As an alternative to deep drawing, the pressing of metal parts using a polymer pad or block to form a shape, has many advantages.
- Very low part tooling cost – typically 5-10% of the cost of tools for deep drawing
- Tooling is quick to produce, facilitating prototypes and the timely launch of products on to the market
- Seamless and uniform shaping, particularly suitable for curves and round shapes, with a high-quality interior finish
- Can be used with any thickness of sheet metal
- Additional properties can be ‘pressed in’ to the metal, such as corrugation to provide reinforcement.
The use of a polymer block for pressing metal parts dates back to the early years of the 20th century, but it was after the second world war that the Wheelon process, still in use today, was developed. Originally neoprene press blocks were used, but these had disadvantages and were gradually replaced with polyurethane. Whilst having advantages over the old neoprene blocks, polyurethane still does not offer optimal performance in this type of application.
The advantages of rubber press blocks and pads
At Dexine Leyland we manufacture precision press blocks and pads from high-quality natural rubber. These rubber blocks offer all the advantages of polyurethane, such as abrasion and oil resistance, but with superior cut and gouge resistance. This gives extended life in operation; where a polyurethane block would fail due to gouging from the metal tooling surrounding it, a rubber press block’s superior cut and gouge resistance will allow it to continue for many more cycles, in some cases doubling the time before a replacement is required.
In short, rubber press blocks offer the best combination of cost and performance, being economical to produce, offering superior performance for longer, and having lower lifetime cost than other alternatives.
We can produce any size and shape of natural rubber press block, including precision shapes and very large blocks up to 394mm thick, 2743mm long and 1220mm wide for applications such as car body panels, aircraft wings and train bodies.
We are also able to reduce operating costs further by refurbishing old press blocks, stripping away the old rubber and bonding new on to the existing metal parts.