A high speed power press, or called a mechanical power press, is a metalworking machine used primarily for cutting, punching, or metal forming using means of tools or dies to slides or rams. As a direct counterpart to hydraulic presses, mechanical power presses are the most commonly used across industry and often the main subject of research – primarily attributed to the fact that they have been the standard-bearer in the press family and require the utmost caution when operating one.
The core components for power transmission on a high speed power press include the flywheel, clutch, and crankshaft. A slide is attached to the crankshaft with connecting rods, and the crankshaft is equipped with the flywheel that is always spinning when the motor is running. As the flywheel rotates, a torque moment is generated on the crankshaft because of the inertial force of the flywheel. A clutch is what connects the crankshaft and the flywheel.
High speed power presses can come with two different types of clutches: the full-revolution and partial-revolution clutches. Full-revolution clutches cannot be disengaged when tripped, unless the crankshaft has already completed a full revolution and the press slide has completed a full stroke. Power presses coupled with full-revolution are typically of older models and pose a higher risk due to the cycling nature. Partial-revolution clutches, in contrast, can be disengaged at any point before the crankshaft completes a full revolution and the press slide completes a full stroke. Power presses with partial-revolution setup predominantly use air and a brake. The clutch engages and the brake disengages when air is trapped and compressed in chambers.
Despite serving the same purpose, both types of presses have some key differences. While the core structure of both machines may be similar, the difference lies in the cycling mechanism. To elaborate further, a high speed power press generates its power “mechanically”, meaning that the motor is connected to the crankshaft in a variety of ways to cycle the ram for one complete operation. This translates to superior speed in which high speed power presses can run than hydraulic presses. Another upside of high speed power presses is the consistency of tonnage at the bottom of the stroke. Maximum tonnage delivery can take place in a smaller window with a mechanical power press compared to a hydraulic press, also attributing to the speed in which the machine can run.
As mentioned previously, high speed power presses do require more robust safety measures despite all of the benefits over the hydraulic counterpart. Severe injuries and even death can occur if one is not cautious at any point of the operation and other maintenance tasks such as troubleshooting and die setting. As a matter of fact, machine operators are said to be the most prone to amputations – a major and the most likely injury that has always been the research focus for injury prevention in machinery operation. Statistics have also shown that amputations account for half of all workplace injuries pertaining to the operation of mechanical power presses. And this often stems from the unprotected operating regime, for instance, the lack of safety enforcement by the higher management in a workplace or inadequate staff training.
Following the above, choosing the right unit is just as important as safeguarding your machines and working environment. You should take several key factors into consideration when buying one of these machines. Firstly, knowing the product that you intend to press is very important. This pertains to product material, as well as the width, thickness, and form of the product.
Another purchasing factor is the speed of your unit. In the case of high speed power presses manufactured in Taiwan, the pressing speed can span from as low as 400 times per minute to 1000 times per minute. If your product dies requires a speed of 300 times per minute, you cannot go wrong with a 1000-per-minute unit. On top of this, you want to make sure your unit offers the required accuracy jointly with processing speed. Thanks to the advanced production technology in recent years, it is not too hard to find a high speed mechanical press that is precise, stable, and efficient.
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