Try-out presses are machines used in the validation of dies and molds to ensure they have been manufactured according to specifications and are ready for use in production. Theses presses are specifically designed for the application of the mold and parts to be produced and offer high levels of functionality, flexibility, and reliability.
Die try-out is typically the first step in the production process after a die or mold toolset has been manufactured. A try-out press is used to ensure the toolset works correctly. It is an important process that can help maximize production efficiencies by ensuring the die is ready for production and lasts over time.
Materials & Applications
Successful design and production of forming molds and dies is a major investment for many manufacturers. Re-cutting tools and scrapping parts because of inaccuracies or issues with the dies can have major effects on timelines and costs. Therefore, it is essential to be able to verify the dies suitability for production ahead of time so that production efficiencies can be maximized. Die try-out presses are specifically designed for mold manufacturers encompassing a wide range of industries including; automotive, aerospace, consumer products, and electronics were precision and accuracy is a necessity. The presses are uniquely designed and play an important role to ensure a die is produced correctly down to the smallest details and complex geometries.
Die and mold materials used in these presses can be made from metal, plastics, or other synthetic materials and the die try-out methods and requirements will vary depending on the application. Die try-out presses are suitable for evaluating plastic injection molds, casting dies, punching dies, transfer molds, metal molds, forging molds, glass molds, rubber and plastic molds, and metallurgy dies.
Establishing Process Parameters
Die try-out presses bring two halves of a die together to simulate the forming process that would be seen in production. The complexities and challenges still lie in the engineering and design of the die and determining the appropriate forming parameters to ensure the finished parts are a success, however die try-out is an important early step in achieving a successful result.
The overall time spent in a try-out press can range from hours to weeks, depending on the complexity of the die, analysis, alignment changes, and amount of test iterations it may require. The overall goal is to reduce the amount of effort and necessary time in the try-out process, and a well configured press can be an essential part in having the tool evaluated, prepared, and approved for the production line.
The bed size dimensions of die try-out presses can range from relatively small (less than 4’), to big (15’ or larger), and will ultimately depend on the footprint of the toolset to being validated. When mounted to the press beds, the orientation of the upper and lower dies should mimic that of what will be used in production, but will also aid in determining the overall bed dimensions required for the press. It is advantageous to have wide access on all four sides of the bed to allow for automated and manual handling of the dies, as well as to allow for efficient and safe die rework while the dies are still mounted to the press, measurement taking, and visual inspections.
Tonnages and Speeds
The tonnages and speed required for a try-out press will depend on the process and evaluation requirements for the die. Generally, the tonnage can range from 50 to 5000 tons, and the ascending and descending speeds can vary for the specific application and should be set appropriately for the process. The versatility of these presses allows for both die evaluation and to simulate conditions of those that would be seen during the forming of parts in full production. Both tonnage and speed can be programmed and controlled with the press to ensure the die is produced correctly down to the necessary accuracy and tolerances.
During the process of die try-out, it is often advantageous to simulate the production of parts in small runs as part of pre-production testing. Therefore, having suitable tonnage and press speed to match that of the eventual forming press would be advantageous to verify the die performance, accuracy, and precision.
Stroke and Daylight
A die try-out press can be configured to control the necessary stroke to appropriately evaluate the mold. In the fully retracted position, there should be enough daylight to allow for inspection and final updates of both dies. Rotating platens can further increase the amount of daylight and clearance around the die halves. In general, a press should be selected to accommodate the largest expected toolset. Additional clearances should be considered for operators, engineering and manufacturing staff, and assembly and removal of the dies both manually and with lifting equipment.
Hydraulic Try-Out Presses
Hydraulic try-out presses can be designed and built to meet the same heavy demands and standards as their high volume, production press counterparts. These machines offer lots of versatility with the ability to test and evaluate molds of different types, and sizes, as well as act as production presses when required, with no adverse effect on the life of the equipment or degradation of the dies themselves.
Hydraulic try-out presses are custom designed to suit specific applications. To ensure successful mold results and to further focus on maximizing efficiencies in time and operational costs, the press can be fitted with a variety of frame styles and include features such as:
- 180-degree rotating platens
- Automatic clamping and lifting packages
- Servo-controlled slide parallelism control systems
- Rolling bolsters
- Tilting platens
Die Try-Out Presses
Under certain conditions, successful die try-out does not always translate to successful forming of parts when the toolset is moved to a production press. There may be inaccuracies and inconsistencies between what is seen on the try-out press from parts formed on a production press. These differing results may lead to more effort and time on die spotting and/or try-out. With use of die try-out profiling, which can create a digital snapshot of how a production press operates, an even more effective and efficient try-out process can be achieved.
A production press can be equipped with software, sensors, and diagnostics so that a digital copy of the press and its performance can be simulated with a high degree of precision. In addition, by profiling the press prior to the tool going into production, information can be analyzed to see if maintenance or tune-ups are necessary to optimize the machine performance. Ultimately by simulating the toolset along with an accurate representation of the actual production press to be used, a seamless and predictable transition from die try-out to forming of parts in a production environment can be achieved.
Some additional advantages of using try-out hydraulic presses as part of the die and mold manufacturing process include:
Bringing the two halves of a mold together in a controlled, accurate and repeatable manner is essential to the process. The use of hydraulics and a programmable control system are essential parts of a hydraulic try-out press. Platen parallelism also plays an important role for accuracy and can precisely bring the halves of the dies together for evaluation. Measurements can be integrated into the control display system, with built in reports for monitoring and data acquisition. Even further accuracy can be achieved with the use of die try-out profiling of production presses.
Try-out is the initial step in the engineering and manufacturing process of a tool prior to the tool being approved for production. Extensive fine-tuning and evaluation can be both time and cost consuming. The use of hydraulic try-out presses can test, simulate, evaluate adjust, and confirm the mold in a simple and safe setup, reducing time and costs. This is essential to meet production targets and timelines.
Verifying molds with the use of try-out hydraulic presses can minimize the dangers involved in handling different molds and dies. These are often heavy and oddly shaped tools, and even the use of cranes, forklifts, and other equipment can introduce potential hazards. Separating dies and performing numerous alignment and updates, can all be done efficiently and quickly directly with the press. Manual safety bars, locking and anti-slip mechanisms, and emergency stop buttons are additional safety measures for press operators.
Ergonomics and Ease of Use
Although a hydraulic press can simplify and automate much of the process, die try-out is a process that still requires operator and maintenance personal involvement. Accessibility and being able to inspect the mold from varying angles and locations is a vital part. The use of tilting and rotating platens and being able to control the movements with simple control of a touch panel play important factors along with the ability to inspect the dies efficiently. Die try-out presses can be equipped with touch panels that are clear, straightforward and simple. Press operation should also be easy to train and diagnosing potential issues and resolving issues should be as straight forward as possible, so down time is minimized, and the die can ultimately be prepared for production and forming of parts.