Millions of people visit health clubs to work out on stationary bikes and treadmills every day. In contrast, only several thousand people get their daily exercise by actually assembling these pieces of equipment.

Life Fitness is a leading manufacturer of this equipment and employees hundreds of people at five plants in the United States and Hungary. There, the assemblers build bikes, treadmills and many other types of fitness machines. At a sixth facility, in Franklin Park, IL, workers take welded and other components and assemble them into cardiovascular equipment.

A few years ago, Life Fitness needed to upgrade the assembly press at its Franklin Park plant but had a limited amount of money to spend. Not only that, the company required a press that could join two types of subassemblies (bearing-and-hub, bearing-and-pulley), and came equipped with precise force monitoring to verify that the proper amount of pressure was applied to each subassembly.

After some research, the plant’s senior manufacturing engineer got in touch with Air-Hydraulics Inc., a Jackson, MI-based supplier of standard and custom hydraulic and pneumatic presses. At the meeting, Air-Hydraulics offered to provide a high-quality press that meets all of Life Fitness’s operational requirements and was within budget.

The model Air-Hydraulics recommended was its C-400 air-over-oil press equipped with the supplier’s EDP-1 control mechanism. Capable of three operation modes, this press produces 10 tons of force with 100 psi of compressed air. It has a 4-inch overall stroke and a 2-inch stroke adjustment. It features an anti-rotation ram guide, a 14.43-inch daylight opening, 6.25-inch throat depth, heavy-duty steel welded C-frame construction and a platen cut-out for fixture and part accessibility.

To initiate the press stroke, the operator simultaneously pushes and holds down button actuators (set at an ergonomic height) at each side of the press. Releasing one or both actuators returns the press ram to its home position.

The standard mode offers neither data indication nor monitoring, whereas mode number two allows for short cycles via an E-FI fault circuit. A sensor within the circuit initiates an adjustable press dwell timer that automatically returns the ram. To reset the press, the operator must press the flashing switch on the right side of the machine.

A third mode utilizes the TQM-700 force monitoring system, which can be used with a load cell or sensors. In the former setup, the system monitor displays a four- or six-digit peak force value on each press cycle.

When a value outside the force presets (high or low) is displayed, the monitor flashes and an alarm indicator turns on. This means that a suspect nonconforming part or assembly has taken place. Pushing this button resets the display.

Franklin Park plant managers like that the TQM-700 is easy to install and integrate with the C-400 press. They say the monitoring system has improved product quality and increased productivity due to less downtime.

For more information on hydraulic presses, call 800-837-4355 or visit