Mechanical Insights: What Is a Machine Press Used for, and How Does It Work?

machine press

If you’ve ever toured a factory, you’ve probably wondered about how the big machines work and what they do. There are many types of press machines, which use intense pressure to manipulate metal.

When you learn about the purposes and power behind a machine press, you’ll be able to determine which you need for your business. You’ll also be much more impressed next time you see them at work.

Let’s dive into the world of machine presses!

Mechanical and Hydraulic

There are two main types of machine presses, hydraulic and mechanical. Hydraulic presses use water to achieve the pressing power behind their cylinders and pumps. Mechanical presses use machine parts instead to achieve the same thing.

A straight side mechanical press machine comes in all different shapes and sizes, from the 150-ton press to the 1200-ton press. Each one has a different purpose and power.

Depending on what you need to do to the metal pieces you’re manufacturing, you need different types of machines. Stamping presses stamp materials, while power presses bend and shape metal. Punch presses punch out metal shapes with a die that are then formed into useable parts.

While hydraulic presses can increase or decrease the fluid to achieve huge amounts of pressure, mechanical presses often have faster turnaround time. They also have more variety and options than hydraulic presses do.

Machine Press History

An Englishman named Joseph Bramah invented the hydraulic press in the 1700s. He used principles that French physicist Blaise Pascal formulated based on his experiments a century earlier. Later discoveries and experiments allowed machines to work at higher pressures to work with iron.

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Mechanical presses have their origin story at the Paris Mint in the 1800s, where they were making coins. A century later, they were able to modify the machines to use them for other products, like silverware, armor, and other items that required metal folding.

CNC Controls

Mechanical machine presses are usually controlled by CNC, which stands for computer numerical controls. It means that someone inputs numeric codes to control the machine and get the appropriate results.

First, a programmer works with an engineer who creates a CAD (computer-aided design) drawing of the finished product. Then the programmer uses CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) software to help them enter the right codes to build the design using the press machines.

Often there are several steps in the manufacturing process. Sometimes these can all be accomplished on one machine, but other times the parts have to go through multiple machines to get the finished product.

The Power of Machines

As humanity continues to make discoveries, machine presses continue to improve.

Knowing how they work takes away some of the mystery behind them. Yet, it also increases your awe for the power of the machine press and all that it accomplishes with just a few moving parts.

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