Learn New Things and Change Your View: Heavy Construction Equipment

Press The Issue: Diagnosing And Repairing Two Common Hydraulic Press Problems

by Nisanur Kronenberg

Hydraulic presses are built to exacting standards, and are designed to endure the massive stresses they undergo during ordinary operation. Despite this, these powerful and versatile machines are not immune to the occasional mechanical mishap, and even the most well-maintained press can malfunction, often for reasons that aren't immediately apparent.

In these situations, calling in a professional hydraulic equipment repair service is always the safest and most efficient option, as these services come equipped with all the tools and knowledge required to quickly diagnose and rectify problems with your mechanical press. However, you can speed the repair process along by attempting to find the cause of a problem yourself -- here are two of the most common problems encountered with hydraulic presses, along with their most likely causes.

Press overheating

The enormous pressure and friction created by a press during standard operation creates an immense amount of waste heat, which must be effectively dissipated to prevent damage to hydraulic cylinders and systems.

A number of problems can cause your press to overheat, but the most common causes of excessive what generally have something to do with the hydraulic fluid your press uses to transfer pressure. If this fluid becomes contaminated, or is allowed to degrade due to old age, it loses its heat conducting properties and subsequently increases the operating temperature of your press. Replacing the oil and cleaning (or replacing) the filters in your press's oil reservoir can be a quick and relatively simple way to solve overheating problems.

If the press's supply of oil is not the source of overheating problems, problems with the heat exchanger may be the culprit. Air-cooled heat exchanges become less effective if they suffer physical damage or become clogged with dirt and detritus, while water-cooled exchangers often malfunction due to leaks. Examine your press's heat exchanger for any obvious problems, and call in professional repair services to deal with anything but the simplest of problems.

Slow pressure buildup

When activating your press, the hydraulic ram the drives the press should reach its required pressure rating within a matter of one or two seconds, and slower pressurisation of the ram can be cause for concern. In most cases, a press that is slow to reach optimum pressure is suffering from a malfunctioning fluid pump, and hydraulic fluid is not being funneled into the ram quickly enough to swiftly increase pressure.

Pump problems can have a number of causes, but you should start by checking for leaks between the pump and the press itself that may be preventing fluid from entering the ram cylinder in sufficient quantities. Dirt and solid matter caught in the fluid lines between pump and press can also cause slow pressurisation. You should also examine the pump itself, as the motors that power them are rated for a limited number of revolutions, and may not be functioning properly if they are too old.