With a large 6 by 7-ft. forming area, the new triple-action press doubles Weldmac’s overall capacity and tonnage capability. Due to the complex part geometries and frequent off-center loading, Beckwood engineered a gib-guided press not only to accommodate Weldmac’s existing part family, but also to support future growth with larger parts.

Press Programmability New for Weldmac

A PLC, absent on Weldmac’s existing triple-action presses, allows for a consistent and repeatable process.

“This press runs in semi-automatic mode and is programmable via the PLC,” says Caleb Dixon, Beckwood sales engineer. “By implementing a standardized controls system, operators simply can enter a job number, push the ‘start-cycle’ button and begin producing consistent, repeatable parts in a matter of minutes—vastly reducing the learning curve when compared to a manual press system. Upgrading to programmable controls is a great long-term solution for Weldmac because it reduces the company’s reliance on skilled operators and enhances part quality.”

“We look forward to going from manual to programmable presses,” Rugg adds. “At double the tonnage of our other triple-action presses and with a larger bed size, we’ve already increased capabilities by 50 percent. Ease of use due to programmability should push capabilities to a 60- or 70-percent increase. Operator capability enters into it, but the controls on this press will make jobs easier for a good manual-press operator.”

Triple-Action Technology a Perfect Fit

Similar to Weldmac’s existing triple-action presses, the new machine forms a variety of high-temperature alloys. Forming difficulties inherent in these materials make a triple-action press an excellent choice, according to Dixon, who explained the workings of this technology.

“The triple-action press consists of a punch or forming tool on the main draw ram, a clamp ram in the middle, and a knockout cylinder and/or bed cushion on the bottom,” he says. “The clamp ram contacts the blank and is engaged throughout the forming process to control material flow, reducing the risk of wrinkles or tears within the part. By giving operators the ability control material flow, they will achieve greater success in forming parts.”

The clamp ram also features individual tonnage control on each cylinder.

“If operators want one corner of a sheet to flow inward more rapidly, they can reduce tonnage on that cylinder, while increasing tonnage on the other side to provide more holding force,” says Dixon.

Unique to all Beckwood triple-action presses is the ability of the lower ram to serve either as a knockout for part ejection or as a cushion, depending on tooling requirements. “Proportional control valves regulate the bed cushion, enabling dynamic control through four different travel zones,” Dixon explains. “Through the press’ HMI and recipe settings, the operator can specify a desired bed cushion force at any position within each zone.” 

Handles Parts Large and Small

In addition to large-part capability, Beckwood designed the press with added versatility to handle smaller parts on jobs off-loaded from some of Weldmac’s older presses. The main ram offers capacity from 80 to 800 tons, with the clamp-ram bolster providing 10 to 300-ton capacity.

The new press will help Weldmac handle an uptick in exhaust components produced for commercial stationary turbine engines as well as its thriving aerospace-supply business. It also brings more to the table.

“We excel at building complex components and assemblies,” says Rugg, “and that work continues to increase. We’ve added customers that usually come to us with one problematic part or assembly, and that leads to more business. When we do a good job, a new customer looks to give us more things to do. New press capacity and capability helps us handle that.”  MF

Industry-Related Terms: Alloys, Bed, Blank, Corner, Draw, Form, Forming, Hydraulic Press, LASER, Forming Tool, Ram
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms

Technologies: Stamping Presses

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