A Guide to Pneumatic Presses

Pneumatic presses offer a range of benefits in a wide range of applications. These machines are great due to their:

  • power
  • speed
  • cleanliness
  • low maintenance

Pneumatic presses generate a force greater than manpower( manual press usually known as an arbor press) alone can supply. It can be used for pressing, squeezing, forming, and other actions. Removes the potential for repetitive strain on the operator, increases efficiency, and pressing repeatability resulting in better quality parts and reducing costs over time.


The potential force of a pneumatic press comes from compressed air pressing against a piston inside an enclosed cylinder, The area of the piston multiplied by the air pressure determines the force generated by the press. The actuation of the press comes from either an air or electric signal, typically generated by an operator when running manually, or by a PLC in an automated system setup. The signal to the press can be configured to create a complete cycle for each signal sent. It also can be configured for Constant Signal Required (CSR) whereby the operator is required to maintain the input signal for the press to actuate, staying down, applying force until the operator removes the signal, then the press would retract. Operators typically use an anti-tie down controller which requires two hand operation to insure the operator’s hands are free from the work area and potential risk of injury. PLC actuated systems utilize sensors and physical/light curtain guarding to insure operator safety.

Direct double acting pneumatic presses are the most widely used type in industrial applications. These types of presses use air to advance and retract the cylinder, which is beneficial for applications with heavy tooling attachments, and applications that require quick response and cycle times.

There are several key differences between the pneumatic press and hydraulic presses.

Method of Operation
Hydraulic presses function similarly to the principles of the pneumatic press.  However, instead of compressed air, the driver for their movement is a fluid base.

Pneumatic presses do not require much in terms of maintenance.

If there is a leak, then only air escapes, which can be easily replaced once the leak has been repaired.

Conversely, if a hydraulic machine leaks, it loses fluids, which creates a mess that requires time to clean up.

Pneumatic presses operate at very high speeds, whereas hydraulic presses operate at much slower speeds.

Employee safety is the most crucial component of every industrial setting. Therefore, it’s important that you properly train your employees and operate each piece of equipment with care.

Below are some pneumatic press safety tips that any shop using a pneumatic press should follow.

Release all compressed air.
Whether the pneumatic press is shut down, undergoing maintenance, or merely inactive, it’s critical that the compressed air in the machine is released correctly.

Every pneumatic press should have a release valve (labeled “lockout/tagout”).  This valve will safely and effectively release all compressed air back into the environment.

Failure to release air properly can result in serious injury to employees.

Restrain all tubing.

Tubing is overlooked in shop settings. However, pneumatic press tubing has the potential to cause injury if snapped or broken.

To mitigate this risk, group bundle/bond all tubing.

Proper training

Like any shop machine, adequate training is critical towards reducing potential injuries. It’s crucial that all employees are trained to industry standards on any new or old machine the shop.

Risk assessments

Again, like all other machines in the shop, performing regular risk assessments on your press can lower potential safety hazards.


If you own a pneumatic bench press, troubleshooting potential problems is typically quick and strait forward. Referring to schematics, pneumatic have three basic components: The air cylinder, the power valve, and the signal source(actuator).

To obtain an accurate diagnostics, the best course would be to contact your pneumatic bench press manufacturer to diagnose and assist with fixing the problem.

In the meantime, here are a few steps you should take to diagnose and troubleshoot common problems associated with your pneumatic presses.

Do you hear any leaks in the system? First and foremost you want a have an air leak free setup. When the air supply is turned on be sure your hands are away from the pressing area.

When you operate the actuator, does the press cycle? If not, remove the signal out from the actuator and try to cycle to see if signal is present. IF not, the actuator may need repair/replacement. If the press is going down but not generating full force, check you air supply line to confirm adequate pressure is supplied to the press. If the press is not properly maintained and lubricated, it is possible you need to replace the seals and o-rings in the cylinder.

What do you use your press for?

If you work in clean room environments, such as medical device manufacturing and aerospace, pneumatic presses can be configured to be compliant to Class 100 Clean room particulate compliance. Utilizing stainless steel construction and air particulate filtration systems, clean room pneumatic presses have many advantages in these types of applications. Clean, efficient, quiet, ease of use, and trouble free; pneumatic presses have flexibility and functionality to meet your needs.

If you have an application running small production runs, but need accuracy, repeatability and ease of operation, the pneumatic press is well suited to offer a quick, flexible and cost-efficient solution configured for manual operations.

For applications with higher volumes, longer run times, or secondary processes, a pneumatic press solution that includes PLC controls is easily configurable. Pneumatic presses can be setup with end of stroke sensors to provide feedback to the PLC to insure the press reaches bottom of stroke to perform the work, and top of stroke to know when the press has completed the operation. PLC working with other inputs can provide for an effective automated solution while maintaining cost-effective, low maintenance production.

Pneumatic bench presses

Refer to the Schematic Handbook

Your press should have come with a handbook or other form of documentation regarding troubleshooting.


They will often come with diagrams, showing the correct placement of certain valves, grippers, and pressure settings.

If any of these seem as if they are out of place, try adjusting them before trying other troubleshooting options.

Inspect while you use the machine

If there are no apparent problems when your machine is not in operation, perform a visual inspection while the machine is operating.

You should look for signs of air leakage, drastic changes in system pressures, and any faults when the system moves.


You might have to get the help of a colleague or a friend to stay safe while the machine is in operation.

With a pneumatic bench press, one issue may be causing smaller issues elsewhere.


While some pneumatic hand press machines or other types of press may require simple lubrication or part replacement, it is essential to consult a professional when you make any major changes to your machine.

If a malfunction in your pneumatic press has been resolved, be sure to record where and when the incident took place to ensure you’re keeping an accurate log. This will be useful in the future if any other problems may occur.

Standard Pneumatic Presses at AIM Joraco

At Joraco, we have a number of different press models;

  4. Cleanroom presses


Since the start of the TOGGLE-AIRE® press line in 1961, our goal has been to build reliable, user-serviceable production equipment designed to provide the buyer many years of duty.  Options for this press include:



The DIRECT-AIRE® press series features a straight pneumatic cylinder for applications requiring full force over the entire stroke, such as assembling bushings, posts, inserts, fasteners, and related products.

It is suitable for a wide range of manual and semi-automatic assembly operations, our Direct-Aire®  Presses offer a standard 4.5” stroke, providing from 314 to 7,800 lbs; giving you the most efficient and accurate results possible.

Below are our options:


AIM JORACO’SHydro-Pneumatic (HP) PressSeries offers clean, reliable, and accurate results.

This series is a much cleaner alternative to the hydraulic press and offers the same advantages.

It is fully contained with no fluid reservoirs or hydraulic lines and features rapid advance with an automatic power stroke.

Suitable for a wide range of manual and semi-automatic assembly operations, this press is offered with a standard 4” stroke with 1/2″ power stroke, providing from 2 to 16-tons of force, in both C-Frame and H-Frame configurations and is manufactured in the US from steel plate.

Below are our options:


Clean Room Press Series

AIM Joraco’s benchtop pneumatic presses for cleanrooms offer versatile solution applications.

Contact AIM Joraco “The Pneumatic Toggle Press Innovators”®

and HYDRO-AIRE line of precision pneumatic & manual toggle presses, semi-automatic rotary indexing machines, and assembly and fabrication tooling.

Our compact, bench air presses are available with forces from 1/2 to over 16 tons.

Whether you are staking, swaging, stamping, crimping, forming, riveting, punching, piercing, blanking, assembling, laminating, or marking… our c-frame and H-frame presses offer you a low cost, field-proven, time tested alternative to costly and complicated power presses and hydraulic presses.