When we think about how manufacturing makes the items we need, usually we see the machine on video. Wax gets melted and molded into crayons, or nickels receive the embossing that turns them into coins. We take for granted that the machines just whirr and go, pressing shapes into raw material and moving them along conveyor belts.
Manufacturers and employees who use these machines know more than the common layperson does. They can identify the processes that make the objects we need for everyday life. Even so, knowing how the machines function can increase our understanding of industrialization, and what people need to know. The more we learn about complicated machines, the better we can use them and assist in repairing them.
Pneumatic presses are one such machine that people can understand better. They are highly powerful, fast, and sustainable in the long run. We use them in industrial settings, but perhaps in the future entrepreneurs can use them for other purposes.
What Is A Pneumatic Press?
Pneumatic presses are machines that apply heavy-duty force towards designated objects. Compressed air powers this force, by increasing or decreasing pressure within a closed area. They’re usually used in the manufacturing industry. Unlike with other inventions like printing presses, which used mechanical force to press ink impressions onto paper, pneumatic presses run on this pressure.
Many industries use pneumatic presses; automotive show partiality towards toggle presses, as one example. Another would be custom steel stamping, which can reshape dozens of units within a reasonable amount of time.
Why Use Pneumatics?
Pneumatics is the use of compressed air to generate work in a device or process. They are often implemented when mechanical energy is not sufficient. By “mechanical” we refer to human labor.
One benefit is that employees have to work less. Humans are strong, but our bodies chafe under some of the expectations that the Industrial Revolution placed upon us. Operators, as a result, suffer less fatigue and can increase their productivity in the workplace. You’ll have less complaining employees, and your back will thank you.
In addition, pneumatics is cheap, and the machines run for a long time. Since they run on air pressure, and the pressure doesn’t wear as much on machine parts, you can make pneumatic presses part of an efficient system.
When you are running a tight ship and need to keep your expenses down, you’ll want to use a machine that runs inexpensively at a fixed cost. Many pneumatic parts are also inexpensive relative to mechanical or electric parts, so even repairs won’t take a chunk out of emergency savings. Your accountants will be happy when they can balance all of your budgets.
You also reduce workplace hazards when manufacturing items. Some pneumatic presses use electric currents to kickstart their valves, but not all do. If the machine springs a leak, then you merely need to find the leak and repair it.
Since the gases used are safe, you won’t have to worry about the potential workplace hazard of dangerous substances exposed to you or your employees. Air also doesn’t combust, so using pneumatics reduces the chance of potential workplace fires.
Compressed air also a clean, renewable resource. Rather than having to buy fossil fuel, pneumatic machines usually have an air compressor that absorbs the air around us and reduces the space between the molecules to build pressure. Other options for the gases used include nitrogen, but using such a periodic element doesn’t make or break a process. You mainly need to check that the air quality is clean and even implement filters, but that’s no different from adding a filter to an air conditioner unit.
Pneumatic vs. Hydraulic System
How does a pneumatic system differ from that of hydraulic? For one, the substances used also differentiate the two systems. As we discussed, pneumatics uses the air in a designated work area, which is captured, compressed and used as a power source.
Hydraulics work on similar principles but transport liquids instead of gases. These liquids involve oil usually, which needs to be checked. The overall flow is more consistent because liquid volume tends to stay the same, as opposed to gases.
For another, pneumatics is less hazardous than working with material that can risk an electric fire or flooding. Electric fires are one such danger that can happen when working with purely electric or hydraulic forces. Oil combusts easily if it encounters sparks.
Some presses combine pneumatic and hydraulic forces. In the case of a hydro-pneumatic press, it uses an oil chamber to generate the air-pressure needed. This allows for more consistent flow and force, albeit with the risk of leakage.
How Does The Press Work?
As implied by the name, a press applies downward force to an object that is either fixed in place or moving along an assembly line. It can be to flatten raw material, to impress items, or reshape it in a designated format.
How do we encourage the machine to lower itself at a fixed speed and apply pressure? Simple; we use valves and compressed airflow. Valves control the amount of air, and when it moves throughout the machine.
A pneumatics system works by increasing and decreasing air flows using valves with ports. Ports allow for air to simultaneously flow in different directions. When the machine turns on, these valves open; the compressed air turns cylinders and tubes within the machine, which in turn power up the engine. When the function is finished, the machine reduces the pressure by releasing the gas and returning to the neutral position.
Learn More From SMC Pneumatics
SMC Pneumatics stores all the parts you need to repair your machines, and we know everything about the processes involved. Our experts are always available to recommend the models you need. Or, if you are curious about where to get started with pneumatic presses and how to use them in your business, we can also help with that.
Contact us today to learn more about the parts that can power up your pneumatic presses. No question is too small, especially when the components are much smaller.