What Is a Machine Press and What Types Are There?


The pneumatic toggle press, air press machine, benchtop pneumatic press: what are these, how do they work, and how are they classified? Machine tools as we know them now came about during the Industrial Revolution in England, as a way to fill a need of the textile industry in the mid to late 18th century. Today, machine tools are used throughout the world and constructed in more than 10 countries, including China, Japan, Germany, South Korea, Italy, and the United States. Among the most common machining tools available is the press, which is, most basically, a device that applies force, or pressure. The typical shop press can apply between one and 30 tons of pressure, depending on size and desigh, and is used for both cutting and non-cutting processes. Read on to learn more about the pneumatic toggle press and other classifications and types of presses.

Press Classifications

Presses generally are categorized as either power presses or manually operated presses. The hydropneumatic press and pneumatic toggle press are types of power press, and they are driven by some type of outside power delivered by an engine or electric motor. The pneumatic hand press is an example of a manually operated press. These are operated by manual power and are typically used when less pressure or force is required.

Press Frames

Presses come with five basic types of frame, including straight side, gap frame, inclinable, open end, and adjustable bed. The straight side press has a large bed and a high tonnage capacity. It is rigid and gives very long strokes. The gap frame press style has a wide gap between its base and ram to accommodate large items. It is also sometimes called a C-frame press. The inclinable frame press can be tilted back and then locked in an inclined position. The open end press has a drive mechanism housed at the back while the ram controlling mechanism is housed at the front and is a light machine. Adjustable presses have a knee-shaped press supported by a column and can be adjusted to any height.

What Presses Do

Presses are also categorized as single action, double action, or triple action, with the number of actions being the same as the number of rams. Some actions require low stroke strength and others large stroke strength, and this makes certain press actions and frames preferable for certain operations. Presses are used for shearing, forming, extruding, cleaning, forging, rolling, punching, bending, and many other operations.

Press Power

Presses use hydraulic, mechanical, or pneumatic power to do their work. Pneumatic presses, such as the pneumatic toggle press, provide less pressure power than a hydraulic press; however, they are much faster in operation, can be stopped at any moment, and provide clean operation. The typical pneumatic toggle press is available in a variety of forces and can handle high working loads with accurate stroke adjustment while maintaining a low energy consumption. Something like a pneumatic toggle press is frequently used for marking, riveting, punching, and cutting. An hydraulic press is slower, requires more power and maintenance, and cannot be stopped except between strokes. However, a hydraulic press is capable of generating enormous amounts of pressure that pneumatic presses cannot match. The handpress, or mechanical press, is far less expensive than other types and is more mobile. However, it is only suitable for the lightest jobs and is frequently used in riveting.

There are many types of presses available on the market, and the precise one that any shop uses depends entirely upon the work being done. Presses have been around for a long time, but they are no less valuable today than they were 200 years ago. They’re still one of the most crucial tools in any shop over a wide variety of industries, from automotive to aviation, medicine to the fine arts. Presses and other machining tools have only become more valuable as industry continues to develop and advance.


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