Shopping isn’t simple, particularly when you’re talking about big ticket investment items like a new hydraulic press. Chances are, a great deal of thoughtful consideration and research will go into the process. Unlike car shopping, you can’t “try out” a hydraulic press to see if it seems “right” for you. If you’re thinking about the addition of a hydraulic press to your organization, before you go shopping you need to first ask the question, “What’s really behind the sticker price?” before making a final purchasing decision.
A great many factors go into determining the final price of a hydraulic press. No doubt your team will want to complete a full cost-benefit analysis and in order to do that, you’ll need to know the criteria that factors into the pricing. Let’s start with a list of some of the key considerations you’ll need to know more about in order to understand what truly drives the cost of a hydraulic press:
What’s the “bed” size and understanding tonnage?
Bed size has nothing to do with twin, double, queen, or king but rather, the “bed” of your hydraulic press is a flat, stationary, machined surface that supports the bolster (a plate or structure mounted on the bed) on which your tooling is mounted and attached. You might assume that the larger the tonnage, the larger the bed but that is not always the case. You can actually have a hydraulic press built with larger table areas and beds or smaller than standard beds and in fact you can adjust the tonnage of a hydraulic press, quite easily, adding to its flexibility by tuning it to specific jobs.
Understanding speed, stroke length and ram force.
The speed of operation required to make your cost-benefit analysis favourable is an important consideration and speed on a hydraulic press is different from that of a mechanical press. You’ll also need to understand the importance of stroke depth accuracy, pressing zone, and the different tonnages required in different parts of the stroke.
What does deflection mean?
It’s important to realize that press deflection is normal to some degree. During pressing some deflection (or deforming) across the bed will occur with the most deflection occurring in the centre. To understand the amount, or the value of the deflection you have to consider the difference between the possible initial position without the load and the position during loading. Acceptable tolerance limits are once again a factor, as they are in any consideration of accuracy too.
Is automation (and ease of programmability) a factor in your decision?
Press functionality is likely at or near the top of your list during the decision-making process and automation is at the core of press functionality. Automation improves running time, is cost- efficient, produces consistent quality across vast quantities of parts and frees up machine operators to assume other tasks.
How important is accuracy?
Of course, accuracy is important but if you know anything about mold or tool making, or have ever seen a precision CNC grinding machine in action, you’ll know that what is considered accurate for some jobs might be deemed a scrap for another. Think about the use of the hydraulic press and whether you need precision or you have a little more wiggle room. What’s demanded of the machine (and it’s operator) from an accuracy point of view will factor into its cost.
Is it New or Used?
This may well be a question for the accountants in the room. Obviously, the price of a new machine will be higher than that of a used one, but you may wish to factor in other important considerations such as: the cost of any retrofitting, the cost of potential repairs, the risk of foregoing certain features for the sake of price and whether replacement parts will even be readily accessible over its lifespan. You will also want to consider your budget and if there are any time constraints as the purchase and install of a new machine could take longer than buying used. There are other factors too, but we’ve blogged about them before. You can read that blog here. New or Used?
Now that you have a better idea of what you are shopping for, you’ll also have a more complete understanding of the rationale behind pricing these machines. They are robust, complex machines often producing intricate parts in a variety of industrial settings. While they may have significant upfront costs, you may in turn find even greater savings in reduced costs of manpower or through efficiencies gained as a result of increased speed and enhanced accuracy. At Macrodyne we’re happy to have a conversation with everyone involved in making critical decisions about the purchase and installation of a hydraulic press. We’ll make sure you have all the information you need, including a better understanding of what’s behind that sticker price!