Press brakes are an essential piece of equipment in heavy industries. They are used to bend metal sheets to manufacture different parts of the final product. However, setting up and configuring these machines is a humongous job. Moreover, if we look at the landed cost, it keeps on increasing because the other units won’t work until the metal is bent in the required manner.
This means that the plant won’t be manufacturing anything until the setup is complete, which drives the inventory management cost. Additionally, press brake machines will shell out profit only if it is producing completed and correct parts within the stipulated time. The efficiency of the machine will depend largely on the setup.
Another way of driving the cost down with a press brake is to set it up in a way that is ideal for most parts. This will mean that you won’t have to change the setup for different parts, thereby saving immense time and energy. In this article, we will talk about how to set up and configure the press brake machine efficiently.
Before jumping on the setup part, the machine operator must be aware of the drawings of the parts that need to be produced. For this, careful reviewing of the blueprint is required. However, if the parts have already been produced in the past, reviewing can be skipped. While reviewing, the following things must be noted:
- Flange tolerance and dimensions.
- Material type
- Angle tolerances and angles required
- Blank side
- Inside radius of angles
Select your tools
The operator’s due diligence is required during tool selection. Your choice of tools will depend on the drawing. Typically, air bending, coining, and bottom bending are used in the process. Now, you must keep in mind that the tools have to be accurate; otherwise, the setup won’t be efficient.
For this, the accuracy of the tools must be at least the same as claimed by the manufacturer of the tool. Moreover, do not work with worn-out tools because they are highly inaccurate and affect the efficiency of the final press brake setup.
If you are a press brake operator, tonnage determination is an indispensable part of your configuration job. If you are going to use air bending, refer to the tonnage charts available for the purpose.
In the case of bottom bending, the tonnage requirement is usually four times the air-bending tonnage. Similarly, for coin-based applications, the industry standard is eight times the tonnage requirement of air bending. Remember, it is crucial to determine the tonnage requirement before you start the bending process.
Tooling position on the bed
The tooling position on the bed is usually on the enter, which, most of the time, has the optimum concentrated load limit in relation to the tonnage requirement. However, there may be times when the tonnage requirement exceeds the load limit.
In this case, you can execute the bending process off-center. But off-center tooling is only possible if the press brake manufacturer mandates so. Therefore, you can consider the off-center tooling option, but it has to be in accordance with the guide or the manual provided by the press brake manufacturer.
Tooling installation is the most important step in the setup process. Also, it is very time-consuming, which affects the profitability of the business. Most press brakes have a manual clamp for tooling installation. Loosen the clamps and slide the tool into position. The lower tool has to be installed first, and then the upper tool.
Remember, the distance above the die should be more than the height of the punch. Next, you will have to slide the punch over the die while keeping the tang behind the clamp during the process.
The procedure is to be repeated till the safety tag is on the punch. Once the safety tag is achieved, tighten the clamp bars against the tang. Next, you will have to lower the ram so that the punch is seated and the die is properly aligned. Lastly, don’t forget to tighten the die set screws and clamp bars.
Press brake setup is a costly process because the plant sits idle till the parts are produced. Accuracy and efficiency are the paramount requirements of the operators. Any carelessness can trigger a chain reaction, and the manufacturer will end up bearing heavy losses.
Therefore, when the setup is complete, you must program the press brakes and conduct a test bend to see if you are getting accurate results. Repeat this process until maximum accuracy is achieved.