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Beckwood's Custom Hydraulic Press Solutions Provide Performance Results That Rival Servo Technology

Beckwood Press Co. has engineered an inexpensive method for achieving servo-type performance through the use of advanced hydraulic and control systems. These hydraulic presses are designed to provide users with incredible flexibility with precision control of both ram position and force.

Beckwood manufactures many custom hydraulic presses with varying degrees of performance capability, depending on the specific customer's application requirements. Traditionally, customers who required higher level performance in their pressing applications immediately assumed that servo technology was required. While there are certain situations which warrant the implementation of servo systems, Beckwood is often able to introduce to these 'servo-minded customers' hydraulic press technology which offers the results they need in a more addorable package.

Jeffrey E. Debus, Beckwood's President, says that the idea was to take advantage of recent advances in hydraulic and motion control technology, providing a package that can be far less costly for many hydraulic press applications requiring a higher-degree of pressure and/or position control. "Servo-hydraulics are the right fit for many challenging applications, but can be very expensive in certain cases", Debus says. "Their maintenance costs, their up-front costs and their complexity can be very high and have been excluded from many jobs that could use its benefits." Understanding these potential drawbacks to servo technology, Beckwood set out to develop hydraulics-based press technology which could compete. They succeeded.

Customers using this higher level hydraulic press technology may have access to several programmable cycle variables, depending on their specific needs. Some of these include: Force, approach speed, return speed, distance and dwell time all manipulated precisely through the systems HMI. "There's no parameter in the cycle that you cannot program", Debus says.

In addition, customers have the option of real-time trending that allows users to plot process variables, such as position or ram force, and observe how they interact. An operator can store those scenarios and download them via Ethernet either to a computer database or a printer. For industries with strict certification requirements, such as assembly or aerospace, those capabilities provide the kind of traceability a shop needs.

The hydraulic press systems can also be integrated with built-in go/no-go gauges that can be programmed to accept or reject parts based on certain user parameters that are needed to produce a part correctly. For instance, Debus says, if you know you need 6 tons of pressure to insert a rod into a bushing 3 in., the system will reject parts if the machine happened to use, say, 5 tons or 7 tons. "It's all programming", Debus says. "If it deviates from what you told it to do, it'll tell you." "It's really easy to tweak and change; you can change it on the fly" he says. "When you change parameters, the parameter curve will actually change dynamically to match what you programmed."

Beckwood offers made-to-order hydraulic systems in an unlimited variety. "Provided that you are in that traditional hydraulic press speed application", Debus says. "We're a custom press builder with an experienced engineering team, so we'll analyze each application and recommend the right solution for each job. We'll find the most efficient way of engineering your process and recommend that to you."

The result is a press that is highly applicable for assembly, R&D, and production, providing another solution to the many application needs in the industry.

How-To Choose the Right Benchtop Press for Your Assembly Application

Whether your process is assembly or light manufacturing, choosing the right benchtop press for your application is crucial. The options vary from simple hand-operated arbor presses, to more advanced hydraulic & electromechanical models that can be integrated with PLC control modules. A company in the market for a benchtop press must consider several factors before making an informed purchase. Identifying the right press capability up front can eliminate additional costs and start up delays for the future.

To see a variety of benchtop examples click here.

By answering the following questions, you can easily determine the right benchtop press for your application:

1. Is your application a high-volume application?
2. What type of power supply, if any, is available for this press system?
3. Does this application require a high-level of flexibility and/or control?
4. Does your application require a high-level of precision?

The answers to these questions will determine which type of benchtop press is ideal for your application.

Arbor Press

The most basic form of benchtop presses are hand-operated arbor presses. These machines are ideal for lower tonnage applications and have the benefit of not requiring an external power source. Because arbor presses generate their force through leverage and manpower, they tend to work best in low volume situations.

Air/Oil or Booster Press

A second type of benchtop press is the air/oil or booster press. These machines are ideal for low to mid-level production volume applications and have an approximate maximum force output of 10 tons.

Booster presses use an air over oil intensifier system to achieve the force comparable to traditional hydraulics, but are not equipped with a hydraulic power unit. Because a hydraulic power system is not required, most booster presses can operate using standard 110V, single phase power systems and a shop air connection.

Air/oil presses offer a more user friendly system than arbor presses, as well as the ability to incorporate safety equipment such as light curtain guarding and two hand anti-tie down controls. Even with its advantages, certain applications may not be well suited to the booster press option. The "power" part of the stroke on a booster press is usually limited to less than 1" for full force. Maintenance can be challenging on a booster press: if all of the air is not properly bled, the air inside the oil portion of the system will compress and limit force output. Additionally, most booster presses are limited to a two hand control module and a few simple relays for logic, making integration of ancillary equipment such as feed systems and die sensors difficult.

More information on Beckwood's air/oil presses can be found by visiting the DBP booster press page.

Straight Hydraulic Press

A third type of benchtop press is the straight hydraulic press. Because hydraulic presses utilize traditional hydraulic systems to generate the desired force, they have the ability to deliver full pressing force anywhere in the range of stroke and can vary the shut height to utilize multiple dies. These features make the hydraulic benchtop press suitable for a wide variety of applications.

The hydraulic press can be controlled in a variety of ways, ranging from basic relays to more sophisticated PLC or PC control systems. Operator interfaces can be added to press systems to facilitate the ease of job setup and recipe storage. PLC's also offer easy integration of ancillary equipment such as feed systems and in-die sensors.

Ram force and speed can be controlled in any direction with various levels of precision. In many cases, modern hydraulics allow for control rivaling Electromechanical presses.

More information on Beckwood's straight hydraulic benchtop presses can be found by visiting the DJ Series press page and selecting the DHS (Full welded steel frame with shank tool holder from 3-20 tons), DHS-R (Full welded steel frame with guide ram from 5-40+ tons), and DHC (Cast iron frame with shank tool holder from 3-5 tons) product links.

Electromechanical Press

The electromechanical press may be the ideal option for end users requiring an extremely high level of precision. Using advanced control systems, these presses feature precision closed loop position and force control for optimum performance. Often used in production as well as R&D or laboratory environments, electromechanical presses can be equipped to handle numerous motion profiles, each with the ability to infinitely adjust to the end user's requirements.

Production volume, precision requirements, and ancillary equipment integration are all critical factors to consider when shopping for a benchtop press. Whether it is a simple, hand operated arbor press, a mid-level production booster press, or a more technologically advanced hydraulic or electromechanical press, benchtop machines continue to be a mainstay in the assembly and light manufacturing processes, for a variety of industries and organizations.