Getting the right press for your needs and applications can help you improve productivity, output, energy-savings, and more. Yet there are many options outside of a standard press build that can help optimize your process, and understanding the various add-ons and custom features available can help you select the best customizations for your optimal production press. Let’s take a look at how to build a custom assembly press, and when customization is best.
Why Build Your Custom Assembly Press?
First, why build a custom assembly press at all? A customized assembly press isn’t always the best option, and understanding the advantages and ideal situations for a custom assembly press can help you get the most value out of your investment.
Let’s take a look at a few advantages of a custom designed assembly press first.
- Energy-efficient: When your press is customized to suit your application and facility, you can select the press model with the force that’ssuitable to your particular application or project rather than a press that offers more force or power than required and operates at a higher energy cost. Selecting to add monitoring equipment can also show when your press is working harder than it needs to, which can also reduce excess energy usage.
- Highly productive: When your machine works at the right speed and performs all the functions you need, it can work at its best possible rate. Performance monitoring capabilities can also show when your press is performing at its peak, and when it needs some attention.
- Designed for your needs: There are many different types of presses for many different functions. Off-the-shelf presses are versatile, but they aren’t optimal. A customized assembly press will perform the right functions, with the right amount of force, at the right speed and/or level of control.
- Safety features: Some presses and applications benefit from different safety features compared to others. A customized press will ensure that you have the right safety features for your application needs and/or facility requirements.
- Fits with your workspace: You need a press that fits properly into your facility. Customized presses allow you to choose the right frame and footprint, so you can position your press properly.
Wondering how to customize your assembly press?
When to Customize Your Assembly Press
In some cases, a custom assembly press will be more useful than others. In some cases, an off-the-shelf press might be ideal for you. Some of the following features can indicate that your situation is a good fit for a customized factory press.
- Specific processes: If your processes are highly specific, or you need your press to alternate between a few processes swiftly, customization can help to ensure your press works smoothly for your requirements.
- High cycle times: For high-volume production operations, you may need your press to work quickly and with minimal error. Off-the-shelf presses might not be able to keep up, but a press customized to your application can ensure you’re meeting your optimal production speed and quality.
- Automation: Automating the press’s tasks and allowing the part or workpiece to move seamlessly through the production cycle generally requires some customization.
- Data collection: The right data collection tools can show you how your press is working, whether or not it’s completed the cycle properly, and much more. If you’re already using data collection on your other machines, or you plan to, customization can help you get the data you need.
Remember, customizing your press doesn’t necessarily mean adding numerous features. You can customize your press specifically with the capabilities or features that you need, so you can hone in on the perfect press for your needs.
How to Build Your Custom Assembly Press
One of the most important things to consider when selecting your press, whether building your custom assembly press or buying a standard model, is the force you require. Adding a press with excessive force will ultimately increase your energy costs unnecessarily. A right-sized press, on the other hand, will help optimize your production overall.
First, approximate the force requirements you’ll need for your press. This can vary based on the main job or jobs you’re using the press for or the materials you’re working with. As you consider the press’s applications, consider how these might impact the throat depth or powerstroke requirements as well.
Determining these aspects will not only help you choose between presses with different levels of force, but it will also help in later stages, such as choosing the type of press you need.
- Force needs
- Overall Stroke & Power Stroke requirements
- Throat depth
- Daylight requirements
Now sure how big your press should be? We can help.
Type of Press
There are many different types of presses to choose from. Each model can be effective in different situations, and many models can take on a variety of tasks. Determining which types of presses will work for your needs can help you find the press that works best, and it can also help you avoid overpaying for an expensive model that doesn’t necessarily improve productivity or efficiency.
There are several different aspects to consider when it comes to customizing your assembly press. First, you can choose between hydraulic, pneumatic, or hydropneumatic presses. Each model has different advantages and disadvantages. Here is a brief explanation of each:
- Hydraulic: Hydraulic presses use hydraulic power to function. These presses are generally more powerful than other types, but they also require more energy, more maintenance, and more startup costs.
- Pneumatic: Pneumatic presses use compressed air to function. They require shop air instead of high-voltage power sources, and they can help you save money and time on energy and maintenance. These types of presses are generally less powerful, with upper limits around 10 tons of force.
- Hydropneumatic: Hydropneumatic, or air-over-oil presses use a combination of pneumatic and hydraulic elements to function. These presses exert more force than pneumatic presses, but require less maintenance, upkeep, and energy than fully hydraulic models, without requiring a high-voltage power supply.
- Servo electric: Servo presses use electrically powered motors set up with a closed loop feedback system for a highly precise, programmable press system. These presses often come with a higher price tag, but offer extreme precision and efficiency.
Press Frame and Working Area Specifications
Within each of these different types of assembly presses, there are also variations in each machine’s design. Choosing the right design for your press can help to ensure a good fit for your facility, where operators have space to move around the machine and load or unload materials easily, comfortably and safely. Consider these different types of models, frames, and working area specifications to best customize your assembly press for both fit and function.
Frame Design Options
- C-frame: As the name implies, a C-frame press resembles a C-shape. The ram is positioned in the open part of the C, and workers can move around the frame as needed, and move the workpiece around as needed.
- 2- or 4-post: Your press might also be positioned on legs or posts. A 2-post press stands on two columns, with the ram in the middle. A 4-post press sits on four columns, with the ram positioned in the middle. These types of presses have differing footprints, and the different designs can limit how a workpiece can fit and be maneuvered inside the working area.
- Benchtop: A benchtop press sits on a table or bench. These types of presses are smaller, and can be easier to fit into your facility. They can also work effectively alongside other benchtop machines.
- Floor: A floor press is free-standing on the floor. This type of press needs dedicated floorspace, and it’s larger than benchtop models.
Working Area Specifications
- Stroke: Depending on the thickness of your material and how far you need to press into or through the material, you may need a longer stroke than offered in a standard press package or larger range for adjustment.
- Daylight: Daylight is the vertical opening for the working area, measured from the press platen to the retracted ram, which ranges from 4” to 10” for most of our presses by standard, with some of our standard models going as high as 18 inches. Depending on your selected press type, the standard daylight may not be enough to accommodate your parts and work pieces or tooling and a custom daylight opening may be required.
- Throat Depth: Similarly, the throat depth is the horizontal allowance for your parts and tooling. In a C-frame press this is the distance from your ram to the back of the C-frame. If the standard throat depth for the press that fits your application is smaller than your part radius and/or deeper than half of your tooling fixture, a custom throat depth may be required.
The right features on your custom assembly press play an important role in optimizing the machine’s performance. These features can provide data and feedback to show whether or not your press is performing at its peak, and help you identify problems. Different features can also impact the press’s speed and capabilities. Let’s take a look at a few of the different features that you can equip your assembly press with.
- Force monitoring: Force monitoring measures the actual force applied during a process. It can provide a variety of different information, including force curve, peak forces, and variations in force throughout the process.
- Distance monitoring: Distance monitoring measures the actual travel distance or displacement of the ram. It doesn’t measure force, but instead monitors the machine, showing whether or not it reached its full stroke.
- Force and distance monitoring: Force and distance monitoring combines the two previous technologies, and provides excellent data for quality control.
- Automation: Automation equipment and programmable controls can make your overall operation much faster and more efficient, and it can also free your workers to take on more complicated tasks.
- Safety features: The right safety features, such as light curtains, barrier guarding and two-handed controls, can make your operation safer and more efficient, as the features allow for easier movement around the machine.
- Jog circuits and fault control can help reduce waste and ensure production quality.
- Custom tooling and fixtures and/or additional cylinders may be necessary for your production and should be considered when investing in a press to get the optimal design for your operation.
Building a custom assembly press can be a great addition to your factory or shop. If you’re interested in customizing a press, contact us. We’re happy to provide more information about any customizable options for your press.