Power Press Testing

Power presses are amongst some of the most dangerous machines, causing many accidents when not properly used or maintained. ISI has the expertise to identify and report any issues in power presses to ensure their safe operation.

What is Power Press Testing?

Under PUWER 1998, a "power press" is defined as a press or press brake for the working of metal by means of tools or for die proving. This type of equipment is power driven, embodying a flywheel and a clutch. Power Press Testing is carried out to ensure power presses are maintained for safe use.

PUWER states that power presses with certain guards must be inspected at least every 6 months. Power presses with fixed guards or enclosed tooling should be examined every 12 months by a competent professional. 

Power press examinations are referred to in the Health and Safety Executive Guidance Note HSG236. To thoroughly examine one, all of its internal and external parts must be carefully inspected. The inspection should be conducted using non-destructive methods, such as magnetic particle testing.

Close-up view of an industrial power press machine.

PUWER 1998: Power Press Testing

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998 was introduced to ensure the safe use of workplace equipment and machinery, including power presses. The regulations apply to employers, employees, and self-employed who may own or operate work equipment.

Regulation 32 of PUWER covers the safe use of power presses, specifically establishing requirements for the applicable machines and periodic examination. Such inspections must be thorough, applying to all parts of the machine, and carried out by a independent assessor.

Inspector wearing blue overalls and white protective gloves examining an industrial power press machine.

HSG236 Thorough Examination

A maintenance and thorough examination (HSG236) will detect and report deterioration that may affect the safety of people working with or nearby the machinery. Results from the inspection will inform actionable steps to eliminate or control any identified risks.

Deterioration may include:

  • Wear
  • Corrosion
  • Cracking
  • Vibration
  • Overheating / burning of parts
  • Deterioration of hydraulic, pneumatic, or electrical systems

The inspection of electrical systems involves checking electrical control circuits. This process requires having current circuit diagrams available for the assessor.

An examination is required initially, on commissioning of the power press. At this stage, specific tests will take place to ensure the equipment will operate safely, reliably, and as intended. The machine should then be periodically inspected for further issues.

Common Defects of Power Presses 

If not examined regularly, power presses can be amongst some of the most dangerous machinery used in the industry. Some of the more common defects found in Power Press Testing include:

Damaged Protective Guards

Protective guards are pullback safety bars that prevent the operators hands from coming into contact with the press. Damaged or disabled guards pose a significant risk by enabling entanglement with moving machine parts.

Broken Foot Shroud

Foot shrouds are fitted to prevent the accidental use of the press, ensuring only deliberate operation can be performed. If the foot shroud is damaged, the press could run without proper safety measures and become a potential danger.

Cracks in the Clutch Key

The clutch key experiences dynamic stress during operation, leading to increased wear and tear over time. Ineffective clutch keys can cause a non-promulgated loss of production, which can be prevented by early repair.

Damaged Cable Glands & Hydraulic Leaks

Hydraulic leaks create an increased risk of slips and falls for operators and nearby workers. This also can potentially cause a fire, especially if there is an ignition source nearby. Damaged cable glands could be that ignition source.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a power press examination?

Power presses are high-risk and dangerous machines. A power press examination will assess the condition of the machinery to ensure it is safe to use and work around.

How often should a power press be inspected?

A power press with a fixed guard or enclosed tooling should be inspected at least every 12 months. The examination should be carried out by a competent professional using non-destructive methods.

Are power presses covered by PUWER?

Yes! PUWER includes specific requirements for mobile work equipment, including power presses. These regulations are important for ensuring the legality and safety of your power press operations.

What is the difference between a power press and a hydraulic press?

A hydraulic power press uses the building pressure of hydraulic fluid to create the force to compress and shape materials. A mechanical power press, on the other hand, changes circular motion into linear motion using a crankshaft, flywheel, clutch, and fixed / moving plungers.

Please call our Power Press Testing specialists on 01675 481779 for further advice and information.