Revitalizing a Used Mechanical Press, Part 2: Is Your Ram on the Level?
Typically, the finger pointing starts. The pressroom blames the toolroom for an unstable die. The toolroom blames pressroom personnel for lacking sufficient die-setup expertise. Both blame the forklift driver for damaging the die during transit from press to shelf, and all three blame the maintenance department for not being more watchful over the press.
The game continues, as all four then blame the die designer for designing a poor die, and all five then find blame elsewhere.
Let’s consider one possible cause of the inconsistent production quality: An operator leaves a gauge block in the die and turns the press over, closing the die on top of the block. Miraculously, the die survives, but in short order, solving the cause of poor part quality begins.
I know of no die designer who has, during his design process, assumed that the upper die will be left-to-right cocked 0.012 in. Yet I have seen rams out of parallel as much as 0.020 in. Just what kind of die wear can one expect from such a disaster, much less part-quality tolerances? Bushings, pilots, punches, cams, etc. all are forced to now work out of the ideal parallel and perpendicular requirements of the die designer.
An even greater tragedy: Some shops will run a new die right from the start within a press whose ram is seriously out of parallel with the bolster, of particular concern with setting the die in
One device for doing so that I’ve become familiar with is the Parallelism Verification Device (PVD) from Upton & Sullivan Co., Oakville, Ontario, Canada. It allows an operator to accurately identify alignment problems without removing the die from the press. It also can check the parallelism of the ram without a die being present. It’s not a measuring device; rather, it is an indicator of positions on the ram relative to one another and to the bolster. This is exactly what the doctor ordered. The PVD comes in four models, covering a wide range of ram-to-bolster and die-set gaps. Learn more at www.upton-sullivan.com. MF
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