Maintenance is a key aspect of keeping a sheet metal press brake in good working condition, but is often overlooked.
Bear in mind that regular press brake maintenance will allow you to identify possible damage and faults that could affect its long-term efficiency.
You are well aware that detecting serious press brake operation issues early will allow you to avoid costly maintenance work.
Cleaning the machine and carrying out scheduled maintenance is easy, but also requires special care and attention.
This guide will show you the daily, weekly and monthly procedures we recommend. In addition, there is a list of procedures to be carried out at least once a year in order to keep your press brake in perfect working condition at all times.
Always bear in mind that these are routine procedures; for more serious problems, always rely on our VICLA qualified technicians.
Press brake maintenance: preparing the press brake
Before cleaning, you must prepare the machine to ensure your safety and that of your colleagues.
We recommend the following procedure:
- At the start of the work shift, inspect the machine and check that the table and die area are free of residues from the previous shift.
- Delimit the area with barriers and signs.
- Lower the mobile beam until the tip of the top tool touches the bottom tool. Keep the tools closed until all maintenance work is complete.
- Switch off the power supply and padlock the main disconnector switch on the electrical cabinet door.
- Turn the mains switch to the 0 position.
The five precautions to take during press brake maintenance.
When combined with correct press brake use, scheduled maintenance makes a significant difference to its performance and efficiency.
When carrying out maintenance or repair work, always follow the instructions in your press brake maintenance manual carefully.
Here is a generic list of precautions you should observe:
- Do not use solvents and flammable materials
- Take care not to disperse cooling lubricants in the environment
- Use suitable equipment to access the highest parts of the machine
- Do not climb on parts of the machine as they have not been designed to support people
- When the work is complete, reinstate and secure all safety devices and guards removed, opened or disabled previously
Scheduling press brake maintenance
Carry out the following checks at the end of the shift or working day:
- Check that the safety devices are working. For example, our VICLA press brakes are equipped with Lazersafe devices. They are optical safety devices fitted with lenses that focus laser beams to monitor the danger zone under the beam. The front lenses of the transmitter and receiver must be cleaned whenever you notice any traces of dust, grease, fingerprints, oil, stains or dirt.
- Remember to check that the three-position down pedal is working.
- Use a dry cloth to remove all processing residues. NEVER use compressed air and always protect your hands with neoprene or PVC gloves.
- Clean the tools, bed, supports and backgauge carefully. Do not forget to check any accessories installed on the machine.
- Make sure that the emergency stop button is working correctly.
- Check that the rear guard is working.
- Check the side guards.
- Check the filter clogging indicator. Replace the filter element if the vacuum switch pointer is on yellow.
- Clean the hydraulic pipes and components. Clean the outside of the hydraulic system (manifolds, valves, motor/pump unit, pipes, etc.) at least once a month.
This cleaning serves to identify possible leakage areas and reduce the risk of contaminants entering the system when replacing components. It also prevents a reduction in heat exchange between the system and environment.
- Visually inspect the fittings to ensure that they are sealed, and tighten them if necessary. Remember to check that the hydraulic circuit connections are tight after the first 160 hours of press brake operation.
Monthly maintenance of the rigid pipes, especially near fittings, pump and cylinders is important to identify leaks. Consider also the hoses connecting the pump to the system; replace them if there are any bulges.
- Oil level: remember to check this after any maintenance work on the hydraulic system.
- Clean the air filter on the compressed air tank.
- Clean and lubricate the guides of the mobile beam with a clean cloth every year.
- Air filter unit with condensate separators. Replace the oil separator micro-filter once a year or when the pressure drop reaches 1 bar.
- Change the oil in the hydraulic circuit. Clean the tank and replace the filter element in the oil filter.
In this guide we have seen how to keep your press brake in good working condition. In fact, a clean machine is also a monitored machine, because damage or small oil leaks can appear at any point.