Four-slide fabrication is a metal forming process in which flat stock sheet metal or wire is shaped into predetermined parts in a stamping press. During the press operation, the slide or ram, maintains movement to and from a motionless table called a press bed. The die, a press tool consisting of a specially designed cavity, shapes metal parts from the inserted sheet metal. The upper component of the die connects to the press slide and the lower component connects to the press bed. A die component called the punch performs the necessary shaping operation by pushing the sheet metal through the die. Dies slide in and out from four sides (thus the name Four-slide) to make multiple, precision bends.
A four-slide is much different than most other presses. The key of the machine is its moving slides that have tools attached, which strike the workpiece to form it. These slides are driven by four shafts that outline the machine. The shafts are connected by bevel gears so that one shaft is driven by an electric motor, and then that shaft’s motion drives the other three shafts. Each shaft then has cams which drive the slides, usually of a split-type. This shafting arrangement allows the workpiece to be worked for four sides, which makes this machine extremely versatile. A hole near the center of the machine is provided to expel the completed workpiece.
Due to this flexibility it reduces the cost of the finished part because it requires less machines, setups and handling. Also, because only one machine is required, less space is required for any given workpiece. As compared to standard stamping presses, the tooling can be more or less expensive depending on the complexity of the parts. A four-slide can usually produce 20,000 to 70,000 finished parts per 16-hour shift, depending on the number of operations per part; this speed usually results in a lower cost
Although the piece price of a four-slide manufactured part is relatively inexpensive, hard tooling is required to form the parts and the tooling could be quite expensive depending on the complexity of the part, as mentioned above.