Whether you’re starting your own workshop or looking to overhaul your current space – there is some sheet metal machinery that is just essential to have. Today we’re going to be exploring our top five personal favourite sheet metal machines in no particular order and explaining why we think they’re so fantastic.
1. Fibre laser cutter
When it comes to laser cutters you can opt for either a CO2 or fibre laser. We personally think the fibre laser is a much more effective piece of technology. Why? It’s less maintenance, outputs more power with less diode fuelling it, it’s highly efficient and less delicate. Because the laser uses fibres to directly emit the beam – as opposed to reflecting mirrors in a CO2 laser – it’s a less delicate machine overall (and this is also why there’s a lot less maintenance involved as there’s no need for technicians to realign mirrors).
The beam itself is quite concentrated and powerful which makes for a highly accurate cut and thanks to the rare-earth element the fibre is doped with – it is able to convert 70-80% of the power pumped into it – which is a huge chunk compared to CO2 lasers and why fibre lasers need less diode.
2. Slitter folder (Bending machine)
Here at ACRA, we believe that the slitter folder is the best all-round bending machine you can get. Able to take several types of thickness and still execute the same process, the slitter folder is a highly versatile machine as it will automatically change its tooling to suit the job – as opposed to it needing to be manually changed. The piece of sheet metal is kept in line on a table via a gauging system – to ensure the correct positioning.
This impressive machine is also able to bend sheet metal into circular shapes without any outside marks and without the need for additional tooling. Slitter folders use a folding beam that comes from below – bending the sheet metal upwards.
3. Plate roller (Bending machine)
An often-underappreciated piece of sheet metal machinery, the plate roller is made specifically to roll sheet metal into conical shapes. This means it is still technically a bending machine – just a very specific type of one. Three and four-roll systems are pretty common types of plate rolls but there are other types as well.
Essentially, the sheet metal is passed through a set of rolls that work together to smoothly bend the sheet. Picking the right plate roller depends on the width, thickness, yield, tensile strength and diameter of the sheets you’ll predominantly be rolling.
4. Bandsaw (Cutter)
Available in both horizontal and vertical varieties, the bandsaw is one of the easiest and quickest ways to cut through metal. As an added bonus, it is also able to cut through, wood, tile and plastic, as well as carry out irregular cuts – making it a versatile machine. Horizontal bandsaws hold the piece you’re looking to cut in place and then brings down the saw to cut it.
Whereas, a horizontal bandsaw sits upright and allows you to slide the material you’re cutting through it. Horizontal bandsaws are a lot more suited to irregular cuts as you can guide the material in the shape, you’d like to cut it into. This is great for cutting out patterns.
5. Press brake (Bending machine)
Whilst we mentioned above that the slitter folder is a fantastic all in one bending machine that automatically changes its tooling to match the required job – a press brake is still a fantastic machine and here’s why. Press brakes can handle any type of sheet metal – no matter what its thickness is – making it more desirable for those heavy-duty sheets. You can also purchase a wide range of tools for it allowing it to tackle several types of bends. As opposed to a slitter folder, the tooling is pressed downwards from above. These machines are available in hydraulic, electric and mechanical varieties.
Are you looking to purchase sheet metal machinery?
ACRA Machinery stock an extensive range of both new and used sheet metal machinery including press brakes, bandsaws and fibre laser cutters. Our knowledgeable and experienced technicians can help you find the right fit for your workshop and ensure you get the best quality sheet metal machinery.
We also offer comprehensive repair and maintenance services to ensure your machines are kept in tip-top condition. This includes regularly scheduled maintenance where we come to you as well as repair solutions for a variety of machines.