Precision to 'die' for: CNC and interface package help boost beverage can productivity.


In the world of beverage can manufacturing, it's all about the dies.


The higher the quality of the dies that shape each can, the better the manufacturing quality and productivity.

A Minneapolis company with the help of a Bosch Rexroth IndraMotion MTX CNC controller and drive platform sought a way to build a better die grinder--and along the way set new standards for grinding accuracy, ease of use, along with the benefits of fast setup and changeover.

Pride Engineering developed the Model 30 Air Bearing Grinder, a five-axis air bearing carbide die grinder to produce more precise, longer-lasting dies. The grinder is capable of grinding dies to ultra-precise tolerances to last longer, with fewer tear-offs.

Punishing conditions

Beverage can manufacturing is a high-throughput industry with conditions that can often be punishing on production machines and tools.

Aluminum or steel "cups" are drawn out of sheet metal, then "ironed" into their final shape by being pressed under extreme pressure through a set of tungsten carbide dies, called a tool-pack. Typical production is 400 to 600 cans per minute.

Minute imperfections in the die's roundness, inside diameter, or other areas can cause excess friction and uneven wear. As a result, can shape or diameter could be off-specification or the can could cause a problem called tear-offs where it liter ally rips or tears as it passes through the toolpack.

Dies can be used for about four to five days of 24/7 production before normal wear requires that they be pulled and re-ground.

"There's a constant industry demand for tighter tolerances and higher quality die finishes," says Bruce Allyn, vice president at Pride Engineering. "The Model 30 produces dies ground to extremely precise tolerances, for the closest thing to perfect roundness that's physically possible."

Previous versions of the grinder used manual setup and changeover procedures. Operators had to care fully center the die and find "zero" before grinding began. During the Model 30's development, engineers at Pride concluded that they needed a new CNC controller to achieve targets of accuracy, reliability, and ease of use.

Working with Rexroth distrib utor Motion Tech Automation, Pride found the automated CNC functionality it needed in the Rexroth IndraMotion MTX.


The lndraMotion MTX system is a machine tool CNC for grinding and forming operations. It contains all the components--drives, controller...

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