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Maintenance Practices for Presses: Part 1

Maintenance Practices for Presses

When it comes to metalworking machinery, one might think that the maintenance practices stay consistent among all sorts of pressing models. 

However, that isn’t always the case. Arbor presses may require a different set of rules to follow as opposed to a hydraulic press or a drill press.

In this handy guide, our experts here at Dake will go over the best maintenance practices for you to follow depending on which type of press machine you have in your shop.


Arbor Press Maintenance

The arbor press is one of the oldest pressing machines available to metalworkers. It hasn’t changed much over the last century, and it’s easy to find vintage arbor presses still in operation today. Built out of cast iron to withstand the test of time, our arbor presses can be passed down from generation to generation without any issues. This is because the owners have taken great care of their machines.

The first step to maintaining an arbor press is to ensure that your machine is well lubricated at all times with the appropriate oil. There are countless lubrication products available on the market. We recommend choosing one that is very light.

Another maintenance practice that will keep your arbor press operating smoothly for decades is to frequently vacuum any debris or dust particles from every joint. Once you have finished vacuuming, you can also go over the machine with a wipe to get any smaller pieces of dust that may have been left behind.

As a general rule of thumb for maintaining an arbor press, we also highly recommend that you thoroughly check the ram from all sides to make sure that it is properly tightened. You don’t want this piece coming loose.

Daily operational maintenance should include checking the tonnage, ensuring that the machine is appropriately aligned, and confirming that the gears are catching properly. Faulty or stripped gears need to be replaced.




Hydraulic Press Maintenance

Hydraulic presses are very different from arbor presses, and they require a much more detailed list of maintenance practices that you should follow if you want your machine to work for years to come.

First, you want to check the hydraulic lines daily for any oil leaks. Even a tiny leak can wreak havoc on your press. By simply tightening any loose fittings and wiping all excess oil off, you can avoid any issues with oil leaks. Keep the machine clean, and you will be able to identify potential issues before they become major problems.

Next, be sure that the oil levels are always topped off. You don’t want it to get down too low and risk damage to the machine. The type of oil that you need to be using with your Dake hydraulic press will be listed on the oil tag and in the owner’s manual.

Sometimes, vibrations from the dies can cause the bolts in the tooling area to loosen. Make sure that you check for loose bolts frequently, and tighten them as needed.

Lubrication for the machine’s guided platens is crucial to proper operation. Mom bushings have fittings that require lubrication. You need to ensure that there is always a thin film of oil over the rod for the hydraulic press to function without a hitch.

However, do not over-lubricate the fittings. This can cause unwanted accumulation and premature wear. If your hydraulic press uses valve fittings, then they are most likely impregnated with graphite. This means they won’t need much maintenance.

While we are still on the subject of oil, you also need to check the temperature of the oil frequently. It needs to be about 120° F for optimal performance.

Lastly, make sure that you check the ram to ensure that it is not loose. Then ensure that the light curtains are functioning correctly by breaking the beam as the ram is traveling downward. This should cause the press action to stop instantly. Check your owner’s manual for detailed steps to completing this maintenance step.




Drill Press Maintenance

As one of the easiest press machines to maintain, a drill press doesn’t require much attention. However, there are some daily practices that you should do to ensure that your drill press is operating with precision.

Make sure the machine is unplugged, and start the maintenance process by checking the lubrication. As you may have already noticed, proper lubrication is a key factor in maintaining press machines for metalworking.

Coat the drill chuck with a rust protectant to ensure a longer lifespan. Rust can be a killer on these machines. If you notice any rust accumulation on any part of the drill press, clean it off immediately with a rust-removing product. If the rust damage is bad, you may need to use steel wool or an abrasive pad along with a heavy-duty cleaning solvent to scrub it off. Once you’re done, wipe it down.

Vacuuming debris and dust from the electrical and motor boxes is another step that is necessary to incorporate into your maintenance routine. You can also use compressed air to get the hard to reach places clean.

Finally, make sure that the jaws of the chuck shell are fully lubricated, and wipe away any excess oil before you being the drilling process. Drill bits should also be maintained with a thorough cleaning after every use.



Wear the Proper Clothing

Precautions should be taken every time you perform maintenance on any of your shop machines. Whether you are cleaning a heavy-duty machine like the ones we mentioned here or you are cleaning hand tools, you must ensure that you are performing maintenance in a conducive environment with the proper safety precautions.

Prepare for maintenance by wearing the appropriate gear. This can include work gloves, safety glasses/goggles, face masks, and even ear protection. Doing this will ensure that your eyes, ears, nasal passages, and hands are all protected while you are working with the machines.


Talk to Us

For more on best practices for the maintenance of presses, stay tuned for our next post. If you would like to learn more about our press machines here at Dake, get in touch with our expert today.

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