The art of press brake bending is sometimes unjustifiably underestimated.
Companies, sometimes unconsciously, tend to concentrate their economic commitments in other parts of the production chain.
For example, technical offices are often state-of-the-art and equipped with the latest tools, while the press brakes used are old and hyper-economical.
Sheet metal is a living material that presents a range of objective difficulties during the bending process: underestimating it is an own goal for the company and can become very expensive in the long term.
Fortunately, technology has made huge strides, allowing some manufacturers to make the best use of it and develop efficient equipment.
If press brakes can now be considered mature machines from an operational and structural perspective, we cannot say the same of the equipment used to enhance them and increase their performance.
So, what equipment is essential in a press brake?
A hybrid system that makes it accurate and green
For most processing, a hybrid system of the latest generation guarantees an indisputable energy saving and can position the top beam with an accuracy in the order of thousandths of a millimetre.
These are all benefits that bring great economic savings for the company.
As is known, press brakes are subject to natural structural deformation during processing.
Bending of the top beam is the most obvious.
An automatic system with special sensors located in strategic areas of the press to ensure that the punches and dies are the right distance apart along the whole length of the working area is undoubtedly an invaluable benefit.
This ensures that a bent workpiece will have the same desired angle in the middle as at the ends.
A multi-axis backgauge
Having backgauges that can be positioned quickly and accurately almost anywhere has become a must.
In fact, the market increasingly demands production of high-quality complex workpieces in small batches: tapered bends, edges that are not parallel to the deformation line, processing stations and so on. With multi-axis backgauges, these and many other complex processes can be carried out more easily.
On other words: standardisation.
Being strictly linked to the human factor, bending efficiency depends on the skill and experience of the operator, as well as the quality of the machine used.
Where the company has a high personnel turn-over or a growth in volumes that must also be supported by an increase in personnel, the use of CAM can be extremely useful in bending.
In fact, in this case the know-how and experience of an expert can be “spread” over the new recruits in a short time, bringing great benefits to production.
User-friendly numerical control
In any case, even if there is no off-line programming, numerical control is the main tool that allows even unskilled press brake operators to interface effectively with their machines in a short time through a clear, simple and complete interface.
When the start-up time of a new machine is longer than expected, the problem is often due to difficulty in understanding and controlling an unclear system, which can create problems for operators, regardless of whether they are expert or inexperienced.