4 Tips for Serrated Steel Rule Trim Tool Maintenance

by Shelly Coleman

Accurate trim is essential in reducing scrap and saving valuable production time. When your trim is not spot on, the quality of your product starts to suffer. The most common style of trim tool for foam packaging is still the punch and die, and while this is still the most used trimming technology, it is not without its own set of disadvantages. In this article we are going to discuss serrated trim tools. The steel rule trim tool consists of a serrated cutting knife that is custom fitted into an aluminum trim cavity The advantages of this design include no angel hair, lowered maintenance costs, better mold efficiencies, and reduced machine set up times.

Here are four ways you can extend the life of your steel rule and decrease your down time:

Practice trim tool preventative maintenance- Examine your trim tool as often as possible for signs of wear. Many times the stripper rubber on one side of the tool will wear faster than the other, causing sagging, which results in uneven trim. If you recognize these signs of wear early, you can extend the life of the rule.

Commodore Serrated Steel Rule Trim Tool in progress

Replace in fitted pieces-If you fit your steel rule to the trim cavity using two or three pieces, it will be easier and more efficient to replace small pieces rather than the whole cavity. Since each piece requires bending, you can reduce your labor costs by using the smaller pieces. When removing the rule we recommend a dissolving agend to clear the adhesive. Also, when scraping adhesive free, be careful not to damage the aluminum trim cavity.

Set the "clock" on your bender- When preparing your bender, position your tightener at the 12 o'clock position when the bender gap is closed. This allows you to make changes in measurements using the positions of the "clock" for setting the correct gap. When preparing to start bending we recommend that you cut several small sample pieces to ensure the bend is correct before your move on to the final rule for your tool.

Steel Rule material bender

File sparingly-Although filing the teeth can be done to repair mildly damaged rule, it is not always time efficient. Filing will also reduce the usefulness of your tool, if you can replace we advocate for that first, but we understand that time is always a limiting factor.

Using these four tips you can increase the life of your steel rule trim tool that will result in longer up times and reduced maintenance costs.

For more information on what trim tools would be a good fit for your operation, click here to read our blog post about the differences. For additional information regarding the custom tool process you can click here to view our brochure.