Press setups have traditionally used makeshift coil supports to prevent coil stock sagging and buckling between the press feeder and die entry. Improvised coil supports such as a pallet, a bucket, or some other internally fabricated support are typically used to address this problem. These traditional solutions can be expensive to build, setup, and too often are difficult to store then locate on the shop floor when needed for repeat runs. Material feeding is less than desirable and a potential for scratching the coil exists.
Bennett Tool & Die Company, Inc in Nashville, TN has solved this longstanding coil-feeding problem thanks to an innovative product, the CoilBridge Conveyor.
Jeff Bennett, of Bennett Tool & Die, initially designed the CoilBridge product lines to meet the needs of his family’s stamping operation.
“I kept passing by our coil fed presses looking at those pallets and boxes in there and thinking – there has got to be a better way to support our material. I tried a telescoping device but it was too difficult to set up and was limited in length and width. Then one day it hit me. What I need is an accordion device with wheels on top. I built a prototype and it worked great. I applied for a patent and trademark and began building CoilBridges. The rest is history.”
The CoilBridge Conveyor spans the long gap between press feeder and die entry eliminating the need for makeshift supports. The CoilBridge provides continuous support of the coil on a frictionless surface resulting in smooth material feeding into the die. It requires no power to operate as the coil feeds over steel or poly no-mar wheels or rollers depending on the unit used.
The feeder end of the accordion style CoilBridge installs simply enough by bolting the units pivot mounts directly onto the feeder. Once in place, the height of the CoilBridge on the feeder end changes with the feeder automatically.
On the die end a jack is mounted every four feet onto a sturdy bolster skid plate so that pass-line heights can be set quickly and with minimal adjustment from one job to the next. The bolster skid plate slides easily over the press bolster into position without catching on T-slots and requires no clamps.
Standard units come in either four or eight foot-expanded lengths. The four to one length expansion ratio means that the CoilBridge compresses to either one or two feet for these units and stores easily in the press window when not in use.
Several standard widths are offered starting with an eight-inch wide Mini unit and going up to 30-inch wide Standard units. The CoilBridge is designed with clearance at the edges so that coils exceeding the unit’s surface width can also be fed across the wheel or roller surfaces without interference.
Stabilizer legs on each corner of the Standard units provide rigid support while an end plate protects the CoilBridge from damage due to stock bending during stroke. Standard units have a 200-pound per foot capacity supporting coils up to 1/8” thick. For severe applications, the CoilBridge is offered in a “Heavy Duty” line of products.
There are 19 Standard, Mini, and Heavy Duty models to choose from and an unlimited number of custom applications offered. Several options are available including anti-buckle Top Rollers, special C-frame Top Roller brackets for maximum material width utilization, multiple side-by-side units, special length units, and special riser kits to extend the pass-line height.
The CoilBridge Conveyor was made available for sale in 2004. Today CoilBridge products are shipped across the United States, into Canada and Mexico, and as far away as Saudi Arabia.
No matter what part of the world a stamping company is located, the age-old problem of supporting coil stock from the feeder to the die is universal and the CoilBridge Conveyor is a clear-cut solution stamping companies everywhere recognize.