What Is Power Press Automation?

Posted on Sep 6, 2021

Power Press Automation

Power press automation refers to the automated pressing operation. With the introduction of automation systems, the pressing operation has become automated and the efficiency of production is highly improved.

What is Power Press Automation?

Power press automation refers to the automated pressing operation. The press operation is a cold working process for mass-production applications. Since it is a cold working process, the materials of the workpieces are usually ductile materials such as mild steel. The press machine exerts a force against the workpiece with dies (or molds) to form the desired configuration.

In a conventional pressing operation, almost every step in the process is manually performed by the operators. With the invention of automated systems, the pressing process has become self-controlled by the computer, and hence the productivity is improved. The manual press is replaced by a hydraulic power press and the feeding of the workpiece is done by a CNC or NC feeder.

Construction of a Press Machine

Power presses can perform ramming, hammering, stamping, and more. To conduct the operation, there is a bolster or a bed and a ram on the machine. The dies or molds are divided into two halves: one on the bed and the other on the ram. When a workpiece is secured on the bottom half of the die on the bed, the ram with the upper half of the die descends vertically from the top of the press machine and engages the bed. Once the bed and the ram are fully in contact with each other, the two halves of dies engage into one and reshape the workpiece.

Pressing Process Explained

In most cases, the motion of the upper arm only goes upwards and downwards vertically. The upper ram is one of the moving parts of the machine and the bolster where the workpieces are fed is usually fixed. However, there can be swing-out platens in the power press automation systems to make the feed of the workpiece or the replacement of dies easier.

In manual press operations, the press is achieved by the mechanic pulling a crank to drive the screw in order for the ram to move. Yet, in a pressing operation, the movement of the ram is controlled by the power system. The power system on the power press machine can be hydraulic, electric, or other forms of power supply mechanism. The hydraulic press can be very powerful while the electric power system tends to respond faster to the automated control unit.

Quick Die Change System, Forwell Machinery

Regardless of the power system, a press machine is used primarily for operations such as metal sheet bending, stamping, piercing, metal workpiece forging, or metal extrusion. The metal sheet bending is the operation that bends the metal sheet to certain angles. In such an operation, there is a tooth-like die on the ram and a rail-like slot on the bed. For metal workpiece forging or metal extrusion, there will be upper mold and bottom mold on the press machine to shape the mild steel. With a stamping process, patterns can be left on the metal workpieces.


In a conventional press operation, the feeding of workpieces, the replacement of dies, and the movement of the ram are manual. The drawback of a manual operation is that the process takes too much time to complete. The automation system in the press operation is aimed at reducing the time it takes to complete the operation and so is the power press system. By applying the automation system, press operations can be conducted more efficiently and effectively.

Easier Feeding

To begin with, the feeding of the workpieces in the operation is entirely different when it comes to power press automation. The components are not fed in a straight feeding line; rather, the feeding becomes more of a circular loop in an automated pressing operation. The circular loop refers to the cradle wound format or the reel format. The cradle wound format is the feeding for thicker sheets and the reel format feeding is for thinner sheets.

CNC Shear Infeed System, Sunrise Machinery

Fewer Errors

Before being processed in the press machine, the metal sheets will be straightened and flattened through rollers. The rollers are powered as well as a part of the power press automation system. After the sheets are straightened, they will then be fed into the press to process. The automation system is important during the process because it monitors the process and detects possible errors or mistakes. When an error takes place, the system halts the operation temporarily until the situation is lifted.

Reduced Maintenance

The basic requirements of the automated straightener are accuracy, sturdiness, rigidness, and ease of maintenance. Since the machine is used to straighten the metal sheets, it has to withstand the tension and resistance that occurs when processing the sheets. Also, in mass-production operations, the performance of the straightener has to stay stable without acquiring too much maintenance.

Wider Variety

As the key component in a metalworking procedure, the press machine has to be powerful enough to carry out the metalworking operations such as punching, stamping, bending, or spotting. The two most common power types are mechanical and hydraulic. Among these two, mechanical press machines are more frequently used in industrial applications. Though mechanical presses seem to be more accepted, the choice of the power system is determined mainly by the metalworking operations to be involved. Both these types have their advantages and disadvantages, which make them applicable for different purposes.

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