New and ImprovedAgain
The quest to develop better, long-lasting dies and die manufacturing processes keeps
Bernal International on the short-list of top diemakers.
By David Luttenberger
Don't ask Paul Madill "what's new?" unless you really want to know.
For the past 50 years Bernal International, under a number of corporate flags, has created a steady stream of truly innovative and revolutionary die products and processes to meet the changing needs of package printers, converters and the consumer products industries.
Started in the late 1940s as Bernal, Inc., the company manufactured punches. It wasn't until 1966 that the company, who is today known as a rotary die pioneer, even began to dabble in that technology. Seeing an immediate niche for itself and its new rotary EDM and rotary pressure (RP) cutting dies, Bernal ushered the era of rotary cutting into the folding carton industry. The EDM process allowed Bernal to put hardened blades in solid rotary steel cylinders by removing portions of the steel, leaving only the blade standing. Previous attempts at such a process resulted in distortion of the blades, rendering the die useless.
In 1972 the division spun off as Bernal Rotary Systems. With manufacturing concentrated in just one area, key developments came quickly. In the late 1970s, Bernal developed the first rotary diecutting modules for the Bobst Lemanic. It also began to build a presence in the consumer products industries where it made dies for cutting floppy disks, Polaroid film and batteries. The technology, developed as part of the EDM process, enabled Bernal to duplicate virtually any shape on the surface of a die cylinder. This capability gave Bernal an entrée to practically any segment of packaging or consumer products.
Made to last
Never satisfied with the die technology at hand, Bernal and its president, Paul Madill, knew diecutters wanted a line of longer-lasting dies. Utilizing the resources of its advanced machining lab and the industry's only close-tolerance testing and development center, Bernal's R&D team of Ph.D. engineers and metallurgists, who had already developed a hugely successful "shaftless" die, set about to create a laser-engraved solid steel rotary die.