Equipment Selection |

Velocity – The Need For Speed

The need for speed can be especially critical when a fabricator needs to get in and out of material quickly without damaging or marking it. Faster press speeds can also eliminate the need for secondary operations such as buffing, grinding and polishing. Not all presses however, are created equal when it comes to speed.

The pneumatic press can provide speeds that are faster than that of standard hydraulic and mechanical presses. How fast the air press can move in and out of material depends in part on how thick the part and/or material is. Take a roll former application where 3/16-inch-thick material doesn’t stop for hole punching and cut off processes. Moving at 74 feet per minute [14.8 inches per second], the Airam air press can stamp a 7/16-inch hole at 5-inch spacing in just 23 milliseconds. Customers tell us they are also running jobs where the punch or blade is in and out of the material in less than 50 milliseconds. For the same processes, a hydraulic press would take 1.5 to 2 seconds with a mechanical machine hitting 80 to 700 milliseconds.

The secret behind the pneumatic machine’s ability to outpace its larger cousins is actually fairly simple. Air pressure causes the ram to cycle down producing full tonnage through the entire stroke. A mechanical press on the other hand, requires energy from its rotating flywheel to produce tonnage and complete each cycle. It needs an electric motor to replenish the energy stored in the flywheel. Oil pressure created by an electric motor and hydraulic pump is needed before a hydraulic press can generate tonnage.

While all presses can process materials, there are other considerations. The part may require tonnage and hold at the bottom of the stroke. A mechanical press can’t deliver the necessary tonnage if the stroke stops on bottom due to lack of energy from the flywheel. Hydraulic is the slowest option and since it’s driven by oil pressure wouldn’t be an appropriate choice for parts with cosmetic specifications. If a job requires full tonnage through the stroke, a mechanical press is unable to support parts production since most machines are rated at 1/8 inch off bottom at full tonnage, then drop off quickly as the ram cycles. A hydraulic press can produce large tonnage through a long stroke. The air press produces full tonnage through the complete stroke without the need for hydraulic oil pressure and the potential for leakage.

In addition to general stamping, the Airam press can handle paper and plastic applications. The air press can also be used on pre-painted or finished surfaces.  Why choose from among capabilities when you can get the whole package with Airam at half the cost?