Wabash National recently selected Beckwood Press Company, a manufacturer of hydraulic and servo-electric presses and automation systems, to engineer and build a custom 3,500-ton hydraulic bulge forming press, Beckwood said.
The company is expected to deliver the new press in October.
The machine will be used to form stainless steel and aluminum tank heads with diameters up to 156 inches for Wabash’s tank and silo business.
“Beckwood has been so engaged and supportive during this project,” said Barb Yocum, Wabash National’s lead manufacturing engineer. “Every step, from quoting to design, has been detailed and careful as they work hard to provide the press we need for our operation. I am confident in our selection of Beckwood and in how this press will support our process.”
The 3,500-ton, 285-inch-by-216-inch press will weigh approximately 650,000 pounds when fully assembled, and will be installed in a 6-foot-deep pit, Beckwood said. The 160-inch-by-160-inch bolsters will contain machined t-slots for use with the Quick Die Change system, and a fully adjustable 8-point square gib-guidance system will ensure bed-to-ram parallelism throughout the stroke.
To accommodate Wabash’s existing tooling, the press will be able to bulge form using either air (pneumatic) or water (hydro), Beckwood said. The company will design a specialized closed-loop pneumatic control system for the bulge forming operation, allowing Wabash to form parts to specific dome heights while utilizing up to 750 psi of air pressure. To facilitate fast die changeover, an automated quick die change system with chain driven die clamps and a bed trolley will be included. The trolley will be capable of transporting dies up to 30,000 pounds across a 30-foot track via a push-button controls station.
For added safety, polycarbonate guarding will be provided around the working area, hydraulically actuated die safety blocks will secure the ram during die changeover, and a collision detection system will be installed on each end of the trolley, Beckwood said.
“The Wabash National press is one of the largest and heaviest machines we’ve ever built,” said Jeffrey Debus, Beckwood president. “Since moving into our new facility last year, we have seen an increase in requests for presses of this magnitude. Our extended ceiling heights and heavy crane capabilities allow us to assemble, program and test these machines in-house, which greatly expedites delivery to our customers.”