For most sheet metal manufacturers, investing in a new press brake is not usually at the top of their priorities list. For a long time, press brake technology has lagged behind other sheet metal machinery in terms of automation. As a result, most companies have a manually operated press brake that requires a substantial amount of programming on the floor and as a result, is unable to keep up with the other machines speed of production. However, over the past couple of years press brake technology has evolved substantially to the point where many functions are automated and modern machines have uptime comparable to other sheet metal technologies. This week, we look at exactly what those technological advances are and the impressive impact they can have on productivity.
Repeatable press brakes
The most common upgrade choice for businesses is the repeatable press brake which draws from material databanks to automate press brake moves and limit the amount of manual calculation required.
Software that adapts according to material behaviour
The software behind press brake technology has also become substantially more sophisticated. One exciting innovation is the software’s ability to adapt to material behaviour in real time. Using internal sensing and external laser sensing, this software can account for material variations including crowning and deflection.
Many new press brakes not only make it easy to calculate spring back and deflection before bending, but can also account for varying tensile strengths and adjust both deflection and calculation errors during the bend. This deflection adjustment is achieved through either mechanical or hydraulic means on the lower beam. Some systems also continuously monitor tonnage throughout the cycle and if an adjustment is required, the crowning cylinders are engaged whilst the cycle continues.
Offline programming eliminates manual programming on the factory floor and thus enables the press brake to remain in constant production. Whilst previous offline program technologies struggled to manage variables such as the bend radii of the available tooling, the newer breed of offline programming develops the press brake program directly from a 3D drawing, but before the blank size is determined. This way the properties of the press brake can be quickly programmed in by the operator to ensure accuracy.
ACRA are establishes suppliers of quality new and used sheet metal machinery including press brakes. To learn more about our range, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling 03 9794 6675.