Manual factory presses can be great solutions for many applications. However, they can also introduce workplace injury risks and fatigue. So, how do you know when it’s time to move up from a manual press? Let’s take a look at a few signs.
4 Signs It’s Time to Move Up From a Manual Press
A manual press, also called an Arbor Press, is one of several different types of presses used to press, cut, bend or shape metal. This type of press uses a lever and a series of gears to amplify the power up to 6 tons.
In some cases, the repetitive lever-pulling motion can put too much strain on workers. If the press force required is very close to the maximum force exerted by the manual press, it can put a lot of strain on workers, and make the job uncomfortable. When this happens, it’s time to move up to a hydraulic, pneumatic, or hydropneumatic press.
It’s not always clear when it’s time to upgrade your press. So, how do you know? Look for these signs.
1. Repetitive Strain Injuries
Repetitive strain injuries, also called repetitive stress injuries, cumulative trauma disorders (CTD) or repetitive motion disorders, are musculoskeletal injuries caused from repeated movements or strains from motions with uncomfortable grips or positions. The muscles, tendons, joints, or bones can be damaged when the body must repeat the same motion over and over without rest, or when a motion requires difficult stretching or straining.
These types of injuries might seem mild compared to more serious injuries, which can also occur from press operations that are not optimally designed. However, repetitive strain injuries can cause permanent disabilities, and they are some of the most common workplace injuries.
Manual presses can cause repetitive stress injuries when workers have to strain to use the press or when they must use the press very quickly without rest. If you notice an increase in repetitive strain injuries or cumulative trauma disorders, it can be a sign that your manual press is taking a toll on your employees’ health. This is a good sign that it’s time to look into an automatic operated or two-hand controlled press.
Some workers might continue to perform a task until they are injured and have to see a doctor. Other employees might opt to take more rest time before an injury occurs. In this case, you might notice a rise in absenteeism in employees that use the manual press. Or, these employees might rotate quickly to other jobs.
If you notice more absenteeism focused around a particular aspect of the factory or shop, consider asking your employees about the machines they’re working with. Asking your employees specifically about their increase in sick time can cause them to become defensive, and you’ll be unlikely to learn much about the efficacy of particular machines. However, if you ask about whether or not a machine is performing well, you might gain more insight.
3. Decreased Product Quality
If it’s time to upgrade your manual press, you may notice a decrease in product quality. Your manual press or operator might be struggling to complete the tasks you need, so your parts might not be pressed, vent, cut, or assembled properly. You might notice incomplete assemblies, burrs or rough edges left behind, improper or incomplete bends, or cracks, breaks, or fractures in the workpieces. Or, you might notice more defective products discarded and more waste material.
When your manual press struggles to complete a job, you may notice the job takes more time than it should. Employees may have to perform a job several times before it can be completed. This can cause delays in your overall production process. If you notice more delays or fewer products being finished, your press might not be performing as expected.
How to Upgrade From a Manual Press
If you’ve noticed some of these signs and you think it’s time to upgrade your manual press, there are several options available. To choose the right press for the job and avoid these problems in the future, it’s important to get a press with the right amount of power and the right design. Consider the following aspects when choosing your new press:
- Applications: What do you need your press to do? Make a list of applications, including what materials you’re working with.
- Power: When you know your applications and materials, you can estimate how much power you need for your press.
- Dimensions: Your press has to fit comfortably in your shop. If you’re working with a small area, you still have many press options, but it’s important to measure carefully.
If you have questions about how to upgrade to a new press, we can help. Our experts can help you find a press with the right power, design, and dimensions. Contact us today to learn more about any press.