The ability to transform flat sheets into intricate metal components is limited only by design experience and tooling capability. Over time, a serious fabrication shop may spend more money on tooling for its punch presses and press brakes than on the machines themselves, and the greater part of this on new varieties of tools rather than on replacements of worn out ones. Tooling costs matter.
With cheaper tooling flowing in from manufacturers in neighbouring asian countries, and with fabricators in those very same countries increasingly competing on longer production runs with local sheet metal shops, most business owners will tell you that proven premium tooling like that from Wilson Tool or Mate Precision Tooling is a sure thing, but many will also admit to trying cheaper alternatives to keep costs down.
It might be ok to go cheap on very basic tools like stumpy, round press brake punches that won't break if you throw them out of an airplane. For finer tools, as long as there's a good culture of tool care in the workshop, it's more cost effective over the long run to spend more upfront on longer lasting, higher quality tools. (Our director Eugene Czech maintains our entire stock of fancy punch press tools himself, humming softly under his breath).
We've bought many punch press and press brake tools from Wilson Tool and Mate over the years, in Australia and South Africa, and we love them both. But, as both companies hail from Minnesota, USA, and we buy their products in Melbourne, Australia, the price difference between them is defined largely by their local distributors and becomes the deciding factor in our purchasing choices.
And here's where Ian Markham comes in. Ian is Mate Tooling's Australian distributer, based in Adelaide, and some years ago he won us over to the Mate camp from Wilson Tool on pure price point. Since then however, Ian has steadily strengthened his relationship with us through consistent, quick delivery times and great service, so mush so that we even go to him for tools varieties that others might place in the cheap and cheerful basket. Thank you for helping us Ian.
Visit the Mate Tooling website.