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What to Consider when Selecting and Implementing Press Automation Controls

Production Resources Team
March 9, 2024

The following questions should be fully considered to correctly select and implement press automation controls

1. What is the scope of the project?

  • When selecting Press Automation Controls it is important to begin with the end in mind. What are the
    specific problems that need to be addressed?
  • Does the existing clutch/brake control meet current OSHA 1910.217, 1910.212 and ANSI B11.1 safety
  • Is the reliability of the existing Press Control safety a concern resulting in excessive down time or hard to
    find replacement parts?
  • Do you need to control automation devices such as feed initiate, pilot release, spray lubrication and
  • other press related operations?
  • Implementing die protection programs to reduce or eliminate costly die crashes?
  • Is using analog sensors for monitoring critical dimensions of the part a concern?
  • Monitoring the tonnage for press protection or to help maintain part quality?
  • Automating the setup procedure with Auto Shutheight and or Auto Counterbalance?
  • Implementation of Press Room reporting?

Once these needs and features are determined the type of Automation Control can be determined.

2. Select the type of Control

  • Controls are commonly offered as ‘Standalone” controls or complete automation controls. Answers to
    the scope of the project above will help direct you to they type of control that best the application.
    As a rule of thumb, the complete automation control is typically the best solution if three or more
    features are required. The complete control may have a higher upfront cost but it is less expensive to
    add features than to install multiple standalone controls.
  • Other items to consider when selecting the type of control is the number of inputs and outputs
  • How many Sensor inputs will be needed. Will you be using electronic sensors, analog sensors,
    mechanical sensors or a combination of each? How will the sensors connect from the die to the
    automation control.
  • How many Programmable Cam outputs will be needed? Will these cam outputs be programmed based
    on press angle, press time or stroke counts of the press?
  • If a clutch/brake control is selected how many operator stations will be needed? How many user defined
    inputs are needed for automation used in the process that can be wired into the control so fault
    messages of auxiliary equipment can be displayed.
  • A goal to have when using a complete automation control is if the press is not running the operator
    has one single screen to view for a fault reason for the press not running.
  • What type of tonnage Monitor will best suit the application. Peak tonnage Monitor versus WaveForm
  • What other features are available from the control manufacturer that will help automate the entire

    • Servo Feed Interface
    • PLC Interface
    • Remote Communications
    • Press Room Reporting
    • Another important feature to keep in mind is the scalability of the automation control. Can additional
      features be easily added at a future date.

3. Ease of Use/Training/Support

  • Once the features and options are selected it is good practice to invite the control representative into
    your facility to review your process and provide a demonstration of the control under consideration.
  • Having a mixture of engineers, maintenance and operators present for the demonstration will allow
    your team to determine if the control satisfies your company’s needs.
  • Is there training available from the representative at your facility, do they provide application assistance
    and support of the product.
  • Can they provide a turnkey solution of product, training, installation and support?
  • What type of resources are available after the equipment is installed?

Authored by  Steve Connolly, Application Engineer at Production Resources Inc.

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