When a used 1500-ton transfer press arrived, in 1989, at an automotive stamping and assembly facility in Barrie, Ontario, Canada, the press’ mechanical transfer system proved more than adequate for handling the work being handed down from the company’s OEM and Tier One customers. Fast forward to today, and the plant now is one of seven production facilities owned and operated by Tier One supplier Matcor-Matsu—two in Canada and one each in Ohio, Michigan, Alabama and Saltillo, Mexico. By the time Matcor-Matsu took over the Barrie plant in 2014, the above-mentioned press (an Aida mechanical model with 5500 by 2300-mm bed) had been idle for some time, according to Kevin Moore, the company’s technical support services manager.

“After taking over the plant, Matcor-Matsu immediately began to target new business,” Moore says, “and we viewed that idle press as an opportunity for an upgrade so that we could target additional work. We sought to give the press new life and equip it to handle the types of jobs we were looking to quote, including some takeover tools to support our customers. The limitations of the press’s mechanical transfer system prevented us from taking on those projects.”

That said, the press itself remained a solid and reliable piece of equipment, and early in 2018 company management went to work in search of an upgrade solution, to breathe new life into the press. The project came to fruition in May 2020. That spring, the press was rejuvenated when Linear Transfer Automation retrofitted it with a new three-axis servo-transfer system; a high-speed pick-and-place blank feeder with two stack carts and 40-kg max payload (tooling plus blank); complete press-line entry- and exit-side guarding; and a new end-of-line 6000-mm-long conveyor, all managed by a single Allen-Bradley control platform.

(Note: Linear Transfer has since installed a similar system on a 1200-ton press (4600 by 2300-mm bed) at the Matcor-Matsu facility in Brampton, Ontario. And, it plans to install a third transfer-system retrofit early in 2021 on a 1320-ton press at the Matcor-Matsu facility in Edgerton, OH.)