Hydraulic presses by nature offer flexibility and are highly customizable. While our standard Ascent hydraulic presses are suitable for a wide range of applications, here at Beckwood we know that some processes require features beyond those offered by a standardized solution. In today’s article we will be going over the advantages of some of the unique features available in our custom hydraulic presses.
The Right Press for the Right Job
One of the key points to consider when engineering a customized hydraulic press is the type of frame structure required for the intended application. Three of the most common frame structures that we see in custom hydraulic presses are the C-Frame, 4-Post, and Gib Guided frames.
C-Frame Hydraulic Presses
Beckwood’s C-frame hydraulic presses are equipped with features that deliver the power you need in a format that provides complete access to the front and sides of the machine. Custom C-Frame presses are typically used in a vertical configuration, but horizontal “bulldozer” presses are available as well. The versatile beds of C-Frame presses allow for both small and long parts to be pressed.
4-Post Hydraulic Presses
A 4-post style frame is probably the most popular when compared to other types of hydraulic presses. This style of frame features side to side and front to rear access between the columns to the press bed and a capacity to handle operations up to 10,000 tons. The versatility of a custom 4-post hydraulic press makes it an excellent choice to be used in a wide range of industries and applications. Our custom 4 post hydraulic press frames are conveniently low maintenance thanks the use of self lubricated bushings and high-quality guideposts. At Beckwood, our guideposts are chrome plated for added resistance to oxidation and guaranteed longevity.
Gib Guided Press Frames
Gib guide press frames offer added rigidity and superior performance during off-center-loaded applications. While gib styled frames are typically higher cost than the alternative four post frames designs, these costs can be offset long term by reducing die maintenance and repair costs over time. While four post presses off simplicity in design and are cost effective solutions for more evenly loaded applications. However, in cases involving extreme off-center-loading, customers can consider using a unique feature developed by our in-house hydraulic press engineers, called Active Leveling Control (ALC).
ALC works by synchronizing press actuators through the use of linear transducers, proportional control valves, and a high-speed motion controller. These components work together to create closed loop feedback which continuously updates in less than a millisecond. This advanced leveling feature is available to both 2 and 4 post hydraulic presses, both of which can be custom designed by us for even your most industry-specific applications.
The main purpose of ALC is to uphold the parallelism between the bed and the ram in the most challenging applications. This helps prevent bed to ram skewing by actively working to evenly distribute pressure across the bed, ALC ensures balanced force which results in better part quality and reduced wear on the tooling and the press itself. Implementation of ALC results in lower tooling costs and machine maintenance costs overall.
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Popular Features for Specialty Custom Hydraulic Press Applications
For deep-draw applications, a dynamic bed cushion is available. Unlike static bed cushions used by our competitors that apply a constant resistive force throughout the draw process, a dynamic bed cushion allows for precise control over the tonnage applied by the bed during the deep-drawing process. This dynamic control allows operators to program the tonnage as needed, increasing or decreasing cushion force during the press cycle in order to minimize imperfections like wrinkles and tears in the part as it is being formed. When done correctly, those flaws can even be totally eliminated. We also offer not only double, but also triple-action draw presses which utilize the top ram, a clamp ram, and a dynamic bed or knockout cylinder for ultra-precise controls even when drawing large parts or working with traditional tooling.
For compression molding applications, our custom 4 post hydraulic presses can be equipped with heated platens. These platens can be heated electrically or via hot oil, both with benefits and operational considerations that can be discussed with a sales engineer to ensure the best choice for the application. These same systems can be equipped with cooling capabilities for applications that might require heat for forming and then rapid cooling for thermos-setting the formed part into shape.
For higher temperature applications or for traditional ‘hot forming’ operations, Beckwood can provide systems with heat capabilities reaching 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Hot forming allows for complex shapes to be formed in alloys that are difficult to form at ambient temperatures and enables forming at a relatively low tonnage. For these higher heat applications, the platens can be constructed from special alloys just for high-heat applications, including ceramics, stainless metals, and even exotic alloys. The platen material choice is determined heavily by the intended application of the hydraulic press.
For those manufacturers that require frequent tool changes, a quick die change system is another feature which is commonly integrated into our custom hydraulic presses. It has the most degrees of customization by far. The goal of a quick die change system is to maximize press runtime, and the means of achieving that goal will greatly differ depending on the application of the hydraulic press. While the components employed will be unique for every single case, the benefits are universal. Integrating one of these systems into your facility’s operations will increase productivity by reducing tooling change times and quickly pay for itself through increased production time.
To learn more about the types of custom hydraulic press frames that we offer, contact us today! With your input, our Solutions Team can create a press that exactly suits your needs.
Although we’ve covered many features available in our custom hydraulic presses, there are still even more where those came from. If you’re ready to start a discussion with our Solutions Team, don’t wait. Contact us today and let our team design your next success story.