Transfer presses, more commonly known as the heat presses or heat transfer presses, are mainly used for sheet metal forming in a high-volume, labor-free and highly automated production environment. Multiple dies are often used during the heat pressing operation as a complete system.
Every die in the system is responsible for shaping the part until the intended final shape of the metal work piece is complete. A transfer stamping process is unique in a way that a single heat press is capable of operating a variety of instruments.
By automation that is either built into the heat press or on the dies, the movement of the sheet metal work piece from one operation to the next is performed. The entire system of tools would close as the heat press closes each time, each performing the designed task to the sheet metal. Upon opening the built-in transfer mechanism, the work piece in the series transfers from one operation to the next.
In the early days, the same operation could only be accomplished by using individual presses, and the work pieces would have to be moved from die to die by hand. As automation has improved over the year, manual load was replaced by automated systems and robots, hence the existence of the modern day heat press.
The heat press can typically be incorporated with two types of transfer mechanisms: tri-axis heat transfer and cross-bar heat transfer:
● Tri-axis Heat Transfer: The motion of the tri-axis heat transfer mechanism characterized by the movement of three axes produced by the part manipulators with every stroke. The automation that will likely keep the work piece in place will lower the work piece to the tool on each down stroke, and retract so that the part remains on the tool. The automation mechanism in the withdrawn state at the bottom of the stroke will cycle one pitch backward to position itself to align with the next work piece.
As the heat press cycles upward the part manipulators will index inward to pick up the next work piece, continuing upward following the heat press ram, then indexing forward to next station. As the heat press reaches the top of its stroke, the process repeats. The three axes of motion are up-down, in-out, and forward-back.
● Cross-bar Heat Transfer: As for the cross bar heat transfer mechanism of the heat press, the in-out motion axes are limited by an automation bar spanning the space of the die. This cross bar will pick the work piece up from above and release the part, dropping it into position at the next station, usually installed with suction cups.
The cross bar transfer mechanism must "dwell" between adjacent tools between each press stroke, with only two axes of motion and automation spanning the die space.
Heat presses have many benefits as they are a great option for stamping operation which incur little tooling costs. Another advantage of a heat press is that it can either be a multiple dies arrangement for sequential stations or a single die by itself.
Moreover, a heat press is versatile as it can be used in situations where part has to be removed from the metal strip to enable operations to be carried out in a free state. The operation of the transfer press starts with a metal strip fed into the first station where the blank for the part is cut from the strip. The blank is then mechanically transferred by transfer fingers that bring the item to completion through different forming stations. All components are moved at the same time to the next station.
Heat presses are also very versatile in a sense that many are characterized by the pierced holes, cut-outs, chamfering, ribs, knurls, and threading, all of which allow primary press operation to be designed and eliminating the extra expenses that may have been involved in the secondary operations.
Following the above, with the great many benefits of a heat press comes a wide myriad of applications. Some of the major circumstances in which you will see a heat press being used include:
● Heat pressing operations that involve large parts needed to be transferred among several presses
● Heat pressing operations that involve shells
● Heat pressing operations that involve tube applications.
● Heat pressing operations that involve frames and structural components.
Furthermore, in terms of the applicable industries for heat press, they include automotive, lawn and garden, locomotive, medical, electronic, heavy trucking, agriculture and recreational vehicles.
The materials that are commonly used for the heat pressing operations also include stainless steel, aluminum, titanium, copper, brass, noble metals, ferrous and non-ferrous.
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