Press Machine Types

A specialist operates one type of press machine.
A specialist operates one type of press machine. (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Press machines use pressure to create or change the shape of metals used in manufacturing. Press machines use three different methods of processing metal: mechanical, hydraulic and forging. Applied pressure is used to cut or shape sheet metals. In addition, some press machine can punch holes in materials. Manufacturers use different types of press machines to build automobiles, airplanes and other vehicles and metal structures.

Press Brake Machine

Press brake machines use tools called dies to manipulate metal. The press brake secures the dies in place with two plates, at the top and bottom of the machine. An operator sets a stock on the bottom die, then activates the mechanism by pressing a switch. Press brakes are either mechanically or hydraulically powered, and are used to bend and form sheet metal. Types of press brakes include the hydraulic press, the hydra-mechanical press, the mechanical-friction clutch, and the part revolution mechanical press.

Rolling Press Machine

A rolling press is a machine that uses a set of rollers to shape metal. Sheet metal is placed between two sets of rollers, which independently turn to help shape the metal. This process may repeat itself to make the metal thinner or wider. Rolling presses are often used on fragile parts so they will not be damaged by stamping-type pressure. Stamping press machines repeatedly stamp the material to shape it.

Forging Press Machine

Originally, forging started with blacksmiths using a hammer on a hot piece of metal on an anvil. A forging press applies slow pressure to either hot or cold material. Hot forging press machines are used to make heavy materials such as planes and trains, while cold forging press machines help manufacture small materials. In 1954, the U.S. Air Force created a 50,000-ton die-forging press that is still one of the world's largest fabrication tools.

Punch Press Machine

Punch presses apply pressure on a sheet of metal by a die. The material is then cut and shaped, with the finished product called a "knockout" or "scrap." The cut metal will fall into a tray below the machine, which then slides out so the operator can remove the scrap metal. Punch presses can be run by computer; this is called a computer numerically controlled punch press. The machine cuts the metal, with an operator inputting the dimensions of each cut into the computer.

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