door hinges, latches, seating, and other automotive closures, there are a few processes that can be used to form the bushing. Manufacturers may “smash” the bushing with a press and then resize the inner diameter (ID), or they may “form” the bushing over and then resize the ID. While these processes are common in manufacturing, they do produce some challenges. Orbitform offers an alternative Bushing Flare and Flatten process that solves some of these challenges.
Challenges with the Other Processes
Both the “Smash then resize” and “Form then resize” processes can produce good parts, but they are not without challenges. Oftentimes, these processes induce more force into the bushing than the column strength can handle. Because the material will flow along the path of least resistance, this causes the bushing to buckle inward. This interruption in the ID leads to the necessity for the second resizing step. To do this, the part usually must be moved from the pressing or forming station to a second station to be resized. If the part isn’t lined up correctly once moved to be resized, this can decrease the stability of the joint and produce a bad part.
Orbitform’s Bushing Flare and Flatten Process
To solve some of the challenges above, Orbitform’s Engineers designed a two-step process that maintains a higher level of control. The first step flares the bushing out 45 degrees, which requires less force than a press. This pushes the material outward and minimizes any interruption to the ID of the bushing column. The second step flattens the bushing to 90 degrees while simultaneously doing any minimal resizing that may be needed. Because the material was already at 45 degrees, the flattening process maximizes the contact surface area to the stamping and minimizes the gap. This process also increases the life of the joint to withstand wear.
Two Processes in One Station
To further increase the stability of the joint, the two types of tooling needed for this two-step process are attached to a rotary tool changing head on the end of our powerhead. This allows the equipment to flare the bushing, rotate the tooling head, and then flatten the bushing without having to move the part to a second station. This also increases the speed of the process, with a typical machine cycle time of 4 to 5 seconds. Depending on part volumes, this design can lead to a smaller footprint, lower capital expense, and higher return on investment. This process can also be automated to meet higher volume requirements.
Choosing the best assembly process for a joint can be tricky, as any process can have challenges to overcome. At Orbitform, solving challenges is what we do best. When you partner with our Assembly Experts, we’ll review all the facets of your application, including joint requirements and any challenges you may be facing with your current process. Contact us today to discuss your assembly challenges.