Improperly adjusted Air Counter Balance Pressure will cause excessive wear and damage to your stamping press. Crazy, when you think about it, that a component that cost less than $50.00 creates damage that can cost tens of thousands of dollars in damage? The answer is simple, human error and lack of proper training.

In my 35 + years in the stamping industry, I have seen just about every type of problem that you can imagine. I am happy to share these suggestions that can save metal stamping and fabrication companies money and downtime. If you would like to arrange on On-Line meeting with your press setup, operators and maintenance teams just shoot us an email to

Below you will find some bullet points on the methods and benefits to be sure you have the optimum Air Counter Balance pressure setting for each die.

Air Counter Balance (ACB) 101

  • ACB Cylinders are intended to equalize the upper die weight
  • ACB Cylinders are intended to pull up connection points in the press drive system
  • Static pressure settings when slide is not moving
  • Dynamic pressure settings may need to be increased depending on strokes per minute

Types of Damage that will occur when ACB System is not set correctly

  • When pressure is set to low, all connection points: (crank bushings, connecting rod bushings, ball screw threads, ball seat retaining plate) will drop and this will cause a hammering effect on each connection point. This will also cause the main motor to work harder and draw more amps on the up stroke.
  • When pressure is set to high, this will cause the main motor to work harder and draw more amps on the down stroke.

Best Practices and Suggestions for Proper ACB settings

  • Add a metal plate to the upper die shoe and indicate upper die weight
  • On the I-PRESS Control from Sutherland you can enter proper setting on the job set up screen
  • If you have an AMP meter on your main motor, you can use this to gage when you have the optimum pressure setting. By watching the AMP meter, adjust ACB pressure until gage has minimal movement when running at the desired strokes per minute.
  • Be sure ACB cylinders are getting the proper amount of lubrication to keep seal and packings in good condition and prevent scoring of the piston rod.
  • Drain ACB Supply Surge Tanks weekly of any moisture.

Applications & Makes of Presses that Require Proper ACB Setting

  • Hand Fed, Stage Tooling, Blanking Dies, Progress Dies, Transfer Dies
  • Sutherland, Schuler, Weingarten, PTC, Blow, Eagle, Aida, Komatsu, Stamtec, Chin Fong, Seyi

Mark Sutherland

President of Sutherland Presses, 36 Years - Senior VP of KC Presses, 5 Years

We are the pioneer of Pacific Rim metal forming lines dating back to the late 1950'™s. We are specialist in Metal Forming, Stamping & Forging processing lines.

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