Custom hydraulic press and automation systems manufacturer Beckwood Press Co. (St. Louis) was awarded a contract by the United States Army—Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center (NSRDEC) to produce a custom 1000-ton hydraulic press, which will be used to consolidate ballistic composites in a compression molding application.
With a 36-inch by 36-inch forming area, programmable active leveling control (ALC) and quick die change features, the new press will be flexible enough to support NSRDEC’s research and development efforts. Beckwood’s proprietary multi-axis ALC system uses a high-speed motion controller, linear transducers, and proportional valves to synchronize the press’ actuators and maintain bed-to-ram parallelism despite off-center loading.
To provide additional forming flexibility, Beckwood will manufacture two sets of platens in addition to the main bed and ram bolsters. The first will offer steam-heating capability and the second will offer electrical-heating capability with temperatures up to 600˚F. When the heated platens are not in use, Beckwood’s intuitive controls system will regulate the temperature settings within NSRDEC’s existing steam-heated and electrically heated tooling. Four water modulation valves and four air purge valves will also be provided for rapid cooling.
Like all Beckwood presses, the structure will be designed to the Infinite Life classification using Finite Element Analysis software. The computer-aided simulation, which mirrors real-world manufacturing stresses, ensures the press is robust enough to handle the most taxing applications. Additionally, Beckwood’s PressLink remote support module offers fast, complimentary troubleshooting and facilitates program updates without the need for an onsite service visit.
“Beckwood hydraulic presses have been instrumental in developing new national security and defense technologies for over a decade,” said Beckwood President Jeffrey Debus. “We are extremely proud to build this press for the US Army and excited to share our process knowledge with [its] expert R&D team.”