November 20, 2009
The hand-guided TRUMPF power nibbler is celebrating its50th birthday. The first tool, based on technical principles developed by Berthold Leibinger, came to market in 1959, when the company introduced the "THN100".
The THN100 was a tool with a punch that pushed through the fixed die plate with a stroke movement to stamp the material. Making a series of punching strokes to create a cut-line in sheet metal was called nibbling.
Power tools for nibbling existed before 1959. But these nibblers had very low maneuverability around curves. The TRUMPF tool, on the other hand, could be turned in all directions within the kerf because the machine was connected to the die plate through the hollow cutting punch. The THN100 could travel around curves with unlimited mobility. This was its special—patented—distinguishing feature.
And so TRUMPF received the title of "Nibble King," as a trade journal called it in 1960, to reflect the company's activities and successes in this area. At first, nibbling was a seldom-used method of sheet metal processing. But TRUMPF was early to recognize the advantages of this cutting procedure in sheet metal processing and used it in stationary machines as well as in electrical and compressed air tools.
Professor Berthold Leibinger, for many years president of TRUMPF and now chairman of the Supervisory Board, remembers: "In those days, the nibbling process made it possible to cut sheet metal thicknesses of up to one millimeter with hand-guided tools. The basic technical principle has endured, just like the advantages it made possible. The tools are agile, with distortion-free cutting, controlled chip discharge, and no significant warming."
Over the past 50 years, the company has made significant improvements to the performance capacity and handling of these tools. The largest nibbler—a hydraulicTruTool N1500—can even cut stainless steel sheets up to 0.59 in. (15 mm) thick. It is used mainly to dismantle heavy installations that are an explosion or a contamination risk.
Large areas of application are covered by numerous smaller tools, industry-specific in design and constantly being improved. In 2008 alone, the company brought three new nibblers of various sizes and performance capacities to market: the rapid TruTool PN130, the cordless TruTool N200 with Li-ion battery, and the flexible TruTool N500 with "reverse gear."