Getting started with titanium hot forming is easier than you might think, especially if you’re equipped with expert knowledge. Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
- Can I convert a cold forming press into a hot forming press?
Yes, but a cold forming press that has been retrofitted to perform hot forming operations lacks controls sophistication, efficiency features, and safety equipment. In addition, structures and components on cold forming presses have not been engineered to withstand the extremely high temperatures inherent in the hot forming process. This increases maintenance costs and the likelihood of operator injury.
- How are the presses heated?
All Beckwood Hot Form / SPF presses are equipped with multi-zone electric cartridge heaters installed in gun-drilled passages. Embedded thermocouples provide temperature feedback and measure atmospheric temperature, and thermocouple receptacles can be used to measure and record tool temps. This configuration offers uniformity to within +/-10oF and allows the user to program temperature off-sets across the length and width of the platen.
- What is the recommended start-up & cool-down procedure?
To minimize thermal cycling of the press and its platens as much as possible, heating and cooling in a controlled and gradual manner is necessary. For heating, the general rule is 200°F per hour. For cooling, the standard accepted procedure is turning the heat off, closing the doors, and letting the insulated press naturally cool to an ambient temperature over a long period of time.
- How are tool changes performed?
Tool changes are very similar to other two-piece tool change processes; the main difference is the temperature of the incoming tool. Pre-heating the tool as much as possible will prevent thermal shock on the platens. If pre-heating a tool outside of the machine isn’t practical, then putting the tool in the press on steel tubing for a period of time to pre-heat it before attaching it to the platens is recommended.
- What level of control will we have over the forming process?
Beckwood’s comprehensive controls platform is designed specifically for high temperature forming. Recipe handling, cycle profile programming, and remote support are all standard. Data can be stored locally or uploaded to your network, and off-site programing allows engineering or process managers to download recipes directly into the machine for each specific part and production cycle.
- How strong is the part when it leaves the press?
Finished parts aren’t as soft as you might think. Typically the end user doesn’t need to worry about imprinting material handling features onto the part when removing it from the hot form press. Because the change in temperature between the machine and the ambient plant floor is so great, the part cools to a non-soft state almost immediately when the door opens.