Tech Talk #19: Why Use Pressure Gauges?
Pressure is one of the most important variables to control in your die cutting process. The lightest pressure that achieves a quality cut is the best pressure. When using a die for the first time, the pressure should be increased until the desired cut is achieved. Large spikes in the pressure readings as the die runs indicate the die is bouncing or lifting off the anvil when it encounters the most resistance, typically on a horizontal cut across the web. In this case, the pressure needs to be increased until the pressure fluctuations are minimized.
While every die will require different amounts of pressure depending on its geometry and the material being converted, using excessive pressure can cause issues. Excess pressure generates heat, causing the bearers on the die to expand, which in turn further increases the cutting pressure.
Without a pressure monitoring system, the press operator will not notice this, and damage could occur to your press or your tooling in the form of prematurely worn bearers, anvils, hold down bearings, support rolls, and gears.
Pressure gauges are also a good indicator if there is a problem with your die cutting module. Uneven pressure could be a sign of a worn anvil, worn die bearers, or bad hold down bearings.
Another way pressure gauges should be utilized is by keeping records of starting and ending pressures for each run. As the die wears, the required pressure should increase. By recording the ending pressure, setup time can be reduced the next time the job goes on press. Also, for repeat jobs ending pressure can be established, which lets the operator know that the die has reached the end of its life and needs to be replaced. This can eliminate the possibility of damage due to excessive pressure.
Which gauges are right for my operation?
At Wilson, we offer two types of gauges. The WH1 features a hydraulic design and is easy to install and features a fully rotating gauge for easy use. Our WM1 is more robust, featuring a mechanical design that makes it optimal for wider webs and steel-to-steel applications cutting thicker materials. Both systems are available in different lengths to accommodate your press size and come with quick snap locks for easy tooling changes.
It is a valuable best practice to check the condition of your bearing blocks, gears, and hold down bearings daily. Making sure your bearer wipers are in good condition and oiled is simple and can greatly improve the life of your tooling. Wilson also offers a tooling audit program where one of our experts will visit your facility to inspect all your magnetic cylinders and anvils to make sure they are within specification.
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