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The joy of press shops

1 year ago

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David Twohig | Engineer


14 April 2023

Automotive stamping presses. I hereby declare my love for them. I’ve been lucky enough to visit quite a few car factories all around the world, from dark and grimy ex-Soviet Bloc industrial gulags to spanking new factories in Asia that were as efficient as an operating theatre, probably cleaner and a whole lot faster.

I love car plants in general, but I always get a special thrill from visiting the press shop, where the main body panels are stamped out of steel or aluminium. Even when my business did not take me into the press shop itself, I’d always find an excuse to walk by, just to feel the earth shiver under the impact of the multi-thousand-ton hammers being wielded inside the building by gargantuan electrohydraulic muscles: the forge where the roof or bonnet of someone’s new pride and joy was being beaten into the curves that its designer had lovingly crafted. It always gives me a buzz. I can feel the little hairs stand up on the back of my neck just thinking about it.

Now that I’ve come clean, I’ll try to figure out why I like them so much. It’s not as if I’m a body engineer, even less a press or stamping specialist. I’m a sparky…and we sparkies have no real idea of just how metal is bent and stretched. So as far as I can figure out, I think my love for the press shop goes back to one of the first on-the-job experiences I had 30 years ago.

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