Chinese Presses VS American Press

Ever wonder if it’s worth it to make sure your die cutting press has a “Made in the USA” sticker?

You’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t buy Chinese die-cutting presses, but have you ever wondered why that really is? Well here’s a side-by-side comparison to make things easier. Even though wire gauge, hose, fittings, and other lesser components, can also cause trouble, we’ll just be focusing in on the most vital components.

Cutting Depth: Cutting depth has been a serious issue for some time. Many companies attempting to use Chinese machines have had difficulty with tolerances- forcing them to shim their dies, or finish the cut by hand. Chinese presses measure their cutting depth by time. YES TIME! Does something about that seem off to anybody else?  

Logic control: A microcontroller can definitely have its uses, but microcontrollers can be programmed and hooked up in a plethora of ways, making it difficult to know where to start when there’s an issue. How the machine runs can vary based on which electrician wired it up. PLC’s offer reliability and consistency from machine to machine. Using a PLC also makes customizing functions much easier for special projects.

Applying and releasing pressure: Have you ever noticed that Chinese die-cutting presses stall a lot? This is because Chinese presses use an under-rated motor paired with a flywheel to apply a certain tonnage. Getting the flywheel moving at startup is a big job for such a small motor and wears down the motor quickly. This also means the machine only knows how to apply the full amount of pressure for a certain period of time and then release. American Clicker Presses come with a pressure relief valve designed to relieve pressure when an attempt is made to apply more pressure than is needed, or than the machine is intended for. This means no stalling, and never maxing out the motor’s capacity. This gets you the intended lifespan out of your motor.

Hydraulics: China has actually done fairly well in the hydraulics market. There are definitely some great options in China for typical hydraulic applications. The only problem is that a clicker press is not exactly a typical application for hydraulic cylinders. Clicker press manufacturers overseas simply connect the head-support post to the hydraulic piston which causes the piston to move back and forth with the head as it swivels. As the piston moves in this pattern, it causes accelerated wear on the hydraulic seals. This shortens the lifespan of the cylinder by at least half of what it was intended for.

Warranty: A machine’s warranty is a big deal- especially when you’re going to have one of the above items go horribly wrong. Most Chinese-made presses have a 90-day warranty, but if you read the fine-print (that usually means you have to speak Chinese), you will find that they are often not allowed to disclose the identity of the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), so you can’t get parts directly from the person who made the component and the clicker press manufacturer won’t swap it out for you unless you ship it back to China. This is common ground for refusing service- even within the 90-day warranty period.

This may sound like a horror story, but it is not uncommon.

If you’re going to hedge your bets in an industry, this would be the one. Nearly 3 out of 5 calls we receive are people trying to find parts for unsupported machines. Many of those making the call are doing so within just months of having received a “new” machine. 

There are plenty of reasons that manufacturing is moving back to The United States. If you need more reasons to make sure your die cutting press has a “Made in the USA” sticker on it, check out some of our other articles!

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