Die handlers are used to remove and transport dies from metal stamping presses or plastic injection molding machines. They are very specialized for this purpose and typically handle high capacities. They go from 20,000lb to 200,000lb capacity. Die removal is an especially dangerous time because the die can be damaged. Some dies are very heavy. The cost of repair isn’t the only consideration here. The down time while the die is repaired is the real killer of money here. Repair can cost many tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands, depending upon the complexity and level of damage.
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This is where die handlers can save money, time and headache. Some plants use forklifts for this job, however they aren’t always the best tool for the job if space is tight. If space isn’t tight, then the plant manager may elect to use a forklift to remove the die, then place it on a die cart to be towed by a forklift. Die handlers typically have a setup that allows for pushing or pulling of a die. This makes it much easier for getting a die out or putting one in. Especially with hard to get to spots. Many times plastic injection molding machines are put together pretty tightly because there is limited space on the plant floor. Forklifts need a wide area of swing to get in and out between the machines, however die trucks or handlers do not.
New die handlers are very expensive. Many companies opt to find a used machine and save huge amounts of money. The other side of the coin is, that, there aren’t really that many sources for used machines. Popular brands are Elwell Parker, Rico, Erickson, Yale and Autolift. Some of those companies are now out of business, but parts can be found.