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Beckwood Press to build 3,500-ton bulge forming press for Wabash National Corp.

June 3, 2019 - Beckwood Press Company, Fenton, Missouri, manufacturer of hydraulic and servo-electric presses and automation systems, has been awarded a contract by Wabash National Corp., Lafayette, Indiana, to engineer and build a custom 3,500-ton hydraulic bulge forming press. Scheduled for delivery in October 2019, this machine will be used to form stainless steel and aluminum tank heads with diameters up to 156-in. for Wabash National’s tank and silo business.

The 3,500 ton, 285-in. x 216-in. press will weigh approximately 650,000 lbs when fully assembled and will be installed in a 6-ft. deep pit. The 160-in. by 160-in. 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 National’s existing tooling, the press will be able to bulge form using either air (pneumatic) or water (hydro). Beckwood will design a specialized closed loop pneumatic control system for the bulge forming operation, allowing Wabash National to form parts to specific dome heights while utilizing up to 750psi 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 lbs across a 30-ft 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 has been so engaged and supportive during this project,” said Wabash National Lead Manufacturing Engineer, Barb Yocum. “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 Wabash National press is one of the largest and heaviest machines we’ve ever built,” said Beckwood president, Jeffrey Debus. “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.”

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