As a small-business owner, you know that your company's profitability often has a lot to do with making full use of the equipment you have on hand. When your shop or assembly area includes a machine shop hydraulic press, you are positioned to perform a wide variety of work. If your business slows down in your primary area of expertise, consider expanding your services or partnering with nearby companies to meet the needs of other industries.

Machine Shop Hydraulic Press

A machine shop hydraulic press is a large machine that uses hydraulics to compress materials in a variety of applications. Like most shop equipment, hydraulic presses range in quality from basic models that cost a few hundred dollars to sophisticated presses that cost thousands of dollars. Types of hydraulic presses include:

  • H-frame presses
  • Laminating presses
  • Arbor presses
  • Pneumatic presses
  • C-frame presses 

Shop Press Drivers, Plates and Accessories

One way to upgrade a basic shop press and increase its usefulness is through using a variety of shop press drivers, plates and accessories. If you have a 6- to 20-ton hydraulic shop press, these can increase the durability, reliability, functionality, speed and stability of your unit so that you can get more use out of it.

Accessories that could make your existing press more useful include:

  • 4x4 lumber, cut to size: holds wood projects in place or keeps plates parallel 
  • Pipe welded to the center of a steel plate: can act as a centered press plate
  • Steel bed plates: endure more force than cast-iron plates
  • Steel press brake: helps you bend steel projects on the shop press
  • Shop press drivers: sockets, punch driver kits, pipes, bearing driver sets
  • New bottle jack: upgrade for a faster pneumatic jack
  • Handwheel: for greater ease of turning on a pneumatic jack
  • Casters: make it easier to move the hydraulic shop press
  • Stoppers for height adjustment pins: add stability for big projects 
  • Pins to keep plates in place: keep plates from slipping during projects

Typical Shop Press Uses

Provided that your small business has a regular shop press with adequate accessories, some shop press uses to consider include:

  • Glued woodworking projects
  • Metalwork 
  • Holding welding projects steady
  • Punching
  • Straightening uneven metal parts
  • Flattening warped parts
  • Separating rusted parts
  • Crafts, such as sword-making
  • Compressing food and other goods for sale
  • Crushing used oil filters to remove excess oil
  • Automobile part construction
  • Jewelry-making
  • Reloading ammunition
  • Crushing cans
  • Bending brackets

Each of these applications can help your business create additional income. Keep in mind that the more resistant a material is to force, the more force a shop press needs to exert to get the job done.

A small 6-ton press might be useful for jewelry making, but it won't get you far if you need to bend a steel beam for construction purposes. If you have a strong machine shop hydraulic press, you might need it to be adjustable if you want to work on delicate projects like sword-making, jewelry or compressing food for sale.

Generating New Business 

If you own an automobile shop but want to increase income during a time when sales are slow, you can use your shop press to help you do that. Consider networking with local artisans or other shops that might be willing to pay you to:

  • Crush their oil filters
  • Crush their shop cans
  • Pack their goods for sale
  • Straighten warped materials to make them usable
  • Glue projects for them

You might also charge to help other businesses customize their shop presses through upgrading components and increasing speed and durability. Consulting and apprenticeship programs are other ideas for additional income that could make use of your shop press. If you make wood or metal projects, local yard sale sites or artisan marketplaces are reliable ways to get your goods into the hands of consumers.