Examples of extremely common hydraulic press applications are: automotive parts fabrication, microwave part fabrication, refrigerator component fabrication, dishwasher part fabrication and beverage can fabrication. Hydraulic presses are used for applications in many applications, though. These include: aerospace engineering, appliance, automotive manufacturing, ceramics, food and beverage processing, marine manufacturing, military and defense and pulp and paper. The hydraulic press is a vital element of industries where pressing and deep drawing operations are performed.
History of the Hydraulic Press
Joseph Bramah invented the hydraulic press in 1795. Sometimes, it is called the Bramah press. Leading up to this invention, Bramah first invented the flush toilet, then began studying fluids. This led to his study of Pascal’s law, also known as Pascal’s principle. This is a principle of fluid dynamics that states that when pressure changes anywhere in a confined space of fluid that cannot be compressed, that same pressure change will be transmitted throughout the whole space.
Experimenting with this principle, Bramah put together a device featuring two cylinders, one large and one small, filled with liquid and connected with a pipe. He realized that if he put pressure on the top of the narrow cylinder, this pressure would transfer to the liquid in the larger cylinder. He and a colleague then figured out how to put together a device featuring cylinders with matching pistons sealed with leather and self-tightening collars. This was the basis for the hydraulic press, which works using liquid pressure as force.
The hydraulic press was a great innovation. Before its invention, the hydraulic engineering industry was virtually non-existent. During the 19th and 20th centuries, manufacturers and engineers used the hydraulic press to innovate in many areas, including most notably farming machinery and transportation. Today, hydraulic presses work using the same principle and basic components, but they are more varied than ever and frequently work in conjunction with CNC technology.
How a Hydraulic Press Works
A hydraulic press is a mechanical tool that shapes, deforms, and aligns various kinds of metals, plastics, rubber, and wood using the static pressure of a liquid, as specified by Pascal’s principle. The mainframe, power system, and controls comprise a hydraulic press’s mechanism.
First, hydraulic fluid is forced into a small double-acting cylinder by a hydraulic pump or a lever. There, the fluid encounters a sliding piston, which tries to compress the fluid. It instead shoves the fluid through the small cylinder into a larger cylinder, where the process repeats. This time, the compressive force forces the fluid back into the smaller cylinder. The fluid is passed back and forth between cylinders, causing pressure to build. Eventually, the pressure becomes too great that it reaches the anvil, baseplate or die. It presses the anvil, baseplate or die, deforming the material beneath it into the desired product shape. To make sure that the press does not overload the material, when it reaches its pressure threshold, the fluid activates a valve that activates pressure reversal.
Hydraulic Press Types
There are many different types of hydraulic press, and each is used for its own set of applications. The main types of hydraulic presses are:
A C-frame hydraulic press is employed for metal forming, straightening, blanking, punching, drawing and riveting; operations which require force and precision. Because of their narrow shape, C-frame presses take up less floor space than many other models, making them convenient for small to mid-sized facilities. C-frame presses can be manually or automatically operated. Hydraulic presses with a single column (or “C-frame”) feature a body frame shaped like the letter “C” with a single arm arrangement. They are exceptionally fast, rigid, function well as guides, and have great precision. Their applications are assembling, press fitting, bending operations, etc.
Used for tasks or applications that require coining, crimping, bending, punching and trimming. The welded frame of an H-frame press makes it capable of performing many different operations. The frame, press cylinder, pump, and bolster of an H-frame hydraulic press (two columns) are shaped like an “H,” and they are used for various tasks in repair shop maintenance facilities and production assembly lines. For low-volume applications, they have a hand pump available or air and electricity pumps where dependable operation is needed. The size of the cylinder in an H-frame determines how much force is available.
A laminating press makes it possible to apply film to many different materials or create encapsulating layers for electronic components. These presses are operated manually and compression takes place between two plates (one for heating and one for cooling).
Similar to laminating presses, stamping presses are specialized machines used to shape or cut materials using deformation with a die. Stamping presses, or stamp presses, are very common in the automotive and metalworking industries.
A transfer press stamps and molds material like plastic, rubber and metal. Flat plastic can be fed automatically into the end of the press where it is pulled from one die to the next by feed bar fingers.
Vacuum presses are hydraulic presses specialized to seal materials and products using atmospheric pressure. Vacuum presses are used to apply film to a wide variety of materials. Also, they’re used to encapsulate items like ID cards and credit cards in plastic layers.
Broadly speaking, platen presses feature a ram and a solid, stable working surface.
Forging presses, also known as hydraulic forge presses, are used to shape metal only. In particular, they’re used to shape vehicle parts. Using either an open or closed mold, pressure, force and sometimes heat, they force metal blocks into shapes. During forge pressing, the metal stretches beyond its yield point, but does not crack or break.
Hydraulic Press Brake
Hydraulic press brakes are typically constructed from two C-frames on the sides, a movable beam on top and a tool mounted on a table below. Unlike non-hydraulic press brakes, this press brake features two synchronized hydraulic cylinders on the frames, which move the beam. If automated, this press is called a CNC press brake. Manufacturers use hydraulic press brakes to fold, bend and otherwise cold work sheet metal.
A shop press, or hydraulic shop press, can repair, remove and set small parts like bearings, u-joints and bushings. It can also straighten bent parts. Shop presses work very well for automotive repair, especially in small garage businesses.
Four-Column Hydraulic Press
Hydraulic presses with four columns can exert a significant amount of force on any size work item. Depending on the needs of the production process, they can be either single- or dual-cylinder. A centralized control system with semi-automatic cycling, adjustable pressure, and variable compression speed is used with four-column presses. They are employed for trimming, die cutting, stamping and deep drawing, etc.
Electric Servo Press
These presses are environmentally friendly and electrically powered. Compared to the traditional hydraulic and pneumatic press, the electric servo press operates more quietly and efficiently. The energy consumption of the electric servo press is also lowered by 75–80% simultaneously. Applications of electric servo press include precision assembly and precision riveting.
Gib-guided presses are frequently employed for the most demanding operations because of their robust design and great accuracy, which the H frame hydraulic press and four-post hydraulic press cannot handle. These gib-guided presses have the highest level of ram guiding and a multifunctional hydraulic cushion. They are frequently used in processes like deep drawing, sheet metal forming, bending, blanking, coining, punching, etc.
Hydraulic Press Equipment Components
A hydraulic press has all of the essential components of a basic hydraulic system. It has a set of cylinders, punches (or pistons), hydraulic pipes that move the fluid, and a die (or anvil).
The pistons use liquid under pressure to push on the anvil with a high level of force. The hydraulic fluid is then forced into the cylinder when the pump is activated. There are two cylinders, and the fluid (either oil or water) is deposited into the smallest of the two. When the small piston is pushed, it compresses the fluid. This compressed fluid then flows through the pipe to the master cylinder. This pressure on the large master cylinder and its piston causes the flow to be directed back to the small cylinder.
At this point, the force on the fluids in the smaller cylinder creates even more force when it is pushed back into the master cylinder. It’s this extremely high force that brings the punch in contact with the die and accomplishes whatever press operation is being performed.
How to Use a Hydraulic Press
Operating a hydraulic press requires proper training and strict adherence to safety guidelines. Before use, individuals should undergo training covering hydraulic press principles, safety procedures, and control system operation. A pre-operation inspection is then vital to check for damages, leaks, and functional safety features. Proper material positioning and alignment ensure even force distribution during pressing. Additionally, operators must wear appropriate PPE during operations. Engaging the press involves activating the pump to build hydraulic pressure, with careful control of pressure and speed. Likewise, vigilant monitoring during pressing and gradual pressure release after the operation enhance safety. Finally, regular cleaning, maintenance, and adherence to manufacturer recommendations are essential for a safe and efficient hydraulic press operation.
Hydraulic Press Benefits
Hydraulic presses are among the most common and efficient types of presses on the market, largely because they are capable of exerting more force than mechanical presses, machine presses or pneumatic presses. In addition, they offer benefits including: low initial costs, low maintenance costs, easy operation,
Investment and Maintenance Costs
Hydraulic presses are simple and do not have many moving parts. In addition, they are globally available and easy to access. For these reasons, they are inexpensive to purchase and easy to maintain. If a hydraulic press part breaks down or becomes ineffective at any time, it will be easy to replace and you won’t have to uninstall or disassemble the machine.
Ease of Operation
Hydraulic presses are designed to work well no matter what. For example, if a press is designed to exert 200 tons of pressure, then it will do so, even if you make a mistake in setting up. Likewise, you would have to try very hard to overload it, because hydraulic presses are designed to open their relief valve when they reach their set pressure limit.
It’s also easy to control and adjust press settings, per your requirements. For example, when needed, you can change: ram force, pressure dwell duration, press direction, press speed and the release of force.
Hydraulic presses are refreshingly quiet. They are free from the noise made by moving parts and flying wheels. When equipped with a properly mounted pumping unit, hydraulic presses exceed current US standard noise regulations.
Many presses can only deliver the full force of their power from the bottom. This is not the case with hydraulic presses. Instead, they can deliver a full power press stroke from any point. This saves users from having to buy extra presses to deliver force throughout the stroke. This is especially helpful during drawing operations.
Machine Tool Life
Finally, thanks to their built-in overload protection, hydraulic press machine tools last much longer than tools used with other press machines. In addition, auxiliary equipment used with hydraulic presses lasts a long time because it is not subject to heavy vibration, shock or impact.
Hydraulic Press Design and Customization
When designing a hydraulic press, manufacturers choose specifics like: material design, load limits and configuration based on your application requirements. Usually, manufacturers design hydraulic presses with stainless steel parts, since they are strong, durable, corrosion resistant and abrasion resistant. They may also use other high strength materials, such as other steel alloys, brass and aluminum. Hydraulic press manufacturers exert a lot of control over press ton handling limits and are able to custom design presses to handle virtually any ton load, from just one ton to upwards of 10,000 tons.
As far as configurations go, manufacturers usually choose from single and multi-station configurations. Single station presses feature a single set of press tools (a die and a punch) inside of a table. Multi-station presses, on the other hand, consist of multiple sets of press machine tools. These may perform the same operation on different materials, or they may perform multiple press operations from different stages.
Hydraulic press manufacturers can also customize your press by: altering the die shape, changing the hydraulic fluid type, increasing or decreasing folding down to the mm and increasing or decreasing the length down to the mm, among other possibilities.
Hydraulic Press Safety Standards and Compliance
Hydraulic press safety and compliance standards are crucial in ensuring the safe operation of these powerful machines. In the United States, organizations like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) play a significant role in setting and enforcing these standards. OSHA establishes workplace safety regulations, including guidelines for operating hydraulic presses, while ANSI develops consensus-based industry standards related to hydraulic press design, construction, and operation.
Compliance with these standards is essential for both manufacturers and users of hydraulic presses. Manufacturers must meet these standards during the design and production phases to ensure that their products are safe and reliable. Adhering to these guidelines demonstrates a commitment to workplace safety and reduces the risk of accidents and potential legal liabilities. Failure to meet the standards can lead to costly product recalls, legal penalties, and damage to the manufacturer’s reputation.
For users of hydraulic presses, adhering to safety and compliance standards is equally vital. Following the guidelines ensures the well-being of operators and other personnel working with or near the press. Proper training, maintenance, and adherence to safety protocols help prevent accidents and injuries, creating a safer work environment. Compliance also contributes to improved productivity and product quality, as operators can work with confidence, knowing they are using a well-maintained and safe machine.
Non-compliance by manufacturers and users can result in serious consequences. For manufacturers, failure to meet safety standards may lead to their products being banned from the market or facing legal actions and fines. Users who neglect safety standards may be subject to OSHA inspections, citations, and financial penalties. In the event of an accident caused by non-compliance, both manufacturers and users may face legal liabilities and damage claims.
On the other hand, there are several benefits for both manufacturers and users who meet these safety and compliance standards. For manufacturers, adherence to standards can lead to increased customer trust, a positive brand reputation, and a competitive edge in the market. Meeting these guidelines can also reduce the likelihood of product recalls and warranty claims, saving the company money in the long run.
For users of hydraulic presses, compliance ensures a safer work environment, reducing the risk of accidents, injuries, and associated costs. Well-trained operators working with compliant equipment are more productive and efficient. Additionally, compliance can lead to better insurance terms, as insurance providers often offer more favorable rates to companies that demonstrate a commitment to safety.
In conclusion, hydraulic press safety and compliance standards are crucial for both manufacturers and users. OSHA and ANSI set these standards in the United States. Adhering to these guidelines ensures workplace safety, reduces the risk of accidents and legal liabilities, and enhances the reputation of manufacturers. For users, compliance provides a safer work environment, increased productivity, and potential cost savings. Non-compliance, on the other hand, can lead to severe consequences and risks for all parties involved.
Choosing the Right Hydraulic Press Manufacturer
To ensure you have the most satisfactory outcome when purchasing a hydraulic press from a hydraulic press manufacturer, it is important to compare several companies using our directory of hydraulic press manufacturers. There, each hydraulic press manufacturer has a business profile page highlighting their areas of experience and capabilities, along with a contact form to directly communicate with the manufacturer for more information or to request a quote. Preview each hydraulic press company business website using our patented website previewer to quickly learn what each company specializes in. Then, use our simple RFQ form to contact multiple hydraulic press businesses with the same form.
Hydraulic Press Informational Video