In metal fabrication, the press brake is regarded as an indispensable tool to stand out and is specially designed for bending arts.
In essence, a press brake is a machine that bends a metal sheet precisely and transforms the flat workpiece into a precise shape and structure. This forming ability is mainly attributed to metal ductility.
Ductility refers to a sort of ability that metal is stretched and bent without breaking, which emphasizes the reason why metal is popular among various industries.
From the sleek curves of the car’s chassis to the intricate design of the metal arts, the need for metal forming is paramount.
As we delve into the world of metal bending, apparently, the press brake is merely a tool.
II. What Do Press Brakes Do
The press brake is a metal fabrication machine for bending and forming metal sheets or sheet materials.
This machine utilizes hydraulic or mechanical pressure to exert pressure on the top punch and bottom die, thus transforming the metal angle and shapes.
It is an essential tool in metal fabrication, and its primary functions include:
Bending metal sheets: this is the core function of the press brake. It uses high-accuracy tools and high pressure to bend metal sheets, transforming the straight sheets into various shapes of components.
Offering complex bending shapes: through adjusting the tool, the press brake can bend in the form of combination, cascade, and radius, thus producing complex shapes of metal structure components.
Applying to different materials: the press brake can be used for various metal materials, such as steel, stainless steel, etc., but the thickness sphere of the detailed model is different.
Repositioning precisely: the press brake with CNC controller is controlled by the programs and can produce repeatable and precise parts with specific shapes and sizes.
Improving production efficiency: compared with manual bending, the press brake can produce a large amount of parts with high efficiency, thus improving the production ability.
Producing prototype template: before starting, the press brake can quickly make the prototype template of the metal parts.
Using on-site: the on-site use of the press brake can achieve nearby bending, reduce outsourcing transportation time, and be more suitable for small batch production.
Replacing the tool conveniently: replacing the die can achieve different needs for angles and shapes.
III. Origin of the Name “Press Brake”
“Press brake” is used to represent a machine that is designed for pressing and bending sheet metals.
“Brake” is closely related to “break” and can date back to the 15th century, when it is considered to be a tool for grinding and knocking.
Finally, it is connected to the machine used for grinding grains.
As time passed by, these machines have been developed into pan brakes, folding machines, leaf brakes, and so on.
IV. Bending Process Explained
The force required by bending metal sheets
For most metal materials, tremendous power is required to bend them. These depend on many factors:
The thickness and solidness of the metal: the higher the thickness and solidness, the bigger bending force they require;
Bending angle: the bigger the bending angle is, the larger the bending force they require;
Bending radium: the smaller the bending radium is, the larger the bending force it requires.
Different types of bending technology
Hydraulic (such as CNC press brake): utilizes hydraulic systems to offer bending force and features smooth action and constant power adjustment.
Pneumatic: regards compressor air as a power source. The power is small and suitable for the materials with large changes in thickness;
Electric: the motor drives the pressure beam to increase bending force;
Mechanical: the lever ratio between components increases strength, and the action is rough.
Tonnage: the maximum force the press brake can produce in tons. Usually, the big tonnage machine can handle thicker and more robust materials.
Speed and precision
Hydraulic CNC press brake features fast speed and high accuracy of repositioning.
Mechanical style has slower speed and unsatisfying repositioning.
The pneumatic lies between the both. Overall, the more automatic the power style, the more steady the speed and concision.
V. Considerations Before Bending
Choosing the proper material: different materials (like steel, aluminum, and stainless steel) feature different bending properties. Take the parameters influencing the bending quality into consideration, such as solidness, plasticity, etc.
Ensuring the bending range: separate the bending part from other parts to avoid incorrect bending of the entire workpiece.
Measuring the bending radium: the bending radium refers to the curved radium you want to create in the workpiece. Smaller bending radium usually requires higher precision and smaller tools.
Optimize bending process: find the best sequence of shortening the bending numbers based on the structure characteristics of complex components. As for the workpiece with multiple bending and intricate shapes, a reasonable sequence can reduce deformation and errors.
Tool selection: based on the material, bending radium, and angles to choose bending tools, such as top punch, bottom die, and blades.
Techniques and operator experience: operating the machine requires skills and experience to some extent. Ensuring the operator is trained and knows the details of the operation.
Safety measurements: operating the press brake requires high pressure and mechanical movements, so it is necessary to take safety measures, such as wearing personal protective equipment and ensuring the safety performance of the machine.
Tooling and dies maintenance: check and maintain the tooling and dies of the press brake regularly to ensure their good working state and will not severely affect the quality of the workpiece.
Design and drawing: before bending the press brake, develop clear designs and drawings to ensure the workpiece meets the specification requirements.
VI. What is a Press Brake Used For
Workshop and car body area: the press brake is widely used in manufacturing car body and workshop components, such as car body components that need bending, like rackets, doors, and roofs, as well as various panels that need to be manufactured via press brake.
Electrical appliances field: TV casings, refrigerator door panels, and metal casings inside and outside various electrical appliances are all bent and formed by thin metal plates using press brakes.
Building structure field: roof structures, such as beams, exterior panels, etc., need to be bent and formed using a press brake.
Ventilation duct field: various ventilation ducts that need to be bent in the HVAC system are mostly formed using bending machines.
Auto parts field: many parts that require bending, such as automobile exhaust pipes, brackets, and covers, are formed using bending machines.
Household appliances field: the inner shell of the oven and various mechanical structures are also formed using a bending machine.
Light machinery field: for example, light machinery such as blades also uses bending machines for bending processing.
Prototyping and customization area: the machine is valuable for prototyping and custom manufacturing. They allow manufacturers to create samples, prototypes, and small batches of metal parts with specific bends and shapes according to custom requirements.
Metal furniture and decorative Items field: they are utilized in producing metal furniture, fixtures, and decorative items, which enable the metal sheet to bend and shape to create furniture frames, table legs, brackets, and artistic designs.
How long does a press brake last?
The lifespan of a press brake is influenced by many factors, including quality, maintenance, use situation, and so on.
Generally, a well-maintained and high-quality machine can be used for 15-30 years longer.
Regular maintenance and proper operation, as well as regular replacement of damaged workpieces, are the key to prolonging the lifespan of the press brake.
Is a press brake better than a hydraulic press?
Press brakes and hydraulic presses feature different functions, so determining which is “better” depends on your specific needs.
Press Brake: a press brake is specially designed for bending and forming metal sheets. It is good at precise bending and forming operations and is very suitable for different tasks like creating angles, bending, and different shapes. If your business covers metal bending, the press brake might be the best.
Hydraulic Press: a hydraulic press is more versatile and can be used for various applications, including pressing, punching, and straightening. The force exerted on the mass square is suitable for the task which needs high pressure but no precision.
In summary, the choice between a press brake and a hydraulic press depends on your specific metalworking requirements.
How much does a press brake cost?
The cost of a press brake varies widely depending on factors such as its size, capacity, brand, and additional features.
It’s essential to consult with manufacturers or suppliers for up-to-date pricing information.
What are the different types of press brakes?
Press brakes have various types to meet the different needs of bending and forming. Some common types include:
Mechanical Press Brake: operated by mechanical components like flywheels and clutches, which are suitable for simple bending tasks.
Hydraulic Press Brake: utilizes hydraulic systems for precision control and is versatile for various bending applications.
CNC Press Brake: equipped with computer numerical control (CNC) system, which can achieve automatic and highly precise bending operations.
Tandem Press Brake: consists of two or more press brakes used in tandem to handle longer workpieces or increase the efficiency of the productivity.
Servo-Electric Press Brake: uses electric servos to realize precise control and energy efficiency, suitable for certain high-precision applications.
Pneumatic Press Brake: utilizes air pressure to bend, and is often used for lighter sheet metal work.
The choice of press brake type depends on the complexity of your projects and your production requirements.
The press brake is becoming more and more important in modern society, especially playing a pivotal role in metal sheet fabrication.
What’s more, it is widely used in construction, automotive, electronics, and so on.
Knowing its function and role is beneficial for choosing the machine you need.
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