Press Brake Technology in Metal Fabrication: Pros and Cons

I. Introduction

In the realm of metal sheet and mechanical engineering, the press brake is a key tool for transforming sheet metal into intricate shapes and designs.

This powerful machine can achieve precise bending and folding, utterly change the industry, and create mass products ranging from simple rackets to complex mechanical components.

However, it has restrictions too. Its series of specific advantages and disadvantages must be taken into consideration when manufacturers balance its usage.

Our passage aims to delve into the world of press brake to explore its pros and cons, making you understand the press brake comprehensively

in the metal sheet industry.

II. Understanding of Press Brake

press brake


A press brake is a machine specially designed for bending sheet metals, also one of the indispensable devices for the sheet metal industry.

Key Components and Functions

The frame and bed are the fundamentals of the press brake. They are made of heavy steel and withstand the force produced in the bending process. The bed is a horizontal surface on which the workpiece is placed. And the frame supports the ram and die.

The ram and die are essential parts of a press brake. The ram is a vertically moving part, which leaves pressure on the workpiece and makes it bend surrounding the die. Die is a changeable tool designed for ensuring the angle and parameters of the press brake.

The back gauge is also an important part of the press brake, which ensures the accurate location of the workpiece to bend. It is composed of many stop fingers aligned with curved lines and guides the workpiece to the correct location. The back gauge can be adjusted by hand or automatics to accommodate different bend sizes.

The main function of the controller includes bending parameters, monitoring pressure, and ensuring the machine operates within its specifications.

Main Types

Mechanical press brake

This is the most common type of press brake. The mechanism is operated by the electric motors inside them.

The motor offers energy to the flywheel and rotates the big flywheel at high speed. The operator controls the flywheel via the clutch.

The mechanical press brake is simple to operate especially in electronic equipment. It makes maintenance and operation easier.

Once the ram is connected, it must undergo the whole process. If the gate stroke is too large, the press brake may be locked, which is a potential hazard.

Pros: low cost, easy operation

Cons: restrictions on precision, power, and control

Hydraulic press brake

The hydraulic press brake uses hydraulic to push the oil cylinder down instead of a mechanical setting.

It can be equipped with multiple cylinders, which provides much convenience for operators to control the elbow, thus achieving high custom and precise bending.

Compared with the mechanical press brake, the hydraulic press brake offers more accurate bending and better control.

It can be easily adjusted to fit various thicknesses of metal and achieve intricate bending at steady movement. It is usually more expensive but is popular because of its higher performance and versatility.

Pros: higher precision, control, and force, and fits various materials

Cons: high cost, more complex operation and can’t exceed its rated tonnage

CNC press brake

The CNC press brake is highly custom and accurate and is controlled by computer technology to improve efficiency and control accuracy.

The skilled operators can input the data like bending angle, sheet thickness, and width to the controller to control the machine.

Pros: high accuracy and precision, easy operation and handle various shapes and angles

Cons: high cost, limitations with highly reflective or brittle materials

III. Press Brake Advantages and Disadvantages

press brake


Press brake features lots of advantages, making it indispensable for the metal sheet industry. And it plays a pivotal role in the metal sheet industry.

Easy operation: press brake is one of the most simple devices. Compared with other machines, it does not require highly skilled operators.

High accuracy: accuracy is the key to handling metals. The press brake can offer higher accuracy compared with other metal bending machines because it uses a punch and dies to form the metal, achieving metal bending at a precise angle.

More flexible: compared with other machines, the press brake can bend small components and large masses of metals. It features large flexibility in various applications due to its compatibility with multiple sizes of metal sheets.

Improve productivity: the press brake is more efficient than other methods of bending metals. It can bend many metals at one time, thus improving productivity.

Reduce material waste: compared with other devices, the press brake offers high accuracy and precision. This means less material waste, making it more efficient and cost-effective.

Low cost: the cost of the die used by press brake is relatively low, but has a long life span, which increases the economical accessibility in the process of metal sheet forming and bending.

Improved security: the press brake is safer than other metal bending methods. Because there is no need to heat the metal before bending, thus lowering the risk of injury. The modern press brake is equipped with many protective measures, such as laser sensors. When the operator gets hurt, the sensors will stop the metal operation process.

Versatility: the modern press brake can handle many shapes of elbows. What’s more, it can bend different thicknesses of metal sheets.

Used for prototyping: A key advantage of press brakes is their ease of setup and tool changeover, allowing for quick changeover and testing of different designs and shapes during prototyping.

Intelligent technology: CNC press brake offers advanced automatic solving solutions for bending metals, which makes modern press brake a very intelligent technology.

Crowning: when bending a long workpiece, there may be a noticeable deviation between the forming angles in the middle and the sides, causing uneven bending angles. However, the press brake features a crowning function to adjust each location of the angle, ensuring line bending and decreasing the requirement for manual adjustment and maintenance.


High initial cost: the press brake needs mass initial investment due to purchase and maintenance. Also, the machine requires specialized equipment and training, which may increase the initial cost of setting up the machine operation. It needs more energy and may improve the operation cost apparently. The press brake with automatic is expensive, which can reduce the small company to order High-end models.

Require high pressure: press brake needs high pressure to operate. This means press brake may be not suitable for thin materials due to high pressure may cause material deformation. Besides, the high pressure is dangerous. The press brake must be operated by skilled operators to use, thus the potential risks may be reduced.

Restricted to simple geometries: press brakes are also limited in the geometries they can create. Although they can create simple bends, they cannot create more complex shapes such as curves or spirals. Thus, if complex geometrical shapes need to be created, different methods may be required, such as stamping or hydroforming.

Need professional training: the press brake can be safely and effectively operated by professional training. The operator must receive proper training to know the working principle of the machine and how to set the material correctly. Additionally, the operators must know the related risks to high-pressure operations and how to escape injury.

Space requirement: the press brake has large sizes, thus more workshop area must be spared for machine placement.

Noise: there may be some noises produced when the press brake is operated. Thus, the operator needs an ear-protective device. Also, it can rouse vibration on the working spot.

Maintenance: the press brake needs regular maintenance and should be often cleaned to ensure the quality of products.

Risk of breaking during bending: during the bending process, the edges and corners of the material will develop burrs or oxide layers, which may cause the material to crack or break during the bending process.


How long does a press brake last?

The lifespan of a press brake is affected by most factors, including machine quality, maintenance practice, operation conditions, and working loading.

Generally, the well-maintenance press brake can be operated for several decades.

However, with time passing by, some components may need to replace regularly, such as a cylinder, or controller.

The durability of the press brake is influenced by bending material, bending frequency and complexity, machine tonnage ability, and the skill level of operators.

The mass usage, overloading and improper operations will accelerate the worn speed and premature failure.

To prolong the lifespan of the press brake, it is essential to maintain and care for the machine.

This includes proper lubrication, checking and replacing worn parts, machine calibration, and ensuring the hydraulic and electric systems are in good working order.

Also, obeying the operational guide and offering operating training is beneficial to prolong the user’s lifespan.

The press brake maintenance well can be used for many years, the specific conditions and usage factors need to be considered.

Is hydraulic press better than press brake?

The choice between a hydraulic press and a press brake depends on actual application and requirements.

These two machines feature various uses in metal sheet fabrication and have their own pros and cons.

The hydraulic press brake is a versatile machine that uses hydraulic pressure to exert bending, punching, forming, and other tasks.

It offers high power ability and can handle heavy applications.

The hydraulic press usually is used for tasks requiring deep drawing, blanking, embossing, and other forming operations.

It is suitable for various materials fabrication, such as metal, and plastics.

On the other hand, the press brake is designed for bending metal sheets. It is composed of a worktable equipped with a top punch and bottom die, forming a V shape.

The press brake exerts a force on the metal sheet, making it bend at a specific angle. It is widely used in precise bending operations in manufacturing, such as creating bends, flanges, and channels in sheet metal parts.

If you focus on the metal sheet bending, the press brake gives priority to its design and precision.

However, if you want a machine that can operate widespread metal sheet fabrication, the hydraulic press can offer you more potential.

What is the preventive maintenance on a brake press?

The preventive maintenance on a press brake includes cleaning and lubrication, regular checking, tooling Inspection, hydraulic system checking, electric system checking, back gauge calibration, safety system checking, software and control upgrade, new operators training, and recording saving.

Through these preventive measurements, press brakes can minimize unplanned downtime, reduce repair costs and improve overall machine efficiency and safety.

V. Conclusion

In a nutshell, a press brake is an excellent tool for precision, accuracy, and low labor-cost manufacture.

Please take the advantages and disadvantages of press brake into consideration before using this machine to meet your manufacturing needs, thus you can make a wise choice for satisfying your business needs.

ADH is a company that has over 20 years of metal sheet fabrication and boosts press brakes. You can browse our products to choose the suitable machine or consult our sales to learn detailed information.

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