At the ready

By Lynn Stanley

Above: Manufacturers can source a new Bliss press in as little as two weeks with an Allen Bradley platform that configures it for  the Internet of Things.

Press builder maintains inventory to put machines in the hands of fabricators that don’t want to wait

February 2018 - These days, gently used press equipment is as scarce as hen’s teeth. It’s a story that Nick Swartz, sales operations specialist for Bliss Press USA, is familiar. What he most often hears from customers is their desire to add press equipment but they have “a hard time finding a quality used machine which will be the proper fit for their facility.”

Swartz points to a couple of reasons. “High demand for part output makes owners reluctant to resell current equipment,” he says. “Instead, companies tend to run the machines they have until the wheels fall off, so to speak. The amount of equipment that has been used and then scrapped over the years is significant. Another reason is that during the recession, equipment that wasn’t being used was shipped overseas to fulfill other demands.”

An underserved market, coupled with several trends, makes a good case for new capital equipment purchases. And it’s an opportunity that Bliss has positioned itself to support.

FFJ 0218 stamping image1

Fabricators can see Bliss presses in final assembly and in a production environment at the Hastings, Michigan, showroom.

According to the Reshoring Initiative, about 180,000 jobs were transitioned to the U.S. from locations outside North America during the first three quarters of 2017. “If you have a contract to produce quality parts, you can’t risk building a production cell around equipment you can’t rely on,” Swartz says.

Meeting demand

Companies are also winning unexpected business stateside, Swartz adds. “But they are behind the eight ball in production so they need equipment quickly. The ability to obtain just-in-time parts is critical for automotive and other industries because it allows for real-time scale-up.

“If a customer says they need 1,000 parts in a week,” he continues, “the fabricator has to be prepared to meet these short delivery schedules. They can’t wait for a press to be built or to spend 90 days aboard a ship. Bliss is positioned to meet the needs of customers who are asking for equipment in one to two weeks.”

Economic indicators point to another trend. The demand for building materials is on the rise. The need to produce stampings related to doors, keys, ventings, windows and fasteners—any component a contractor might need for a new home—is rising.

“If you have growth plans for an assembly cell, you need to be able to replicate that cell,” says Swartz. “You can’t do that with used equipment. You need a predictable, repeatable output.”

FFJ 0218 stamping image2

Bliss supports these needs by stocking gap-frame, high-speed and straight-side mechanical presses ranging from 60 to 630 metric tons. Availability is a key strategy for the 150-year-old company. “When people make a decision to buy a press, they want it right away,” Swartz says. “We’ve simplified the process by allowing our customers to go online, get a quote and receive follow-up within 24 hours. Our goal is to have equipment shipped within two weeks of the order.”

Built to meet or exceed JIS Class 1 accuracy standards, a rigid welded steel frame minimizes deflection, maintains higher accuracy and extends tooling life. Precision machined gears, forged steel crankshafts and other drivetrain components are designed for smooth power transmission, quiet operation and long life.


The press builder draws on the support of another company with long experience: Schuler Inc. “We source our tooling from Schuler-owned Aaweba,” Swartz says. “BCN Technical Services manufactures all Bliss parts to the original OEM drawings and stocks nearly 700,000 press parts in [a] 150,000-sq.-ft. Hastings, Michigan, factory. This depth of network allows us to expand from an individual press to a full system.”

In 2016 Bliss, alongside Schuler, displayed a new Bliss 250-metric ton press with advanced controls designed for the North American market. It was the first new press Bliss had designed in decades. At Fabtech 2017, Bliss again teamed with Schuler to demonstrate a 125-metric ton Bliss stamping press with a Bliss coil feed system. The new Bliss C1-125 single-point gap frame mechanical press featured Allen-Bradley controls, a fast-acting hydraulic overload system, Ross valves, Siemens drive motor, Graco lubrication, an OMPI clutch, flywheel brake and other standard features.

The C-frame press was paired with a new Bliss model B300 compact coil feed system for a width of up to 300 millimeters.

FFJ 0218 stamping image3

Bliss demonstrates a C-frame press paired with its new B300 compact coil feed system able to handle material up to 300 mm wide.

Parts and service

Bliss has access to more than $10 million worth of inventoried parts, plus offers a wide range of services. “We can take a drawing, make tooling and match a customer’s needs to our inventory stock,” Swartz says. “We also provide finance services as part of our package.”

An Allen Bradley platform configures presses for the Internet of Things (IoT), providing access to a plethora of data about conditions impacting both the machine and the operator. Remote access and diagnostics shore up support. The technology also makes it easy for customers to add automation, such as robots programmed to load and unload small production cells.

Fabricators can see Bliss presses in final assembly and in a production environment at showrooms in Hastings, Michigan, Canton, Michigan, and Dublin, Georgia.  “The Canton facility runs a demonstration that features a Bliss press running a preform operation for an automotive component,” Swartz says. “We get a lot of requests for customer demonstrations. Hastings remains our [top] location for customers who want to see our inventory and how we make our presses. Companies ask for a quote, they visit our showroom and we deliver a press. They find the process quick and easy.”

But the most frequently heard question comes from fabricators who are expanding. “They want to know how to add capacity,” he says. “We are able to sit down with them, assess their needs and then tailor a press or system that fits.” FFJ



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