Fluid Cell press critical asset at Robins

  • Published
  • By Jenny Gordon
  • Robins Public Affairs
One of the largest fluid cell presses resides in the 402nd Commodities Maintenance Group's work area in Bldg. 140.

It's a massive machine capable of performing quick, highly-pressurized molding of aircraft parts in need of replacement across the entire Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex.

"The work accomplished here is very important," said Donovan Warren, 573rd Commodities Maintenance Squadron work leader. "When this machine is not in use, it's definitely felt. A lot of things are made that only it can form."

Two rolling tray beds, about 18-feet long by 5-feet wide, are located on either side of the press. The beds can accommodate a part as small as a six-inch rib, all the way to a large JSTARS aircraft skin. Once an appropriate tooling part is covered with a rubber mat on a tray bed, it's rolled away and disappears under what looks like an automated rolling pin.

"The mat lies between each part. Basically it conforms to the shape of the mold," said Warren.

What you can't see from the outside is a large, soft rubber bladder filled with highly-pressurized fluid that presses flat metal blanks around the tool, molding a brand new part in a very short amount of time using 20,000 pounds of pressure.

"It forms parts under pressure using hydraulic oil," said Warren. "It rolls inside, pressurizes, the bladder comes down, and when it decompresses, it comes out."

Depending on a part's thickness, the cycle time inside the press can be anywhere from a few seconds to a minute and a half. Thousands of parts are manufactured each year.

Once the process is complete, the part makes its way down the line to be treated and cleaned, eventually making its way to its final destination.