Your Ultimate Guide To Grommet Press Machines

  • January 18, 2023

Grommet press machines come in a variety of sizes for different uses. Many users assume that it's a one-size-fits-all kind of situation when it comes to these machines. That's far from true. There are plenty of grommet machines on the market for different applications and different price points.

A  grommet machine is a simple tool designed to install a grommet into a piece of fabric like material or rigid material like plastic or metal.  The most common type of grommet press is a hand press. It has a body and a handle that is either pulled or pushed to exert force on the setting tools (called setting dies) that form the grommet and washer during the insertion process. 

Depending on the thickness of your material and the size of the grommet you need to set will dictate how big of a grommet press you will need to set the grommet without straining the operator or the machine.

Preparation of the Machine

Grommet machines have a firm base for maximum support as you work. Therefore, the first step is to identify a level and flat surface to set your machine.  Sometimes it is better to secure the hand press to a piece of board with a few bolts and nuts to make a stable work area.  The next step is to insert the dies into the press and secure them with locking screws which keep the dies in place in the machine. The male die, the one with the point goes into the bottom of the machine , and the female die goes into the top ram of the machine.  Most dies are slip-in dies and have a flat milled into the die shank  (the round part that goes into the machine). The flat part of the shank should be placed where the locking screw will touch it . This flat gives the locking screw a place to rest and helps keep the die firmly in place.  

Grommets can be used with or without a corresponding washer depending on your application. Most grommet applications use a washer for additional holding strength and must be used in fabrics, cloths, canvas etc.

 The Pressing Process

The first part of the setting process is to put the proper size hole in the material being grommeted. There are many different ways to make the hole and the method you use will depend largely on the material being grommeted.  Next, put the washer over the point on the bottom die. The bottom die should have a washer seat in it that centers the washer on the bottom die. Also note that most washers are not flat  and are beveled like a coffee cup saucer.  You want to put the washer with the raised edges facing upward just like a coffee cup saucer. Next put your material over the bottom point and then place the grommet with the barrel side down, flange or wide part up onto the bottom die point.

You now either pull or push down on the handle. The top dies will cradle the flange on the grommet and force it down the point of the bottom die, thru your material and then thru the washer. When the barrel of the grommet hits the seat in the bottom die, it will curl over like a donut against your washer and secure the grommet and washer onto the material.  It’s that easy. Most good hand presses will have an adjustable stop which limits how far you can push the handle and thus how tight it sets the grommet. This is an important part of the machine because it makes every setting that you do on the machine exactly the same once you have adjusted the stop..  All your pieces will be set with the same pressure and your grommets will be set properly, not too loose and not too tight.  If the grommet is set too tight it could cut your material or the grommet will be malformed and the result will be that it will be difficult to remove from the bottom die.  If the setting is too loose, the grommet will just fall out of the material.

Choosing The Right Machine

The main factor that should guide you in selecting a setting machine is how many settings you need to do a week. The types available are:

  • The basic hand press for low volume use.  If you are only setting a few hundred a day, a hand press is a very economical alternative to a hand drive set.  A $200 hand press will give you the same professional setting as a $14,000 fully automated machine.
  • The next step up for the low volume user would be  foot press that uses the force of your leg to do the setting. The advantage of a foot press over a hand press is that both your hands are free to hold the material while it is being grommeted.  A foot press is also capable of setting a larger grommet with less operator fatigue. 
  • An electric or air powered hand feed machine would be the next choice for someone doing 1 thousand to 5 thousand settings a week.  Although these machines still require the operator to place the grommets and washers by hand, the power assist makes setting the grommets extremely easy as no manual force is required of the operator.
  • Next would be an auto feed machine which would feed the grommet to the work.  There are two types of auto feeds. One that just feeds the grommet while the washer is hand fed or a dual feed machine that feeds both the grommets and washers.  For someone setting 5,000 pieces a week these machines although more expensive are very cost effective.  If you are setting over 5,000 grommets a week, these auto feed machines will pay for themselves in just the labor costs alone.

Use The Right Grommet

From a distance, grommets look alike. Upon closer inspection, however, you'll note that each grommet has a specific shape, use and size.  To select the correct grommet for your work, visit our grommet page for an explanation of all the available options.

Let Us Serve You

At Siska, Inc., we have an extensive knowledge of grommets as well as eyelets and other fasteners. What's more, we sell nothing but the highest quality grommets  at reasonable prices. Our committed team is always ready to offer a hand in case you aren't sure of what you  need. Please call us on 800-393-5381 today for knowledgeable and, courteous service!

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