Quick Facts
Type of PressHydraulic Compression Molding Press
IndustryR&D for Automotive and Aerospace
Special FeaturesMulti-Zone Heated Platens
Dwell Capability
PressLink Module
ChallengeDesign a press versatile enough for R&D.
SolutionThe 36”x36” working area and compact, flush-floor design are ideal for a laboratory environment while the ability to heat and cool the platens allows for multiple experiments to be performed in one day. The Data Acquisition function allows researchers to collect time, temperature, pressure and position readings at a rate of 1 per second.
ChallengePrecisely control the ram’s pressure and position throughout the cycle.
SolutionLinear and pressure transducers provide closed loop positional and pressure feedback to a Delta High Speed Motion Controller. The system can control ram precision to within ±0.002” of the set point when in “Position Mode” and within ±2% of full system pressure in “Pressure Mode”.
ResultsWith their Beckwood Press, ORNL has been able to test the strength and flexibility of newly developed composite materials, which will ultimately aid in vehicle lightweighting.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), a world leader in the research and development of economical green energy solutions, needed a hydraulic press for compression molding various composite materials. The R&D efforts made on the press will ultimately contribute to automotive and aerospace industry lightweighting efforts, intended to produce higher performance products with improved fuel efficiency.

Knowing the press was going to be used for R&D, Beckwood understood it needed to be flexible and have the ability to collect data for a wide range of variables. Additionally, precise control and process repeatability were critical for accurate experimentation.

To accommodate Oak Ridge’s stringent criteria, Beckwood proposed a custom 100-ton compression molding press with a 36”x36” work area and multi-zone heated platens.

Beckwood’s Multi-Zone heat control technology ensures uniform heating (to ±5°F) across the entire platen surface while gun-drilled channels in the platens create a serpentine flow for rapid platen cooling.

The ram platen’s pressure and position are precisely controlled via a Delta High Speed Motion Controller and measured using linear and pressure transducers. With the Data Acquisition function, the press can collect and export time, temperature, pressure and position readings at a rate of 1 per second.

“It is our goal to make this lab the intersection of our 3D printing capabilities and composites processing,” said Jesse Smith, Manager of Industrial Partnerships at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “The new Composites Lab is a showplace for the industry, and Beckwood’s press is an important tool for us.”

“Manufacturing organizations rely on our 40+ years of experience to provide advanced manufacturing solutions that increase their capability and competitiveness in the marketplace,” said Beckwood President, Jeffrey Debus. “This particular Department of Energy opportunity, and the long-term impact their R&D efforts could have on the automotive and aerospace industries, is something that gives our group of engineers and manufacturing professionals great pride.”

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