Title:
DUAL SIDED AND DUAL PROCESS BANDOLIER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method of making bullets on a progressive die wherein the progressive dies acts on a work piece having an elongated body with blanks at each end. The work piece is supported by a bandolier which is also formed in the progressive die. The progressive die forms each blank into a bullet, effectively doubling the output of the progressive die relative to a progressive die that acts upon a work piece that supports, or is, a single blank.



Inventors:
Jones, Patrick D. (Saver, PA, US)
Kelley, Michael Wayne (Saver, PA, US)
Pollick, Richard Duane (Saver, PA, US)
Shaw, Louis Cart (Saxonburg, PA, US)
Bertieri Jr., David L. (Natrona Heights, PA, US)
Lassinger, Jason Lee (Saxonburg, PA, US)
Noah, Mark P. (Butler, PA, US)
Marraccini, James J. (Butler, PA, US)
Application Number:
12/134671
Publication Date:
07/23/2009
Filing Date:
06/06/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
72/361
International Classes:
B21K1/00; B21D22/00; B21J13/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TROY, DANIEL J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ECKERT SEAMANS CHERIN & MELLOTT (600 GRANT STREET, 44TH FLOOR, PITTSBURGH, PA, 15219, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A dual sided work piece structured to be carried by a bandolier along a progressive die, said progressive die having a plurality of work stations disposed on opposite sides of said bandolier, said work piece comprising: a body having a first end, a medial portion, and a second end; each of said first end and second end being a blank structured to be acted upon by said work stations; and said medial portion being a stem structured to support said blanks.

2. The dual sided work piece of claim 1 wherein said bandolier includes a plurality of retention members, each said retention member structured to support said work piece, and wherein said stem is structured to be removably coupled to one said retention member.

3. The dual sided work piece of claim 1 wherein said blanks are structured to be reshaped by said work stations and wherein said reshaped blanks have a different length and/or a greater cross-sectional area than the original blanks.

4. The dual sided work piece of claim 1 wherein each said blank is structured to be reshaped into a bullet.

5. The dual sided work piece of claim 1 wherein the blank at the first end has one configuration and the blank at the second end has a different configuration.

6. The dual sided work piece of claim 1 wherein the blank at the first end and the blank at the second end are formed into cooperative components.

7. A dual sided bandoliered work piece comprising: a bandolier having a base supporting a plurality of retaining members spaced along said base; each said retaining member structured to releasably support a dual sided work piece; each said dual sided work piece comprising: a body having a first end, a medial portion, and a second end; each of said first end and second end being a blank structured to be acted upon by said work stations; said medial portion being a stem structured to support said blanks; and wherein the processing of said blanks by said work stations results in two finished products per body.

8. The dual sided bandoliered work piece of claim 7 wherein said bandolier includes a plurality of retention members, each said retention member structured to support said work piece, and wherein said stem is structured to be removably coupled to one said retention member.

9. The dual sided bandoliered work piece of claim 7 wherein said blanks are structured to be reshaped by said work stations and wherein said reshaped blanks have a greater length and/or a greater cross-sectional area than the original blanks.

10. The dual sided bandoliered work piece of claim 7 wherein each said blank is structured to be reshaped into a bullet.

11. The dual sided bandoliered work piece of claim 7 wherein the blank at the first end has one configuration and the blank at the second end has a different configuration.

12. The dual sided bandoliered work piece of claim 7 wherein the blank at the first end and the blank at the second end are formed into cooperative components.

13. A progressive die structured to utilize dual sided work pieces, said die: receiving metal strip material; receiving metal wire; forming said strip material into a bandolier comprising a base supporting a plurality of retaining members spaced along;said base; forming said wire material into a dual sided work piece; said dual sided work piece comprising: a body having a first end, a medial portion, and a second end; each of said first end and second end being a blank structured to be acted upon by said work stations; said medial portion being a stem structured to support said blanks; and wherein the processing of said blanks by said work stations results in two finished products per body.

14. The progressive die of claim 13 wherein said blanks are structured to be reshaped by said work stations and wherein said reshaped blanks have a greater length and/or a greater cross-sectional area than the original blanks.

15. The progressive die of claim 13 wherein each said blank is structured to be reshaped into a bullet.

16. A method of making bullets using at least a two-out process utilizing a progressive die having a plurality of work stations and through which an elongated carrier moves, said method comprising the steps of: a) forming a bandolier from strip material, said bandolier having a plurality of retaining members; b) inserting a dual sided work piece into each retaining member, said dual sided work piece having a body having a first end, a medial portion, and a second end, each of said first end and second end being a blank structured to be acted upon by said work stations, said medial portion being a stem structured to support said blanks; c) forming said blanks into bullets; and d) separating said bullets from said stem.

17. The method of claim 16 wherein substantially similar work stations are disposed opposite of each other oh lateral sides of said bandolier, and wherein said step of forming said blanks into bullets includes the step of: actuating said substantially similar work stations at about the same time so that both the work piece first and second end blanks are acted upon about simultaneously, whereby the work piece is less likely to become skewed relative to the longitudinal axis of said bandolier.

18. The method of claim 16 wherein said step of inserting a dual sided work piece into each retaining member includes the steps of: feeding a length of wire on to the bandolier; and cutting the wire at an appropriate length.

19. The method of claim 16 wherein said progressive die includes at least one coining station, and wherein said step of forming said blanks into bullets includes the step of: coining the blank into the shape of a bullet.

20. The method of claim 19 wherein said progressive die includes at least one cutting station, and wherein said step of forming said blanks into bullets includes the step of: removing material from the blank to create a finished bullet.

21. The method of claim 20 wherein said progressive die includes at least one trim station, and wherein said step of forming said blanks into bullets includes the step of: trimming flashing from said blank.

22. The method of claim 16 wherein said progressive die includes at least one cutting station, and wherein said step of forming said blanks into bullets includes the step of: removing material from the blank to create a finished bullet.

23. The method of claim 16 wherein said bandolier is further fed into additional devices structured to perform other processes selected from the group comprising, but not limited to: cleaning, coating, and heat treating.

24. Bandoliered dual sided work pieces comprising: a bandolier having a base supporting a plurality of retaining members spaced along said base; and a plurality of dual sided work pieces, each said dual sided work pieces being releasably retained by a said retention member.

25. Bandoliered dual sided work pieces of claim 24 wherein each said dual sided work piece includes a body having a first end, a medial portion, and a second end, each of said first end and second end being a blank structured to be acted upon, and said medial portion being a stem structured to support said blanks.

26. Bandoliered dual sided work pieces of claim 24 wherein each said stem is structured to be removably coupled to one said retention member.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) to U.S. Pat. No. 7,383,760, issued Jun. 10, 2008, entitled BANDOLIERED FLECHETTES AND METHOD FOR MANUFACTURING BANDOLIERED FLECHETTES, which claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/602,480, filed Aug. 18, 2004, entitled BANDOLIERED FLECHETTES AND METHOD FOR MANUFACTURING BANDOLIERED FLECHETTES, and U.S. Provisional Patent Application 61/011,532, filed Jan. 18, 2008 entitled, DUAL SIDED AND DUAL PROCESS BANDOLIER.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to an apparatus for manufacturing objects and conveying same objects through a series of secondary operations and, more specifically, to such a process utilizing a dual sided bandolier.

2. Background Information

Many mass produced metal articles are created using a cold forming process. This process uses force, rather than heat, to form and/or shape parts into the desired configuration. Examples of cold forming processes include, but are hot limited to, cold heading, cold roll forming, and other methods. Each of these methods is well known within the industry. Other methods of mass producing metal articles include various forms of machining.

Such production methods described above do not allow for the production rates that can be realized by producing products in a progressive die. A progressive die can allow the use of a bandolier, which is, generally, an elongated conveyor belt to which the raw material, or a partially completed work piece, may be removably coupled. Typically, the work piece is coupled to a retention member on the bandolier. The retention member positions the work piece above, and possibly laterally offset to, the centerline of the bandolier. Such dies may require a corrective device structured to laterally reposition the work piece. Work stations are disposed adjacent to, or above, the bandolier. As the bandolier advances, the various work stations each act upon one or more of the work pieces.

The positioning of the work stations depends upon the operation being performed on the work piece and/or the shape of the work piece. For example, in U.S. Pat. No. 7,383,760, noted above, a generally cylindrical segment of wire (the work piece) is formed info a flechette, or dart. Thus, one work station acts upon one end of the wire segment to form fins. A later work station acts upon the opposite end to form a point. Thus, these two work stations are disposed upon opposite sides of the bandolier. Other work stations may be bifurcated, that is, the work station may have components located on both sides of the bandolier. These components are structured to move over top of the bandolier to act upon the work piece.

As the bandolier progresses, typically in discrete “steps,” the work piece progresses through the various work stations. It is noted that the work piece is not acted upon at each step. That is, a work piece may enter the first work station at the first progression. The bandolier may then advance several progressions before the work piece reaches the second work station. Such non-active steps, or “feed progressions,” may be due to the fact that allowance is being made for future changes in the number, type, and/or location of the work stations, or, due to the fact that forming tools and equipment require a certain amount of space. It is further noted that a typical cold forming and machining process described above produces one part after another, but does not allow for subsequent secondary operations, such as heat treating, coating, assembly operations, etc.

The cold forming process described above may have inherent disadvantages. For example, in order for the various work stations to align properly with the work piece, the work piece must be in a known orientation relative to the bandolier. Typically, the work piece is oriented either laterally relative to the longitudinal axis of the bandolier, or the axis of the work piece extends normal, i.e. straight up, relative to the surface of the bandolier. However, when only one side of the work piece is acted upon, e.g. forming the fins on one end of a flechette, the work piece may become laterally offset relative the bandolier. Thus, the work piece must either be held in position at each work station, or, the work piece must be reoriented in between work stations.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The disclosed concept provides for an improved output by providing dual sided work pieces. That is, two work pieces may be coupled together by a common stem with a work piece located at each end. The stem, which is preferably elongated, is coupled to the bandolier and extends generally laterally relative to the longitudinal axis of the bandolier. In this orientation the ends of the stem will be disposed adjacent to, or, if the stem is long enough, over, the lateral sides of the bandolier. Thus, the ends of the stem are in a position to be easily accessed by work stations disposed adjacent to the bandolier.

Typically, each work station will have a generally identical work station on the opposite side of the bandolier. Thus, each end of the work piece will undergo a generally identical process at each operative step of the bandolier. One advantage to this configuration is that the work piece is less likely to become skewed relative to the bandolier. However, the invention also includes a progressive die wherein identical work stations may be offset from each other, or a progressive die wherein work stations that perform different operations are disposed on different sides of the bandolier.

In the preferred embodiment, the work pieces are ammunition noses, hereinafter “bullets.” It is noted that in common parlance, the word “bullet” may be used to describe a cartridge, shell, or round, which further includes a jacket and an explosive. However, as used herein, the “bullet” is only that portion of the round that is shot toward the target. The method of manufacture involves introducing a wire which acts as a work piece having a stem as well as two work piece blanks disposed at the two tips, and a strip, which is configured into a bandolier to carry the work piece, into one or more progressive work stations. The work piece is preferably made out of carbon steel or material of other similar properties. The, preferably, identical work stations are disposed on either side of the bandolier. As the work piece enters each work station, the work stations will progressively form the work piece into the final product. Further, as set forth below, any number of secondary operations may be performed upon the bullet following forming.

The bandolier can be made out of any material that has desirable forming properties. The bandolier will also be cold formed progressively in the die, and will be formed such that it clasps and retains the work piece, in this case, the bullet and/or the stem. The bandolier will progressively carry the product through a series of forming operations within the die, and will also carry/convey the product through any desired secondary operations within the die, such as, but not limited to, grinding, shaving, polishing, cutting, etc. One of the final stations will have the ability to “loose piece” the bullet, that is, separate the bullet from the wire and the bandolier, or, will allow for the work piece to exit the final work station while still on the bandolier. In the case where the work piece and bandolier exit the die while coupled, the bandolier holding the work piece and stem can be conveyed to a series of additional secondary operations outside of the progressive die.

In this configuration, each work piece creates two parts. Thus, the method generally requires the final work station to always act as a two-out work station, effectively doubling the output rate of the progressive die. In limited instances, the work pieces on opposite ends of the stem may be separated from the stem at different times, thereby allowing for a one-out work station, however, this is not the preferred embodiment.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A full understanding of the invention can be gained from the following description of the preferred embodiments when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a top schematic view of a progressive die structured to act upon a dual sided work piece.

FIG. 2 is an isometric view of a section of a bandolier supporting dual sided work pieces.

FIG. 3 a top schematic view of a progressive die structured to act upon a dual sided work piece and having other devices for secondary operations.

FIG. 4 is a detailed side schematic view of a progressive die having a rotary holding fixture.

FIG. 5 is a flow chart of the steps associated with the method.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

As used herein, a “work station” is a location along the path a bandolier travels wherein work is performed on a work piece. Multiple work stations may be disposed in a single machine, identified as a “progressive die,” having a single operating mechanism, and/or, work stations may be disposed in two or more separate machines each having an independent operating mechanism, i.e., primarily the ram of a press, although other operating mechanisms such as motors used for rotary cutters as discussed below, may also be used.

As used herein, “progressive,” when used in relation to the bandolier and dies, means a system wherein an elongated carrier advances at a regular, but intermittent, pace. Each cycle of movement followed by a stop is a “progression.” During the movement portion of each progression, the carrier advances a set distance in the bandolier longitudinal direction. Thus, when the work pieces are coupled to the bandolier with a generally uniform spacing, each progression of the bandolier moves each work piece generally the same distance.

As used herein, an “effective step” identifies a step wherein a work piece coupled to the carrier is acted upon by a work station.

As used herein, an “idle station” is a location within the progressive die wherein a work piece may stop during a progression of the bandolier, but wherein no work is performed upon the work piece. For example, the progressive die may have twenty-five stations with ten work stations, wherein the work piece is acted upon, and fifteen idle stations, wherein the work piece is not acted upon. In such an exemplary progressive die, a bandolier would have to take twenty-five steps to advance a work piece through the progressive die.

As used herein, a “wire” that is fed into a progressive die includes an elongated metal material having a cross-section that is typically circular, but which may have any shape, as well as, a series of individual segments that may be fed into the progressive die.

As used herein, “coupled” means a link between two or more elements, whether direct or indirect, so long as a link occurs.

As used herein, “directly coupled” means that two elements are directly in contact with each other.

As used herein, “fixedly coupled” or “fixed” means that two components are coupled so as to move as one while maintaining a constant orientation relative to each other.

As used herein, the word “unitary” means a component is created as a single piece or unit. That is, a component that includes pieces that are created separately and then coupled together as a unit is not a “unitary” component or body.

As used herein, “configuration,” as used in the phrase “different configurations” of the part created, includes parts having different shapes as well as different coatings, treatments, etc.

As used herein, “coin” means to alter the shape of a deformable body, typically a substantially metal body, using pressure, typically applied by one or more die component.

FIG. 1 shows a press 9 (shown schematically) that includes a progressive die 10 arid an operating mechanism (not shown). The progressive die 10 (shown schematically) has a plurality of work stations 12 (all work stations 12 shown schematically). While specific work stations 12 are identified below and are related to the manufacture of bullets 90 (described below), it is understood that any type of work station 12 may be used with the disclosed method. Preferably, the operating mechanism actuates the progressive die 10 during each progression of the bandolier 50, described below, causing the die components to move at each work station 12. That is, the operating mechanism acts upon a common die set wherein all die components move at substantially the same time. However, it is noted that some work stations 12, although typically actuated by the operating mechanism, may be structured to move at a different time. By having a single operating mechanism, the chance of the work stations 12 becoming out of sync with each other is reduced. Generally, the work stations 12 are disposed on either side of a generally linear sheet of strip material 14, which becomes the bandolier 50, and are structured to perform an operation on a strip material 14 and/or on a work piece 1. Preferably, the work stations 12 used to form the bullets 90 and disposed on opposite sides of the bandolier 50 are structured to perform substantially the same operations at the same time to the work piece blanks 68 (described below).

It is further noted, a work station 12 may be structured to not operate, or not effectively operate, during each progression of the bandolier 50. That is, for example, a work station 12 may be structured to act upon two work pieces 1 disposed adjacent to each other on the bandolier 50. So as to not operate on the forward most work piece 1 twice, the work station 12 performs a null step when the first of the two work pieces 1 enters the work station 12. It is noted that the operating mechanism may cause the work station 12 to move, but no effective operation is performed on the work piece 1.

As shown in FIG. 2, the bandolier 50 is similar to a conveyor belt in that the bandolier 50 is an elongated carrier that moves in the direction of its longitudinal axis and carries the work piece 1 between the work stations 12. Unlike a conveyor belt, the bandolier 50 does not form a loop and is, typically, not immediately reused/recycled after passing through the progressive die 10. In the preferred embodiment described herein, the bandolier 50 passes through a single progressive die 10. Typically, a single progressive die 10 maintains the bandolier 50, generally, in a single plane. The bandolier 50, however, may be structured to be disposed at multiple different vertical levels while traveling in a generally linear path. For example, a bandolier 50 that travels through different presses and/or devices for secondary operations, as described below, may generally travel along a path at a first upper level in the progressive die 10 while a portion of the bandolier 50 path extends to a lower level, e.g., to allow the bandolier 50 and the supported workpieces 1 to be dipped in a chemical bath during a secondary operation.

The following discussion shall address the various work stations 12 and identify the associated progression which the work station performs. All steps of the method are shown in FIG. 5. The bandolier 50 is formed 199 from a progressive die stock strip 13. The stock strip 13 begins as a generally flat sheet of strip material 14, such as, but not limited to, carbon steel. The strip material 14 enters the progressive die 10 and a first work station 12, which preferably include schematically). The first operation includes punching 200 an alignment hole 16 in the strip material 14 using a pierce punch that is mounted in the top portion of the die set (not shown). As the strip material 14 progresses, a pilot (not shown) having of a cylindrical alignment rod, is passed through the alignment hole 16 to ensure proper strip alignment and progression. It is noted that at any station along the progressive die 10, a pilot step may be performed to ensure proper strip alignment and progression. Further, at any station along the progressive die 10, a camber adjustment operation may be performed. The camber adjustment operation entails mechanically adjusting the bandolier 50 to ensure that there is no incorrect twist inherent in the bandolier 50. Preferably, pilot steps and/or camber adjustment steps will occur just before the bandolier 50 enters an effective workstation 12.

The strip material 14 progresses through a subsequent work station 12, which is preferably a trim work station 21, that creates the configuration that will eventually become the retention members 42 for retaining the work piece 1. For example, when the work piece 1 is initially an elongated stem 70 with end blanks 68, described below, both lateral edges of the strip material 14 are cut 202 so as to form a pattern with, preferably, U-shaped serrations 30, as shown. In between the U-shaped serrations 30 are slender fingers 32 of the strip material 14. The U-shaped serrations 30 and/or the fingers 32 on one side of the strip material 14 are aligned with the U-shaped serrations 30 and/or the fingers 32 on the other side of the strip material 14. Further, as described below, two adjacent and associated fingers 32 are bent upwardly to form a yoke 40. The U-shaped serration 30 between pairs of associated fingers 32 may extend a greater length toward the centerline of the strip material 14. The curvature of the U-shaped serrations 30 is sized to conform to the curvature of the stem 70, described below.

At a subsequent work station 12, a bending station 22, the fingers 32 are bent 204 upwardly thereby forming a two pronged yoke 40. The portion of the strip material 14 that remains generally flat is a base 44 connecting the yokes 40. The combination of opposing yokes 40 in the strip material 14 acts as the retention members 42 for the described work piece 1. It is noted that for work pieces 1 of a different shape, the retention members 42 may have a different shape. Once the retention members 42 have been formed, the strip material 14 has been converted into the bandolier 50. Because the yokes 40 are aligned on opposite sides of the strip material 14, the axis of the retention members 42 extends generally perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the bandolier 50. That is, an axis extending between the yokes 40 is generally perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the bandolier 50. Further, in a preferred embodiment, each retention member 42 is disposed.

As the bandolier 50 progresses, a subsequent work station 12, an insertion station 23, inserts 206 a length of wire 52, preferably carbon steel, or another material of similar properties, into the retention member 42. In this example, the segmented wire 52 is the work piece 1 and is, preferably, a unitary body. In the preferred embodiment, the wire is supplied on a reel (not shown). As such, the insertion station 23 is structured to perform the steps of feeding 208 a length of wire 52 onto the bandolier 50, and cutting 210 the wire at an appropriate length.

The work piece 1 extends between, and is supported by, the two associated yokes 40. Thus, the longitudinal axis of the work piece 1 extends generally perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the bandolier 50. The work piece 1 has an elongated body 60 with a first end 62, a medial portion 64, and a second end 66. The first and second ends 62, 66 are structured to act as blanks 68 upon which forming operations may be performed. The medial portion 64 acts as a stem 70 supporting the blanks 68. In this configuration, the blanks 68 are conveniently disposed at the lateral sides of the bandolier 50, wherein the blanks 68 may be acted upon by the work stations 12. It is noted that the stem 70 may have a reduced length, wherein the two blanks 68 ate disposed generally over the bandolier 50, or, an extended length, wherein the stem 70 extends over the lateral sides of the bandolier 50 and supports the two blanks 68 in a laterally offset position relative to the bandolier 50. A reduced length stem 70 may require the work stations 12 to be adapted to move between a position over the bandolier 50, i.e., a work position, when the work piece 1 is in position, and a position to the side of the bandolier 50, i.e., a withdrawn position, to allow the work piece 1 to pass. However, a reduced length stem 70 also reduces the amount of scrap material created by the work piece 1. Conversely, an extended stem 70 may allow the work stations 12 to remain generally in one position on the side of the bandolier 50; however, ah extended stem 70 increases the amount of scrap material created by the work piece 1.

As noted above, the workstation 12 on opposite sides of the bandolier 50 preferably perform substantially similar actions to the work piece 1 and/or blanks 68. The opposing work stations. 12 may be mirror images of each other. Because similar actions are being performed at substantially the same time to the blanks 68 on opposite sides of the work piece 1, the work piece 1 is less likely to shift within the retention member 42. That is, unlike a progressive die 10 having asymmetrical work stations 12, the work piece 1 is less likely to become laterally offset relative to the longitudinal axis of the bandolier 50. Thus, the progressive die 10 may be structured to operate without a corrective device structured to laterally reposition the work piece 1. Hereinafter, only a single work station 12 is described; however, it is understood that a substantially similar work station 12 is disposed on the opposite side of the bandolier 50. It is further understood that opposing work stations are actuated 212 substantially simultaneously.

With the work piece 1 in position on the bandolier 50, the progressive die 10 moves each work piece 1 through the desired work stations 12 in a progressive manner. Generally, the blanks 68 are formed 218 into bullets 90 which have a nose 91, a body 92, and a back side 96. The bullet body 92 is generally cylindrical, or, frustum, shaped. The blanks 68 are formed 218 into bullets 90 by being “coined,” i.e. deformed under pressure, by being “trimmed,” i.e. having excess material created by the coining removed, and by being “cut” wherein the work piece 1 and/or blank 68 material is removed.

Thus, the apparatus and method include at least one work station 12 structured to reshape 219 the blank 68, and more specifically, two opposed work stations 12 structured to reshape 219 both blanks 68 disposed on opposite ends 62, 66, of the work piece 1. Preferably, the work stations 12 include at least one coining station 80 structured to coin 220 the blank 68, and, at least one trim station 81 structured to trim 222 any excess material or “flashing” from the blank 68, and, preferably, at least one cutting station 83 structured to remove 224 material from the blank 68. Any one of the coining station 80, the trim station 81, or the cutting station 83, may be the at least one work station 12 structured to reshape the blank 68. For example, the step of coining 220 the blank 68 may, by itself, shape the blank 68 into a bullet 90. Typically, however, at least some material of the blank 68 must be removed 224 from the blank 68 to finish the bullet 90. Further, coining operations may create flash lines where the coining dies (not shown) meet. Therefore, a step of trimming 222 the flashing from the blank 68 is also typically required. The progressive die 10 may include other work stations 12, and the method may provide for additional corresponding steps, such as, but not limited to, additional coining, trimming, and cutting. Further, if the finished part is not symmetrical about a centerline, a work station 12 may be configured to rotate the work piece 1 about its axis or reorient the work piece 1, so that different areas of the work piece 1 may have different operations performed thereon.

As noted above, in an alternate embodiment, the work stations 12 disposed on opposite sides of the bandolier 50 may be different and may be employed to create different parts. Again using bullets 90 as an example, two opposing work stations may include one work station 12 structured to create .22 caliber bullets 90 while the opposing work station is structured to create .45 caliber bullets 90. Thus, the work piece 1 may altered so that the blank 68 at the first end 62 first end has one configuration and the blank 68 at the second end 66 has a different configuration.

At this point, the work piece blanks 68 have been, substantially, converted into bullets 90, but are still coupled to the stem 70. This may be the desired result of the progressive die 10 as the combination of work pieces 1 disposed on a bandolier 50 may be coiled for transport between the progressive die 10 and other processing devices 100, or the bandolier 50 with work pieces 1 may be fed directly into the other processing devices 100, as shown in FIG. 3. The other processing devices 100 will typically be structured to perform processes selected from the group comprising, but not limited to: cleaning, coating, and heat treating. It is noted that the other processing devices 100 may include other devices structured to further reshape the bullets 90. For example, the bullet back side 96 may be reshaped so as to not be flat.

However, in the preferred embodiment (FIG. 1), the bullets 90 are separated from the stem 70 prior to exiting the progressive die 10. Thus, the progressive die 10 preferably includes a “loose piece” station 89 structured to separate 240 each bullet 90 from the stem 70. Preferably, the loose piece station 89 creates a substantially flat back side 96 for each bullet 90. At this point, the bandolier 50 and the stem 70 have served their purpose and may exit the progressive die 10 to be recycled. The loose bullets 90 may be made ready for further processing or for sale.

If the loose piece station 89 does not create a flat back side 96, the bullet back side 96 may require additional processing to form the substantially flat back side 96. Thus, as shown in FIG. 4, the progressive die 10 may include a holding fixture 106, as shown, a rotary holding fixture 107 but any holding fixture 106 may suffice. The holding fixture 106 is structured to support the bullets 90 after separation from the stem 70 and to transport the bullets 90 to one or more subsequent work stations 12. As shown, a subsequent work station 12 may be a rotating cutting station 110 structured to cut 242 the bullet back side 96 so that the back side 96 is substantially flat. After the back side 96 is cut, the loose bullets 90 may be made ready for further processing or for sale.

It is further noted that, the blanks 68 may be formed into cooperative components. That is, two components, which may or may not be substantially similar, may be structured to be joined after the forming is complete. Thus, while typically not applicable to bullets 90, the blanks 68, or the components formed therefrom may be coupled at a subsequent work station 12 after the separation 240 from the stem 70.

While specific embodiments of the invention have been described in detail, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that various modifications and alternatives to those details could be developed in light of the overall teachings of the disclosure. Accordingly, the particular arrangements disclosed are meant to be illustrative only and not limiting as to the scope of invention which is to be given the full breadth of the claims appended and any and,all equivalents thereof.