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Tech Watch: UEI Groupís SpeedChase

by Jen Clark



A UniLock-Up NXT Copper Die from the UEI® Group.


The SpeedChase® incorporates around 500 holding magnets for secure and reliable pin registration of the UniLock-Up NXT die plate.

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Included in UEI® Groupís Lock-Up product line, the SpeedChase® makes stamping and embossing easier and more efficient. When used in combination with the UniLock-Up® NXT™ die plates, the technology from Universal Engraving, Inc., Overland Park, KS, offers unparalleled cost- and time-saving benefits, said Todd Rima, UEI vice president of operations and sales.

"The cost savings can be tremendous and are enjoyed job after job," he said. "The SpeedChaseís benefits can be seen in operator efficiency, job efficiency and overall operational efficiency. Many customers report that the work they used to run over three shifts now can be run in two – thus, opening up the third shift to bring in new opportunities and additional revenues. Our customers, on average, are seeing a return on investment in less than 2.5 months."

Designed for performance, the SpeedChase replaces a conventional honeycomb. It incorporates around 500 holding magnets for secure and reliable pin registration of the UniLock-Up NXT die plate to the SpeedChase. The UniLock-Up NXT plate then is removed from the SpeedChase through pneumatic lifting pins. UniLock-Up NXT plates can be locked up in less than three minutes, which Rima said "is the fastest changeover in the industry."

"The SpeedChase is engineered to high-tolerances, resulting in a very uniform and parallel base," Rima said. "This precision provides a huge savings in the reduction of makeready time because users are starting with a Ďflatí chase system. It also is designed for fast lock-up – opposed to a traditional honeycomb system that requires the operator to lock each die up one at a time."

The SpeedChase is manufactured with a superior heat-conductive material, which makes a big difference in the running speed. "Its metal is better able to transfer heat; therefore, it can run at faster speeds," Rima said. "In addition, the SpeedChase is a solid base, as opposed to a traditional honeycomb base (which has a multitude of holes across the base). By having a solid surface, users are able to use less energy to consistently maintain the heat for the chase and dies (energy isnít lost through holes), and this efficiency is recognized in the ability to increase running speed."

The SpeedChase uses UniLock-Up NXT die plates, the next generation of UEIís patented UniLock-Up technology. This new technology is similar to the standard UniLock-Up die plates where dies are pre-registered and pre-mounted to a specially designed steel plate, but with the NXT version, the plates are securely mounted magnetically to the SpeedChase. The standard UniLock-Up die plates are a little different in that they are used on traditional honeycomb chases and do require toggles to hold the die support plate.

Another improvement, when looking at the SpeedChase and its UniLock-Up NXT plate, is the cost. "The plate is less expensive because it eliminates the need to provide slotted open areas for a honeycomb lock-up, which was associated with the first-generation, standard UniLock-Up. That labor savings is reflected in the price reduction," Rima said. "The UniLock-Up NXT plates also have easy-positioning features that register them with the SpeedChase to further aid in faster lock-up." In addition, UEI has developed its UniLock-Up NXT plates to be interchangeable (if necessary) to work on both the SpeedChase and/or traditional honeycomb chases. "This provides tremendous flexibility," Rima added.

Depending on the desired hot stamping and/or embossing effect, UEI can incorporate either copper or brass engraved dies onto a UniLock-Up NXT plate. Available die types include single-level, multi-level or sculptured embossing; single-level, multi-level or sculptured debossing; combination dies that can emboss or deboss and lay foil at the same time; and Unifraxion®, a refractive engraved die. "All of these dies can be incorporated onto a UniLock-Up NXT plate in perfect registered position to the provided 100-percent art file," Rima said.