Presses are widely used across the manufacturing industry. A wide variety of different presses serve different purposes in specific industrial scenarios. The most popular of these is the pneumatic press — or air press machines.
The pneumatic press utilizes compressed air or inert gas as a source of energy and power. To do this, air is forced into a tube at the top of the press. When pressure is applied to this air, it moves the press downwards to perform a specific action, such as punching, stamping, bending, shearing, or other functions. This makes pneumatic presses different from mechanical and hydraulic presses, which both utilize different types of power to provide power to the pistons/rams.
The pneumatic press and the hydraulic press are two of the most commonly used industry presses, but they each have their specific advantages and disadvantages. Deciding which press is ideal for your setting will depend on the specifications of your design, such as force and speed requirements.
While each one of these types of presses does have safety mechanisms, it is important that you fully understand how to properly use these machines.
In this post, we review pneumatic press safety. But first, here are the main differences between pneumatic and hydraulic presses.
Difference Between Hydraulic and Pneumatic Press Machines
There are many differences between the hydraulic and pneumatic presses, and it's critical that any shop looking to invest in a press thoroughly understands the distinctions between these two machines.
- Function. While the pneumatic press leverages compressed air as a power source, the hydraulic press uses pressurized liquid. For most hydraulic machines, this liquid is some type of oil. Hydraulic presses contain a piston that presses down into a chamber that's filled with oil. This pressure causes the oil to move and press onto other components that ultimately move the press downward to perform a function.
- Speed. Pneumatic presses are much faster than hydraulic presses—around 10 times faster. This makes pneumatic presses well-suited for most industry scenarios, as faster speeds and outputs lead to greater efficiencies and better cost control. However, the slow speed of the hydraulic press can be advantageous for some industry needs such as hydroforming.
- Force. The hydraulic press contains greater force than the pneumatic press, which may be ideal for some industries. Hydraulic presses offer better performance when working with extremely heavy materials or a large variety of thick resources.
- Cleaning. Since pneumatic presses operate within a closed system where the air is the only incoming material, they rarely need to be cleaned. Hydraulic presses, on the other hand, utilize oils, which means that they must be on a regular cleaning schedule.
- Environment. Since hydraulic presses use oil, they carry the potential to negatively impact the environment. Issues such as oil leakage can taint equipment, require expensive oil replacements, and cause environmental hazards. The pneumatic press, of course, has a very little environmental impact due to its power source, which is only air.
- Noise. The pneumatic press typically creates more noise than the hydraulic press due to the nature of compressed air.
A Guide to Pneumatic Press Safety
Employee safety is the single 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 and diligence.
Here are some pneumatic press safety tips that any shop using a pneumatic press should follow.
- Properly 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 – usually labeled "lockout/tagout" – that will safely and effectively release all compressed air back into the environment. Failure to release air properly can result in serious injury to employees. Make sure to be diligent when it comes to any form of stored energy.
- Restrain all tubing
Tubing is often overlooked in shop settings. However, pneumatic press tubing has the potential to cause injury if snapped or broken. To mitigate some of this risk, simply 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 pneumatic press can mitigate potential safety hazards.
Pneumatic Presses from AIM Joraco
The pneumatic press is one of the most popular presses for many reasons: it's fast, accurate, and clean. For most settings, the pneumatic press is a better choice than the hydraulic press due to its speed and simplicity.
When it comes to using one, always make sure you use they pneumatic press safety guidelines to ensure your workers do not risk injury.
To learn more about pneumatic press systems from AIM Joraco, please contact us.