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Posted:  November 15, 2021

When a Mechanical or Hydraulic press malfunctions or breaks down, production can grind to a halt. Here are some inspection plans that can be implemented to keep presses performing at optimal levels.

Manufacturing processes involve a wide variety of machines and equipment. Your manufacturing operation may use conveyors, palletizers, and injection moulding machines to name just a few. Depending on what is being produced, whether it’s rubber floor mats, aluminium beverage cans, or car door handles made of plastic, the process may include a press machine.

As the term suggests, presses create new products using pressure on raw materials. Most presses are variations of mechanical presses and hydraulic presses. Mechanical presses, like punch and stamping presses, rely on mechanical parts to function. The cylinders and pumps that operate in hydraulic presses move with the use of hydraulic oil.

These machines are a major investment for manufacturers. If the press is in good working order, it can last for decades. But that longevity requires some effort. Regular multi-point inspections and predictive maintenance are critical to extending the useful life of the machine.

Here are five essential inspection programs that can help to protect your mechanical and hydraulic press equipment.

1. Check the Overall Health and Well Being

On an annual or bi-annual basis, enlist the services of a press inspection technician to perform an overall health check of the press. The technician will look for any visible signs of increased wear and tear on the machine. Wear patterns on the gear train and slide gibs can tell a lot about how the press is performing and help to identify any pressure points or areas for concern.

During the press inspection, the millwright technician will make sure the moving parts have the necessary clearances. Misalignments can quickly turn into broken gear boxes and overheated motors.

2. Inspect the Structural Integrity

The structural integrity of the machine and its supports needs to be examined regularly. Presses perform the same movements thousands of times a day, often at high rates of speed. The constant motion can cause stress on the structure. The press inspection technician will complete a 360-degree assessment of the frame, checking to see that the retaining plates and bolts keeping all the moving parts in place are fastened securely.

They will conduct a closer examination, looking for any cracks and breaks in the main frame. If cracks are found, the press inspection technician will work with an engineer to prepare a weld procedure and repair the crack.

3. Inspect the Friction Locks

The clutch which starts the press in motion, and the brake that stops the press are critical to the safe, effective operation of the press. The millwright technician will inspect the metal pressure plates and fibrous discs that are found in the clutch. The system will be inspected to make sure that these components haven’t worn beyond their service life. If required, the technician will make adjustments to the clearances of the friction linings and pressure plates as wear occurs to keep everything within tolerance.

4. Check the Levels and Readings

There are some types of press inspections that ideally should be done weekly. These inspections can be less time consuming and easier to complete. Checking the lubrication and oil quality, fluid levels and adjusting the levels as necessary helps to prolong the life of the press. Pressure gauge readings are important to the proper operation of the press. Pressures such as counterbalance, hydraulic oil, and lubrication should be operating within set parameters. If these pressures are set incorrectly everything from the structural frame to the bearings can suffer.

5. Day-to-day Functionality Check

The main operators of the presses are usually the best ones to judge how the machine is functioning. They know the sounds it normally makes and are especially aware when it makes abnormal sounds. Any loud squeaks, creaks or bangs that aren’t part of the machine’s normal melody are usually cause for concern. Sometimes, this type of drive-by press inspection can lead to the emergency repair of damaged gears and pinion shafts.

When to Ask for Help from Millwright Technicians

There’s never a wrong time to ask for help. When the weekly inspections start to take up too much of the in-house maintenance team’s time, or when a breakdown occurs, Roberts Onsite’s equipment installation and inspection experts are only a phone call away.

Our press specialists have spent their entire multi-decade careers repairing, maintaining, and installing all types of presses across multiple industry sectors. This long history comes with the benefits of a long list of contacts that we can rely on. We’ve got well-established partnerships with industrial machining leaders who can work with us to complete the machining that is required to get you operational again. We look after all aspects of the repair – providing you with a turn-key solution. We install, repair, and service mechanical, hydraulic, and servo presses.

Our specialists have the full support and backing of our in-house Millwrighting & Rigging, Electrical and Mechanical teams. We have the skilled staff who can safely hoist the heavy equipment out of the way, disconnect and reconnect the existing electrical and mechanical systems as needed to manage the repair.

Contact us through our online form for more information or to schedule a press inspection at your plant and ensure your mechanical and hydraulic presses continue to function optimally.

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