Presses are used in industrial settings for a wide variety of uses, including squeezing, forming, and pressing. There are many different types of presses. Among the most popular these days are pneumatic presses and hydraulic presses. These two models of presses are very similar in function and can be used for a lot of the same things. However, there are some specific differences between them to consider when attempting to choose between them.
Pneumatic presses are controlled by the manipulation of pressurized air. The air is forced into a tube which fills with the air and applies pressure that causes the press to move downwards. Once the press' stroke is finished, the air is evacuated through valves, and mechanical springs cause the pump to move upwards again.
Hydraulic presses are fundamentally chambers filled with some sort of liquid, usually oil. A piston presses into the chamber, causing the oil to shift position. Since the chamber is sealed, the oil exerts pressure on another, larger piston or baseplate, which is in turn pressed downwards.
Pros and Cons of Pneumatic Presses
Pneumatic presses' greatest advantage is their speed. They can move ten times faster than hydraulic presses. They can also stop at any time that the operator opens the valves to release the air. Pneumatic presses are extremely versatile, able to be placed on a factory in any position in which the operator requires it to be, even upside down. Pneumatic presses are very easy to use, and the controls resemble those of more traditional styles of press.
Pneumatic presses also have very few moving parts, making them very low-maintenance. They have no fluid inside them, eliminating the fear of leakage. Very few of the parts even require oiling. The air tubes in a pneumatic press can last up to five years without being replaced, making pneumatic presses durable and dependable.
Pros and Con of Hydraulic Presses
Hydraulic presses are very strong and dependable. They are able to create a large amount of pressing tonnage. They are ideal for hydroforming, which is a type of metal shaping involving a liquid agent. They move very slowly, which gives the metal plenty of time to be thoroughly shaped.
However, hydraulic presses require a lot of maintenance. They must have the oil inside them that provides the pressure against the baseplate at a particular pressure, and they have a great deal of other devices that monitor and regulate the oil pressure to ensure the press works efficiently.
Hydraulic or Pneumatic?
Hydraulic presses and pneumatic presses can provide many of the same functions with equal quality. They can both be adjusted to changed the stroke length or the stroke pressure. They both have full tonnage and any position along their stroke, making them preferable to mechanical presses. They can both perform complicated pressing and forming tasks with the proper modification as you go along.
The main difference between them is their speed. Pneumatic presses are much faster than hydraulic presses, and that means their are many jobs they can perform faster and more efficiently. However, this makes them ill-suited for hydroforming or other jobs where the hydraulic press' slower speed is an advantage.
There are also differences as far as maintenance. Hydraulic presses require more care, and have more components attached to them for this purpose, making them more complicated. Pneumatic presses require less time and energy for maintenance.
Justin Mitchell has been a writer since 2009. In 2002, he received a B.A. in theater and writing from the University of Northern Colorado. Mitchell worked as an ESL teacher in Europe and Asia before earning a master's degree in journalism from the City University of New York. He has written for the "New York Daily News" and WNYC.org, among other outlets.