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Today's Hydraulic Shears

Jul 23, 2008
Shearing refers to the process by which part of a metal plate is removed by applying a tool through it at a high level of pressure. There are several different types of shear machining that are available. Two common types are punching machines, which make small discs, and blanking machines that are used to make small metal items such as washers.

There are distinct differences between shear machining and ordinary direct tool machining, and you should be aware of these. Ordinary machining uses a single or multiple point tool to remove cuttings from a metal sheet or block. In order to reach the required dimensions, the tool is used repeatedly on the metal until the desired result is obtained. Shear machining uses the tool's cutting edge to remove metal from the plate. This tool rips the metal from the plate as extreme pressure is applied. The metal plate is contacted only once by the tool.

Hydraulic or mechanical machines can perform shear machining. Hydraulic shears are the ones you will want to use for accurate, quick cutting and scoring of metal sheets. These shears are most efficient for factories with high volumes of metal fabrication. Shops needing serious intense pressure quite often prefer hydraulic shears. Advantages of these shears include low maintenance and continual, quick, quiet usage. Hydraulic shear machines require less space than mechanical shear machines, yet produce the same amounts of pressure.

Because such high pressure is to be applied to it, the metal is held tightly by clamps once it is put into place inside the hydraulic machine. This prevents any shifting from taking place. If you require a smooth and even 90 degree cut, it is necessary to use a squaring arm or back gauge. Grinding the edges can get rid of the tiniest of burrs formed by the blade edge. Hydraulic shears will leave marks from the holding clamps and cutting blades. Although these are small, they will need to be removed or compensated for.

There are a quite a few different manufacturers that make hydraulic shear machines in various models, accommodating a wide variety of plate sizes. You can apply different size metal cuts, and scrap can often be reused. The hydraulic shears that are available today look entirely different from the typical shearing machines of the past. Housed beautifully inside a large stand alone unit, the machine operates very quietly.

Several sets of sharp blades inside the machines are used to cut the metal into specified shapes and sizes. Most people have difficulty comprehending the incredible pressures the machine generates to cut metal within the beautiful compartment. Modern hydraulic shears are usually installed over-floor, so they can be relocated anywhere on the production line as required.

Hydraulic shear machines house all the actual shearing components, however one should still exercise caution while operating them. Keeping the blades sharp will not only maximize efficiency, but it will also prevent off-cuts. Ensure that all moving parts are lubricated and clean. If the right amount of hydraulic fluid is not maintained in the machine, it can lead to damage, so you want to be sure to keep the fluid at the correct level at all times.
About the Author
As a man who has spent the last 20 years in a machine shop, Michael Headingten is the best resource for information on metal bending equipment and angle roll. From plate rolls to press brakes, he has used them all and knows all of the find points of their production.
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