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Superior Die Set manufacturing mold bases for ventilator parts during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted on: April 13th, 2020

Superior Die Set has had to adjust operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, but CEO Martin Girga said the company has not been as negatively impacted as other manufacturers.

The Oak Creek-based die casting company is recognized as an essential business during the COVID-19 pandemic because of the various industries it services, which include tooling, the automotive industry and stamping houses. As a result of that designation, and since many of the projects that Superior Die Set gets contracted to design, such as parts for upcoming car models that are expected to be released in upcoming months, business is not screeching to a halt.

“We are feeling less of an impact than probably a typical company out there that doesn’t play in this market that we are in today in terms of tool and die shops. That’s favorable to us. That doesn’t mean that we may not get impacted later down the road,” Girga said.

He said Superior Die Set expects more of a slowdown in the third and fourth quarters. According to Girga, many of Superior Die Set’s competitors supply foreign-made goods, which are currently experiencing supply chain issues. Because Superior Die Set makes what they sell, the company is able to control its own supply chain much more efficiently, Girga said.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the company has also seen an increase in orders for components that are being used to manufacture ventilators.

The company’s first order from Accro Tool and Manufacturing in Burlington was received in the late afternoon on March 27. Accro Tool and Manufacturing is a plastic fabrication company that produces molds used on other products. It was an order for a custom mold base for a part used on a ventilator. The typical lead time on such a piece is five to seven work days. The Superior Die Set team delivered its first order in less than two days.

According to an email from Accro, because Superior Die Set was able to produce the part so quickly, Accro anticipated tool delivery on April 6.

“We’ve acted on this promptly realizing that this is a good thing for our company and to rally our troops around this to be able to help society and to be people that are sick,” Girga said.

Girga said that since February, the company has had an epidemic plan in place. So far, none of Superior Die Set’s employees have gotten sick.

“We acted very quickly,” Girga said, noting that 90% of employees are working from home.

“It’s a strange situation because you have people in the shop. You have people in the office. It’s different. It not only protects the people that are working from home. It also protects the people that need to continue to work here and continues to support the industry that we serve,” he said.

Girga said the company is taking the appropriate steps to avoid layoffs. These steps includes Girga taking a cut in his own pay. He said the company also is taking steps at the top level to streamline and ensure the company is able to right size.

“My idea right now at this point is the business while it’s slowed down, it’s still healthy enough for us that we want to make sure we’re retaining employees as much as we can,” he said.

Girga added that if the company does struggle, it hopes to take advantage of some of the small business loans that are available to companies like Superior Die Set.

Copyright- by Milwaukee Biz

Original Article link here

Superior Welcomes Greendale Precision Services To Oak Creek Facility

Posted on: December 20th, 2019

Superior Die Set Welcomes Greendale Precision Services to Oak Creek Facility

Integration of services strengthens alignment of business offerings for Superior Die Set customers


Oak Creek, WI – December 20, 2019 – Superior Die Set Corporation CEO, Martin Girga, announces the physical move of sister company, Greendale Precision Services, into their Oak Creek location in order to streamline services and communication under one roof. Known for their engineering expertise with the latest machining and grinding technologies, Greendale Precision Services, currently located in Greendale, WI, will benefit from the increase in resources and personnel at the Superior Die Set facility while customers will observe this advantage immediately.

“We are at an ideal position within our business growth objectives to nourish the vision of the organization with this relocation in order to maintain Superior Die Set’s competitiveness in the marketplace,” Girga said.  “This strategic move will continue to exceed our customers’ requirements while focusing on the future of Superior Die Set strongest capabilities. This significant transition harmonizes with the company’s mission statement, aiming to be the partner of choice, which focuses on our customer’s growth by providing innovative solutions and introducing new products/services along with the plan to sustain a larger global footprint, especially in the European market.”

With the move, Greendale Precision Services is expecting to strengthen their production capabilities due to the expanded cross-training opportunities, improved internal communication and the company’s ability to utilize multiple shifts after being united with Superior Die Set. Customers of both companies will also experience advantages by having one point of contact for all their Superior products which also translates to one purchase order or payment, basically allowing customers to reduce their supplier list.

“Aligning with Superior Die Set within their Oak Creek facility will deliver a new dimension of value when it comes to our manufacturing systems, performance and analytics,” said Matt Christel, general manager at Greendale Precision Services. “The result is a well-leveraged pool of resources in equipment and staff while introducing a faster flow of products through Superior’s LEAN management principles, ultimately outpacing our competitors.”

The move will begin taking place on Dec. 16, 2019. Organizational efforts and planning have already been executed to minimize any disruption to our customers.

About Superior Die Set Corporation

Superior Die Set Corporation is a fourth generation, family-owned manufacturer of steel and aluminum products for the metal stamping, plastic injection molding, and forging industries along with fabrications used in machine tools, construction, and press automation since 1923. Located in Oak Creek, WI, Superior provides full in-house production capabilities, creating a cost-effective and streamlined process. Worldwide, Superior Die Set employs nearly 500 people for the manufacturing, sourcing, and support of the metalworking industries through two subsidiaries: Greendale Precision Services ( and ProPlastica ( Learn more at

Contact Information

Mark Ullstrup

Vice President, Sales

(414) 349-9811

NEW CageSaver

Posted on: November 6th, 2019

The costliest and most fragile element in a stamping die’s ball-bearing guidance system is the Retainer Cage which carries and secures the ball bearings in a predefined matrix arrangement. It’s estimated that 90%+ of all catastrophic damage to Retainer Cages (of the suspended / hanging-type) occurs during DIE HANDLING activities – especially during the process of “flipping” the upper die shoe assembly prior to conducting die maintenance / repair activities.

Superior Die Set Corporation is pleased to introduce CageSaver, a handy new diemaker’s accessory designed to virtually eliminate the possibility of Retainer Cage damage during die handling and maintenance activities. The CageSaver product is configured to work with inch- and metric-series products, all standard nominal diameters, and all current styles of suspended Retainer Cage designs (A-type / D-type / L-type ) currently available in North America.

CageSaver’s clever and clean design maintains the Retainer Cage in a fully- and safely retracted position during all die handling activities. The Cage remains completely enclosed by a translucent polycarbonate sheath (optional) which shields the Cage and ball bearings from direct water / detergent impingement during pressure-washing of the die. No longer will diemakers need to resort to such crude, inexact measures as rubber bands, tape, nylon tie straps, twist-wire, etc. for securing Retainer Cages in a safe position during die handling activities. The CageSaver’s design also employs a rugged elastomeric pad which is provided for safe and cushioned resting / storage of the upper die assembly upon the toolroom floor or on a storage rack. The CageSaver configuration furthermore allows the upper die shoe to be securely rested upon the lower die shoe with the Guideposts fully disengaged from, but in-line-with, the Bushings in the lower shoe.

Click here for more information

New CEO plans to reinvent company

Posted on: October 8th, 2019

New CEO of Superior Die Set in Oak Creek plans to reinvent company

Kasimir Janiszewski started Superior Die Set Corp. in 1923 after the 23-year-old moved to the United States from Poland. As the story goes, Kasimir was asked when he arrived in the United States what did he do for work. Kasimir responded, “What makes the most money.” He was told the tool and die businesses, so that’s what Kasimir pursued. For 96 years Superior Die Set at 900 W. Drexel Ave. in Oak Creek was run by three generations of the Janiszewski family. With just four years until the company’s centennial, Superior Die Set made a change, appointing Martin Girga Jr., the first non-Janiszewski, as the president and CEO of the company.

And Girga hopes that he can reinvent the company in the next four years before the anniversary.
Though Girga was the first non-Janiszewski to take over the company, he felt like his personal connection to the family positively impacted him. The 46-year-old CEO understood Kasimir’s story of coming to the United States with a few dollars in his pocket because Girga’s family did the same thing.

Girga moved to the U.S. from the Czech Republic in 1982 when he was 11 years old. His father is Czech, and his mother is Polish. Growing up, his parents often worked two jobs to provide for the family. That’s where he said he gets his work ethic from.
Girga joined the company on July 8. For the first month, the first-time CEO would often work two shifts, meeting with customers and staff during the first shift and spending the second shift on the floor learning the intricacies of die set manufacturing.
Superior Die Set has its main facility in Oak Creek as well as a facility in Greendale, known as Greendale Precision Services, and two facilities in Poland under the name Pro Plastica. In Wisconsin the company employs around 200. Girga is working to implement a new stance within the company called “Back to Superior.”

“Let’s not just be good. Let’s be superior,” Girga said. “I think they [the company] achieved within this industry the name brand that stood for superior products. Over time we lost that because of competition, and we didn’t reinvent ourselves.”
Vice president of sales and marketing Mark Ullstrup, who has been with the company for 38 years, said being superior is about being the best in the industry, being world-class. It’s a benchmark that Girga believes the company continuously has to push itself to be.

In order to consistently achieve that superior status, Girga is implementing a three- to five-year plan, which he hopes to complete by the company’s centennial. He’s calling it Superior 2.0. “By our 100th anniversary, the Superior group of companies is the global partner of choice providing high quality precision products and innovative solutions,” the company’s vision statement reads.

The first change is what Girga describes as the low-hanging fruit, to implement lean manufacturing improvements to reduce lead times. His goal, which he believes the company can achieve, is to shorten lead times by 75%.

It’s also about remarketing the company, Ullstrup said. The company is known for its die set business, according to Ullstrup, but there are other avenues that can be potential room for growth. He said the company hopes to be recognized for its ability to cater and supply to other industries such as forging, fabrication and injection molding industries. “They’re looking for partners. They’re in the same boat as we are. They just don’t want a supplier, and we just don’t want a customer,” Ullstrup said.

In year two, Girga wants to invest heavily in technology and make sure all four plants in Oak Creek, Greendale, and Kielce and Bytow, Poland, are unified as one global company. The two Poland facilities have made drastic improvements over the years including new facilities and new equipment. Currently, the two plants in Poland are mainly used for plastic injection molding. Girga said with more potential opportunities in Poland, he will look to grow those markets and diversify to new products.

In years three and four Girga hopes to make new acquisitions in the company and work to drive new talent into the company as many long-term employees will be retiring in the upcoming years. As part of the company’s mission statement, Superior Die Set has a goal to hire, develop, retain and empower employees. Girga hopes to work with local technical colleges to create a younger workforce.
“To do a turnaround transformation, he has got to get everyone on board, going in the same direction, and that’s not easy,” Ullstrup said of Girga’s goals. “Marty has done that in weeks. His leadership is incredible.”

Name: Martin Girga Jr.
Hometown: Frýdek-Místek, Czech Republic
Current city: Franklin
Family: Wife, Kimberly, with five children (14-year-old son, 18-year-old triplets, 24-year-old son)
Age: 46
Hobbies: “Reading bible and books related to leadership; fishing, golf and now enjoying making our company Superior”
Education: MBA from Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill.
Fun fact: “I have been together with my wife since I was 16, so married for 25 years and together for 30 years.”

SOURCE: By Margaret Naczek – Reporter , Milwaukee Business Journal CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE

How Rough Is Smooth?

Posted on: July 22nd, 2019

This technical article is an overview of the topic of surface roughness as it pertains to the products offered by Superior Die Set. We will first review Superior’s in-house standards for surface roughness. We will provide an explanation for the Ra scale for surface roughness and what that scale actually represents. We will also talk about why surface roughness is an important characteristic in our products. In addition, we will show you the surface roughness measuring equipment used at Superior Die Set and how it works. Finally, we will talk about how perception can influence objectivity with respect to measurement of surface roughness.

Superior Die Set complies to the basic industry standards of surface finish which is 63 Ra for Blanchard ground plate and 32 Ra for Surface ground plate.  It must be understood, though, that many factors contribute to these values that can cause different readings such as lubricants, oxidation, scratches, and condition of testing unit to name a few.  Variable testing results are possible.  (Click the images below for enlarged views)

Surface roughness can be measured several different ways – but by far the most common method (and the method used by Superior Die Set) is the calculation for Ra, which corresponds with the average of the absolute roughness value compared to the mean. Imagine that you are looking at the surface of a plate, visualized as such: What we are concerned with is the height of both the peaks and valleys of a surface compared to the average. If the peaks and valleys are relatively large compared to the average roughness value, then the surface is rough and Ra is high. If the peaks and valleys are relatively small compared to the average roughness value, then the surface is smooth and Ra is low.

Another surface roughness scale that may be used is the RMS (root-mean square) scale. The formula used to calculate RMS surface roughness is different than Ra but uses the same individual height measurements of a surface’s peaks and valleys. The RMS scale is typically not specified as commonly as the Ra scale, because of the fact that a single large peak can raise and distort the overall measurement of RMS surface roughness, compared to the Ra calculation.

Surface roughness can be important for different reasons. The most common place we measure surface roughness at Superior Die Set is on ground plate. In that situation, the surface roughness is important mainly because it typically correlates to how well we were able to hold size and parallelism of the plate. A poor or inconsistent surface roughness can be an immediate visual clue that there may be a problem with size or parallelism.

Aside from the surface roughness we can measure on Blanchard ground or surface ground plates, there are other situations where surface roughness matters. For example, the surface roughness of milled pockets or machined holes can affect performance – specifically with regard to wear resistance and crack formation. Rough surfaces typically wear more quickly than smooth surfaces. Avoiding crack formation is important in many of the tooling components for stamping applications, and especially bolster components and the bolster itself in forging applications.

Below are a few pictures of the portable profilometer used at Superior Die Set in action, measuring surface roughness: It works by pulling a diamond-tipped stylus across the surface that is being measured, for a specific distance and with a specific contact force. The device plugs the stylus’s displacement data into the appropriate surface roughness formula and then displays it in Ra format. Other surface roughness formulas are also avail-able. The main advantages of using a contact profilometer are:

Acceptance – most of the world’s surface finish standards are written for contact profilometers

 Surface independence – contacting the surface is often an advantage in when dirt, foreign material,  surface reflectance, or color can cause inaccurate results with non-contact profilometer

Resolution – The stylus tip on some profilometers can be as small as 20 nano-meters which allows for a resolution that is significantly better than even  white-light optical profiling.

Image 1-Quick Milled Edge Results, Image 2-Surface Ground Results, Image 3-Blanchard Ground Results, Image 4-Graphic Data

Objective measurement is king when it comes to determining surface roughness – however, perception of manufacturing process results can get in the way of that objective measurement. As you will see in the image below, there are visual surface roughness comparators used by many skilled personnel in the industry, in order to get a rough estimate of surface roughness without taking a measurement.

But what can be taken away from this image? Just because steel is removed using a certain process – be it Blanchard grinding, surface grinding, or even CNC milling – that doesn’t mean your surface roughness results have to be limited to a predefined range.

In fact, it is possible for Superior Die Set to hold Ra to a range of 8-16 even on a Blanchard grind (see “16BL” above) and especially so on a surface grind (see “16G” above). It is also common for Superior Die Set to hit Ra values for milled edges in a range of 16-32, even though those milled edges may look completely different than a surface ground face! The cutting tool marks or grinding stone marks do not necessarily mean anything with respect to surface roughness – it’s more about how we go about the process of grinding or milling.

In conclusion, here are the main points of this article:

  • Superior Die Set has internal standards for surface roughness on all ground plate
  • Ra is by far the most common surface roughness measurement, and is also used by Superior Die Set
  • Surface roughness is important for ground plate be-cause it sometimes correlates with size/parallelism
  • Surface roughness is also important in other situations for wear resistance and avoiding crack formation
  • Superior Die Set uses a contact profilometer to mea-sure surface roughness
  • Cutting tool and grinding stone patterns do not necessarily mean “good” or “bad” surface roughness

Meet our new CEO

Posted on: July 15th, 2019

Oak Creek, Wisconsin – July 8, 2019 – Superior Die Set Corporation President and CEO Frank Janiszewski announced today that the company has hired a new CEO, Martin Girga, to lead the organization.  Over the past 96 years, the many employees of Superior, under the leadership of three generations of Janiszewskis, have made Superior a global leader in the industry.  This pivotal change will position Superior, its clients and employees for continued greatness.

“We are now at a critical point in an increasingly competitive and complex business climate,” Janiszewski said today as he addressed the company.  “To continue to meet our customers’ requirements and harvest this very strong market, my brother Casey and I have made an important decision concerning the future of Superior Die Set.  After more than 40 years at Superior, we are turning the top post over to someone with exceptional outside experience to take the company to the next level of operational execution, commercial growth and financial strength.”

Janiszewski went on to say, “Starting today, we will be passing the baton to Martin for all day-to-day business responsibilities. Casey and I will remain the majority shareholders of the company and will be cochairmen of the Board of Directors.”

Girga brings a valuable background of vision, leadership and process improvement with world class companies such as Danaher, ITT Industrial Process and Orchid Orthopedic. Most recently, he was the Vice President and General Manager of Giddings and Lewis in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.  “We have no doubt that Martin will help us all advance the Superior Die Set Corporation to new levels of performance that you and our customers deserve,” Frank and Casey Janiszewski noted. “Martin brings us the skill set and passion to accomplish this and his hands-on style is a perfect match for our long-standing culture.”

About the road ahead and next steps, Girga added, “Superior Die Set is well positioned for continued growth, and with the support of the leadership team we plan to build on the existing foundation, focusing on customer value through operational and commercial efficiencies.  My immediate focus will be to meet with customers, suppliers and our team members to better understand our customers’ and organizational needs.  I look forward to working with the Board and all of our employees to bring the company to next level.”

WATERJET CUTTING – now available at Superior

Posted on: June 20th, 2018

Superior Die Set has installed a ‘waterjet cutting’ machine to expand our cutting capabilities. We have always offered this service to our customers but chose to work with third party sources to handle our cutting needs. This was especially true when cutting slug holes in our Fortal aluminum die sets. Now with this machine under our roof, we can easily expand our range of use to many more options such as stripper plate openings in our new 4140 AR plate, or much smaller inside corner radiuses down to .020” on internal shapes.

So exactly how does water cut through steel? A pump generates a flow of pressurized water for the cutting process that can reach up to 60,000 psi. Inside the nozzle the pressurized water passes through a small-diameter orifice and forms a jet of water. The jet then passes through a venturi section where a metered amount of granular abrasive, typically garnet, is drawn into the water stream. The mixture of water and abrasive particles passes through a special ceramic mixing tube and the resulting abrasive/water slurry exits the nozzle as a coherent cutting stream of abrasive particles travelling at very high speed.

Through this process, clean definition, intricate geometry, and high tolerances are achieved and unrivaled by other cutting systems such as plasma and oxy-torch. Although more expensive, waterjet cutting has a unique feature, no use of heat, which broadens the horizon of use in such materials as glass, paper, aluminum, stainless steel, ceramic, and even wood.

The limits on waterjet cutting capabilities are directly proportionate to the quality and tolerance required for the job. When customers request waterjet cutting, it’s almost assumed that other means of cutting is not satisfactory to hold the tolerances. For that very reason, Superior has set limits to its range of use so a high level of quality can be maintained. For example, the maximum thickness in steel plate for waterjet cutting is 3.5”, with aluminum a bit more.

So to what tolerance can we waterjet cut to? This depends on so many factors such as the length of cut, thickness of cut, material type, and quality of definition. Although we can cut a piece 6’ x 12’, something this size would affect the overall tolerance is comparison to something very small. We have achieved tolerances down to +/-.005”, and can easily hold +/-.030”, but many dynamics need to be considered so each circumstance will dictate the offered tolerance.

To watch our waterjet cutting system in action, go to our website under the ‘Watch this’ menu item.

STOP MILLING AROUND – Let Superior square your blocks……

Posted on: January 10th, 2018

Superior Die Set has expanded own plate machining services with the addition of a precision dual spindle edge milling machine.  This new machine accurately mills the edges of plates to within .002” TIR with a maximum capacity of 16” high x 48” square.  The dual spindle action rapidly removes material on two opposing edges, then indexes 90 degrees and completes the process so that all 4 sides are milled square and parallel. This high-speed action provides lower costs and reduced lead times   The micro finish produced by this machine is better than most ground finishes, typically surpassing 32 Ra.

Superior now has two of these Quick-Mill machines, with our original machine handling plates up to 9” high x 31” x 31”.  We can even square plates much larger than 48” on our typical horizontal centers.  This service is being applied to plate used in mold bases, die sets, fixtures, parallels, or anything requiring beautiful and accurate machined edges.

A ‘Quick Mill’ video has been uploaded to our YouTube channel showing the capabilities of the machine along with some great examples

D-Line Springs

Posted on: February 26th, 2016

D-line springs offer an ISO-10243 solution for either new design or direct replacement of equivalent ISO parts (i.e. Danly Springs) but with the quality, reliability, and performance of Raymond. The duty ranges available in the D-line are the widest available, a total of 6, including ultra light duty (light green) and ultra heavy duty (grey) for extreme applications. Additionally the D-line offers sizes within specific duty ranges not previously available from Raymond.

All Raymond die springs, including D-line parts, are manufactured from the highest quality materials. The industry leading manufacturing controls and quality have been a part of how Raymond products have been made for well over a century.  The material cross sections designed & manufactured specifically for D-line springs are optimal for the ISO specification, delivering consistent rates and increased travel.

Raymond D-line springs, while driven by an ISO specification, will work in inch applications, and have been designed & sized for exactly this. Whether your application for die springs is a die set or an OEM application D-line springs complete the Raymond portfolio of Die springs, the source of all your die springs.

Click Here to access the D-Line Spring digital edition.


Did you Say “Mild Steel”?

Posted on: January 7th, 2016

Since the first all-steel die set was introduced to the world by Superior Die Set in the middle of the last century, it has overwhelmingly become the material of choice in many facets of the metalworking industry related to tool holding. It is currently the most economical material choice for industrial applications that require a moderate amount of tensile strength, some resistance to impact – or “toughness”, good weldability, and good machinability.

If you ask any machinist working with a steel die set, steel parallels, or steel fixture plates: “What type of material is that?” – chances are they may not know the particular specification of the steel that they are working with, and simply reply, “mild steel”.  Mild steel is a very broad definition of steel with low carbon content. Other commonly used generic names are “hot rolled steel (HRS)” or “boiler plate (BP)”. These are general terms just like “mild steel” that really don’t get into the specifics of mechanical properties or steel chemistry. In reality, there are many different designations, grades or specifications of “mild steel” commonly used within our industry.

Probably the most common is the ASTM designation for A36 steel. This material standard has very specific, but fairly wide specifications for carbon content as well as alloying elements. It is widely available and is considered a go-to standard material in construction of buildings, since the certification of its mechanical properties makes its engineered use predictable, and therefore safe.

Another common specification is the AISI designation of 1018 or 1020 steel. This material standard is extremely specific as far as chemistry. The drawback, however, is that there is no guarantee on the mechanical properties of the steel.

At Superior Die Set, we take great pride in the material we order because we know from decades of real-world experience that the mechanical properties of A36 are important, yet the consistency in chemistry is desirable, mainly due to the chemistry’s direct relation to the machinability of the steel. Specifically – we know that just specifying A36 is not always good enough. At the low end of the carbon range in the ASTM standard for A36 steel, the carbon content of the steel is so low that the material often becomes gummy during machining. This can result in, at best, inconsistent or slower than expected speeds and feeds – or, at worst, damaged cutting tools or pockets/holes out of tolerance as a result of damaged tooling.

Every piece of #1 steel (A36 Mod) that comes from Superior Die Set is ordered with the specification “A36 with minimum carbon content of 0.15”.

Every piece of #1 steel (A36 Mod) that comes from Superior Die Set is also tested and certified to meet expected mechanical properties AND Superior’s specification for steel chemistry. We can pull certifications for every piece of steel currently in our shop, as well as steel purchased within the last 10 years.

We’ve been specifying and purchasing certified “modified” A36 for years and years. While machine operators at our customers may have noticed the difference, other personnel not working directly with Superior’s steel may not have realized the true value of #1 steel (A36 Mod) purchased from Superior Die Set.

The bottom line is that the #1 steel (A36 Mod) we use in every die set and plate saves our customers money in the long run. Our customers are, and always have been, truly receiving a “Superior” steel.

900 West Drexel Ave.
Oak Creek, WI 53154