Hydraulic Presses

Developing solutions

By Russ Olexa

All living things on the planet are in a constant struggle to survive and thrive. Invariably, the most adaptable plants and animals eventually win out over the species unable to respond to changes in their environment. And at its core, this evolutionary concept of "only the strong survive" is just another way of saying "those who upgrade stay competitive."

Greenerd Press & Machine Co. Inc., Nashua, N.H., has years of manufacturing service experience and understands the importance of keeping machinery upgraded. Founded in 1883, Greenerd began by selling Robert Greenerd’s revolutionary invention, the Arbor press, and in 1934, it introduced its first hydraulic press. Today, while Greenerd still maintains a robust Arbor line, it’s made its name again with its varied and technologically advanced line of hydraulic presses.

"We work in many different industries," says Tom Lavoie, applications manager for Greenerd, "such as the metals industry, the casting, forging and food service industries ... basically, if it’s a hydraulic application, we can propose a solution."

Retaining relevancy
Greenerd approaches its press engineering with a distinct focus on usability and customization. Be it a 6-ton, four-post press or a 10,000-ton straight-sided press, its machines can be built to meet almost any customer need.

"We tend to design around the application," says Lavoie. "We try to detail that press to be the best one for a particular application. But if a company plans to run a variety of applications on the press, we can design a press that allows them to do a variety of jobs on it, whether it be blanking or stamping or forming or deep-draw. Our ability to design around the customer’s specifications is our strongest point."

Greenerd’s presses are highly standardized and are built to last, as evident in the use of components with higher-than-necessary capacities to avoid the wear and tear that comes with running press components at their maximum threshold.

"We’re never running up at the higher end of any of our components," says Lavoie. "This includes valves, hoses and cylinders--any of those types of items. Whatever that rating is, we put a nice safety factor on top of that. If you’ve designed a system that runs at 3,000 psi and you get a pressure spike--and every hydraulic press will get pressure spikes--what you don’t want is a valve that’s rated for 3,000 psi. If you’re getting a constant spike, that’ll eventually fatigue or crack the manifold or the valve."

Greenerd has also developed ways to connect to its presses while away from the plant. Its new pressport Web-based press remote access technology allows users to access critical press data anywhere, anytime, which saves time, money and product. Users can also obtain real-time status updates and receive alarm notifications for their operations.

Because of their versatility and up-to-date technology, Greenerd’s machines are attractive choices for companies looking to upgrade from mechanical or otherwise outdated presses.

"There’s really a wide variety of reasons why a company would change over," says Lavoie. "Part quantities and job quantities aren’t nearly the same size as they were 10 or 20 years ago when mechanical presses were widely used. By converting over to hydraulic, we’re able to run a wide variety of dies in the same press, which you can’t always do on a mechanical press because of the shut height, the stroke of the press, the tonnage of the press or where the tonnage is being used. With a hydraulic press, it doesn’t matter--we can use tonnage anywhere in the stroke.

"For a lot of older companies or companies that have older machines, it’s either safety reasons or that the machines are at a point where it’s time to get rid of them, or because they’re looking at doing something a little more versatile. By going with the hydraulic, they can often take jobs they were running on 30, 40, 50 or 60 mechanicals and put them on a 10- or 20-ton hydraulic."

A chorus of praise
Upgrading to Greenerd was a logical step for Price Industries, Suwanee, Ga., a supplier of HVAC products and equipment, once its mechanical full-revolution presses and air-over-hydraulic presses were unable to be adapted to new safety regulations. After purchasing its first Greenerd press in the early 2000s, Price now has 36 Greenerd presses between its two facilities, ranging in capacity from 5 tons to 75 tons. And remarkably, Price’s only significant component failure has been a single safety relay.

This dependability and consistency has created a chorus of praise at Price.

"Ask and you shall receive," says Mike Wise, engineering manager at Price, of Greenerd’s dedication to meeting customer needs. "Usually you have to push a little bit, but they’ve made more than one trip down here to talk about different ways to do things. And we even have them going in different directions that they hadn’t planned on. It’s a good relationship on both ends. It’s a partnership as far as I’m concerned."

From an operational standpoint, Billy Googe, tooling engineer, points out the standardization of the presses and the ease of use.

"Before, if we had one press go down, it was hard to pull that tooling out and try to match it up in another press," says Googe. "With the presses we have now, it’s nothing to take one out and move it to another press. Sometimes it’s hard for operators to change over to a new piece of equipment, but our operators have adapted well. It’s been an easy transition. They’re a lot safer than what we’ve been using, and that makes our job a lot easier to do."

Chip Bitting, facilities manager, gives Greenerd sales representative Dave Cooper and the entire Greenerd team high marks for the company’s consistency and dedication to technical support during the rare occasion that it’s needed.

"These presses are extremely reliable," says Bitting. "We have little to no trouble with them, and the support that we receive from Greenerd is excellent. They’re receptive and usually have parts in stock, with one- or two-day lead times on most everything. They’re always there when you need them."

Finally, Ron Schmidt, maintenance technician, highlights the standardization, as well as the open technology. "When you buy equipment from the manufacturer, often there’s a ‘black box’ component to it," says Schmidt. "You don’t know how it actually works. With Greenerd, they use off-the-shelf, standardized PLCs, and we can see everything that’s going on in that press. That’s a big plus for our maintenance guy."

Ultimately, Greenerd chalks up its engineering and customer service successes to keeping in close communication with its customers and being willing to work with them to create unique solutions. This hasn’t only allowed the 125-year-old company to survive, but thrive as well.

"It really comes down to understanding what your customer needs are during the evaluation, design and build process," says Lavoie. "It’s about getting close with the customer and the application so that when you build the press, you and your customer know exactly what you’re building." FFJ


  • Greenerd Press & Machine Co. Inc.
    Nashua, N.H.
    phone: 603/889-4101
    fax: 603/889-7601

  • Price Industries
    Suwanee, Ga.
    phone: 770/623-8050
    fax: 770/623-6404


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