A mechanical press is one of the most common types of metalworking presses available today. With a CAGR or compound annual growth rate of 3.27%, their market value should reach $9500 million by 2024.
How can a business keep these useful machines running as long as possible? The answer is proper maintenance.
The average business spends 19 hours per week on maintenance, 78% of which is preventative. Rather than waiting until a part or machine breaks, preventative maintenance works to stop issues before they occur.
Our guide to mechanical press preventative maintenance will help you understand how mechanical presses work, how to maintain them, and where to find one.
What Is a Mechanical Press?
A mechanical press uses motors to apply pressure. They’re fast, consistent, and customizable, making them a great option for a variety of jobs.
There are several types of mechanical press to choose from. Examples include punch presses, stamping presses, and press brakes.
A metal press, of which steel presses are just one example, is a common sight in most machine shops. Metals like copper, steel, and aluminum are used in manufacturing all types of products.
Mechanical presses have several uses, with die stamping being the most common application. Specialized types exist as well, such as forging presses that heat up the workspace to work with harder alloys.
Check here for more on different types of presses.
What Is Preventative Maintenance?
Preventative maintenance is any type of maintenance meant to increase the life of a business asset. This includes upkeep methods like cleaning, repairing, and replacing parts.
Reactive maintenance only occurs when a part or machine has already broken down. Preventative maintenance works to prevent issues before they happen with regular maintenance tasks.
A preventative maintenance program is a schedule for when and how preventative maintenance tasks get done. Setting one up is a three-step process.
First, choose some crucial business assets like your mechanical presses. Next, create a preventative maintenance checklist that tells you which tasks to complete. Finally, schedule these tasks with a CMS or content management system.
Types of Preventative Maintenance
There are several types of preventative maintenance. They include calendar-based, usage-based, predictive, and prescriptive.
Calendar-based maintenance uses work orders entered into a CMS. This allows businesses to schedule preventative maintenance tasks ahead of time. For example, the CMS may alert workers to clean the mechanical press every week.
Usage-based maintenance is similar but involves different types of data. It involves logging meter readings into the CMS. If the meter reaches a specific unit, the CMS will trigger a work order for maintenance.
Predictive and prescriptive maintenance are advanced forms of preventative maintenance. They both involve logging work order data in a CMS. Maintenance managers can use this data to predict when a system like a mechanical press will need maintenance.
The difference between predictive and prescriptive maintenance is in the technology involved. Both use a CMS to schedule tasks. A prescriptive maintenance system adds machine learning software to automate the process.
Benefits of Preventative Maintenance
Preventative maintenance can be time-intensive, and it may seem counterintuitive to fix what isn’t yet broken. There are several benefits to the process that make it worth adding to your business strategy.
The primary benefit is increased asset life. Performing preventative maintenance keeps a mechanical press and all its parts running well for as long as possible.
Preventative maintenance also reduces repair costs. A small, cheap maintenance task can prevent a large, expensive one later. For example, regular belt cleaning on a mechanical press can keep you from having to pay for a new one when it breaks.
Poorly maintained equipment is a safety hazard for all workers. It also may not meet the regulations required by government bodies like OSHA. Regular preventative maintenance keeps your workers safe and your business compliant with safety laws.
How to Perform Preventative Maintenance
The four main steps in preventative maintenance are inspection, detection, correction, and prevention.
Perform regular inspections of the facility as a whole and all of its equipment. This speeds up the second part of the process, early detection of any issues. These issues can then be corrected and/or prevented with proper maintenance.
There are certain areas to check in a mechanical press when doing preventative maintenance.
A mechanical press can’t run efficiently without the proper level of high-quality oil. Cleaning the radiator and maintaining a consistent temperature of around 120 degrees prevents oil issues.
A mechanical press that can’t reach maximum pressure in a half a second to a second won’t be able to do its job. Issues with valves, motors, and RPM can cause pressure problems as well. Each component must be kept clean and in working order.
Mechanical presses also present the possibility of electrical issues. Maintenance workers should replace any broken wires, tighten any loose ones, and check all connections.
Maintenance workers should perform certain preventative maintenance tasks every day. These include checking for damage and leaks as well as issues with temperature, oil, and fluid.
Yearly preventative maintenance tasks can still save a business time and money. These include oil sampling and checking the control wiring.
The key to preventative maintenance for a mechanical press is to do it regularly. This requires scheduling it in advance and keeping accurate records.
Using a CMS or other calendar system helps ensure that maintenance tasks get done when they need to be. Try to create a schedule where your corrective (a.k.a. reactive) and preventative maintenance costs are the same.
Where to Get a Mechanical Press
A mechanical press is a tool for shaping a range of materials, even tough metals like steel. They’re a popular option thanks to their power and accuracy.
Mechanical presses are long-lasting pieces of equipment, but preventative maintenance helps keep them running even longer. It involves looking for signs of potential issues and correcting them before they become a costly problem.
Always purchase a mechanical press from a trusted dealer. This is another way to ensure your machine stays in top working condition for years to come.