Quick Facts
Type of PressGib-Guided Progressive Die Forming Press
Tonnage:450 Tons
IndustryConsumer Products
Special Features8-Point Gib Guidance System
ANSI B11.2 Compliant
Quick Die Change System
ChallengeIncrease production with a reliable, American-made machine.
SolutionManufactured in St. Louis, Missouri, the 450-ton Beckwood press features a heavy-duty box beam design for superior rigidity and a modular tie rod assembly to ensure optimum performance. The press structure is engineered for Infinite Life using Finite Element Analysis software, and built-in component redundancies maximize up-time.
ChallengeReduce the amount of time required for die changeover.
SolutionThis machine includes a customized Quick Die Change System with magnetic platens, die rollers, and lift-off die consoles to facilitate quick and easy tool changes.
ChallengeImprove workplace safety.
SolutionThe press conforms to ANSI B11.2 Safety Standards and includes two sets of Allen Bradley light curtains, bolt-on expanded metal guards with interlocks, and safety die blocks for maintenance and tool change purposes.
ResultsEmpire Level was able to transfer production of their rafter squares to the Beckwood press, extending the life of their existing 1000-ton press and expanding their product line.

For over 90 years, Empire Level has been the leading manufacturer of accurate and durable measuring tools. With products such as the Monovial, the Torpedo Level, the Magnetic Level, and the TrueBlue® line of vials and levels, Empire continues to manufacture innovative solutions that improve productivity. In 2014, Milwaukee Tool acquired Empire and embarked on a $16-million investment in its workforce and equipment.

Hydraulic Press Takes Forming to a New Level

Empire prides itself on manufacturing in the USA, and Milwaukee Tool bought the company precisely to manufacture products in America while continuing to compete globally. Empire’s existing, machinery was outdated and not American made. Not an option for the company’s future.

“This new press grew out of our commitment to people and equipment,” said Steve Lallensack, Director of Operations at Empire Level. “We went after reliability with this project. At the time of the acquisition, equipment reliability was this plant’s biggest production issue. The rafter squares are an important product line for us, and we needed to gain equipment reliability to ensure the success of that line. Beckwood was able to design, engineer, and build a custom press for our specifications from their factory in St. Louis, MO,” said Lallensack. “That was a deciding factor for us.”

The resulting 450-ton gib-guided press features a 60” x 100” bed as well as magnetic platens, die rollers, and lift-off die consoles to facilitate quick die changes. The press also integrates with Empire existing die-transfer system to accurately form the precision rafter squares using progressive dies.

In production since January 2017, the new hydraulic press primarily forms 1/8”-thick extruded aluminum into multiple versions of rafter squares. Weekly volumes range from 3,000 to 25,000 depending on the model.

Besides eliminating the mechanical and maintenance issues caused by the older equipment, the Beckwood press offers production flexibility and process repeatability.

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