A hydraulic press is a machine that performs stamping, clinching, cutting, punching, etc. by exerting a compression force against an object. Such a force is generated according to Pascal’s Principle. The construction of hydraulic presses is simple but effective. Therefore, there are machine press types not only for heavy-duty industrial uses but also for small-scale applications.
In the following sections, we will talk about how a hydraulic press works in detail. We will also present the basic structure and components of a hydraulic press. What are the applications? What are the benefits and limits when using one? You will find the answer to these questions in this article. Let's get started!
The working principle of a hydraulic press is based on Pascal's Law. It states that, when a force is exerted against a closed environment, the pressure inside it will spread equally in all directions. This principle is applied to intensify a small force into a greater one.
The basic components of a hydraulic system include cylinders, pipes, and pistons. It has a small cylinder and a large cylinder connected with a pipe. The small cylinder is called the slave cylinder (plunger) and the large one is the master cylinder (ram). A hydraulic fluid (usually oil) serves as the medium to transmit the force inside the system.
When pressure is applied to the slave cylinder, the piston forces the hydraulic fluid to flow through the pipe into the master cylinder. The fluid will then force the ram out. This is the output force of a hydraulic press. The larger the master cylinder, the greater the output force.
The design and structure of a hydraulic press are simple. The cylinders and pipes are installed onto a double-column frame. A press plate connected to the piston is the component that performs the actual pressing motion. As the piston is forced outward, the press plate performs pressing operations on the workpieces.
On a hydraulic press, the piston faces to the ground so that the press plate presses downward. The workpieces are held in place on a bed during operation. You can see the basic structure and downward press motion of a heavy-duty hydraulic press in the video clip below.
Depending on the design of the press plate and the bed, there are various applications of a hydraulic press machine.
The three primary applications of hydraulic presses are cutting, piercing, and forming. There are more applications derived from these three fundamental functions, such as stamping, bending, clinching, drilling, drawing, slicing, and more. For each application, the press plate and bed design are different but the structure stays the same. Let us take a closer look at the three primary applications of a hydraulic press.
Fig. 3 Hydraulic Press Ram, Bed, and Press Plate
This is the most common use of a hydraulic press. Metal forming (cold forming) applications using a press machine include bending, curving, molding, drawing, and casting, etc. A compression force is applied to change the form of plastic and metal workpieces. For some forming processes, dies, molds and accessories such as mandrels are required.
Hydraulic presses for cutting applications have the press plate equipped with blades or cutting dies. They are used for sheet metals, metal tubes, or thin metallic workpieces. In this case, the hydraulic press usually serves as the last station in a production line.
In this application, sharp drill bits are mounted onto the ram of a press and a clamping system is installed on the bed. As the ram descends downward to the bed, the drill bits pierce through the surface of the workpiece and create holes in it. They are mainly suitable for processing softer materials such as aluminum and brass.
Hydraulic presses come with multiple advantages. The simple working principle and designs allow a compact machine size. They also provide a wide range of applications. Compared with mechanical presses, they are quiet and safe in operation due to their built-in overload protection. The ease of maintenance is another advantage, which saves a considerable amount of operating cost.
On the other hand, the use of hydraulic presses comes with several limitations. Because there is a potential for leakage with hydraulic press, it is not suitable for environments where contamination must be avoided. In addition, it often gets messy when handling hydraulic oils. The other drawback is the low operational speed. Hydraulic presses work slower than their mechanical counterparts.
So let us summarize the strengths and weaknesses of a hydraulic press:
Hydraulic Press Advantages
Hydraulic Press Disadvantages
Heavy-duty hydraulic presses generate compression forces up to hundreds or even thousands of tons. They are powerful enough to process high-strength materials. As a result, heavy-duty press machines are a necessary component in industries such as automotive, aviation, military, etc. to manufacture robust heavy-duty components.
Hsin Lien Sheng Machinery is a well-renowned hydraulic press supplier based in Taiwan. They are specialized in manufacturing press machines for die-spotting and die try-out tasks. They offer a wide range of press machine types. You can find heavy-duty hydraulic presses for precision parts and automobile parts manufacturing. You can also find high-speed forging presses for molding and drawing.
Though hydraulic presses are slower than mechanical presses, their versatility makes them very competitive among all kinds of industries. They work well with other machines, are cost-effective, and can be easily modified for custom applications. If you are looking for a versatile yet affordable pressing machine, a hydraulic press is definitely an option to consider.
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