Presses are ubiquitous in factories around the world because they are very versatile. They are used in manufacturing processes such as; shearing, drawing, stamping, extrusion, bending, assembly, and punching. That versatility means that presses come in all shapes and sizes and can be used for large scale industrial purposes and also small component assembly processes.
Even with the variance in application, the main components of a press are very similar across the spectrum of use. The bed (or anvil) is the stationary base of the press. The blank stock material is generally placed on the bed. The platen (also known as a plunger, slide, or ram) is the moving part of the press and it generally contains a die that strikes the stock material and forms it to the desired shape.
There are several different methods of creating the power that enables the motion of the platen.
No matter what the power source may be, the main safety hazard with any press is that the operator gets caught at the point of operation. Pinching, crushing, amputation, and even death can be caused if the operator is caught between the press and the stationary bed.
This is a general list of tasks that an operator might be responsible for.
This means that the operator is constantly putting themselves in the hazard zone of the press. Mechanical failures of the press, accidental cycling of the press, and operator error can be causes of point of operation injuries.
In order to alleviate the safety hazards inherent to presses, there are many safety features generally in place. If none of these safety features are being used on a press, the likelihood of an injury is much higher than if they are being used properly.
There are many available safety features to avoid point of operation injuries on presses. However, the nature of the machine is still very dangerous, so operators must also be well trained in order that they correctly use the safety features and avoid the very serious safety hazards that presses present.