Beckwood Press Co. will supply Ducommun’s Parsons, Kansas, facility with two new highly customized presses for hot-forming titanium, one with closed-loop monitoring.

The first new 200-ton press will hot-form titanium parts for several aircraft, including the Boeing 737MAX. The press will use temperatures of 1,400 1,600F to form the metal. A pneumatic dwell system will turn off its primary electric motor and pump during the extended dwell cycle to improved energy efficiency. Dual linear and pressure transducers in the main ram cylinders will enhance reliability and redundancy, while precision speed control regulates ram speeds as low as 1/8 inch per minute.

The second new press, at 570 tons, will make titanium structures for Airbus A320s. In addition to hot forming, it will do super plastic forming, using argon gas and molds to shape the parts. An automatic insulated door will load and unload it without adversely affecting operating temperatures, while a bed shuttle system loads and unloads parts and tooling. Beckwood’s proprietary Active Level Control system will use closed-loop monitoring to precisely control in real time the position or pressure of the cylinders.

Sales & Marketing Director Josh Dixon says Beckwood customizes all its high-performance presses. Simple machines might take only 18 to 22 weeks to design and build, while more complex equipment could take more than 40 weeks. With the ramp-up in Boeing and Airbus production, Beckwood is seeing increasing demand for its hot-forming and superplastic-forming presses.

Beckwood offers Active Level Control for closed-loop monitoring on several of its machines. The technology monitors cylinder position and pressure data and automatically synchronizes the cylinders’ movements. The resulting precision in part manufacture may not be necessary in all industries but can be essential to aerospace applications, Dixon says.