Press brakes have made great strides in the past decade. They are no longer as dangerous or time-consuming as they once were.
With the incorporation of Computer Numerical Control (CNC), modern press brake machines can now help American manufacturing compete with overseas markets.
This article will show that these modern machines increase efficiency, utilize technology, and employ people of all skill levels.
1. Increased Efficiency
A modern press brake allows a company to produce significantly more bends than press brakes of the past. Older machines produced about 600 bends per hour, but CNC press brakes can produce 900 per hour.
These machines can keep running indefinitely until a worker has to change out tools for a new design. This is now done through a touch-screen program rather than manually as it used to be done.
Modern press brake tools are also becoming lighter and simpler to install to speed up manufacturing even more.
Current machines are also able to produce more unique pieces because of the variety of software designs that can be run through the CNC system.
In the past, press brake machines required extensive piping which was prone to breaking or falling. Since the modern machines do not require this system, they run much smoother and with fewer breakdowns.
2. Smart Technology
Modern press brakes create better bends much faster with current technology.
Automatic Dynamic Crowning allows angles to be uniform along the bend. In the past, the correct angle was found through trial and error. New press brake machines produce the correct angle on the first go.
Thickness detection software analyzes the thickness of the metal throughout the piece to ensure the bend is accurate and uniform.
Mechanical compensations programs take into account the temperature and weight effects of the press brake’s hydraulic system.
Designers who must enter planned cuts into the press brake before the bend is made may make mistakes in how close they place a cut to the bend. With new advances in software for press brakes, the computer will alert designers that their proposed cuts are too close to the bend.
This allows less experienced workers to perform some designing tasks as well as reducing waste due to human error.
3. Training Requirements for the Modern Press Brake
New press brakes allow for reduced training and less experience for machinists.
Previously, workers were trained and employed only to setup press brakes because the process was so time-consuming and specialized.
Now, CNC programs guide workers through the setup process, allowing anyone to do it.
Barcode scanning of press brake parts’ IDs allows workers to accurately place pieces in the setup process without having to compare all the IDs manually. This saves a lot of time and training.
3D graphic representations of the metal bending process allow workers to visualize the process and reorder the machine’s sequence if necessary without manually refitting all the tools, previously a highly skilled worker’s job.
All of these improvements allow more skilled employees to move into management positions and younger, less experienced workers to operate the press brakes, saving companies money on training and giving flexibility in hiring. These press brake innovations are definitely a benefit to the field of manufacturing.
Interested in more areas of Custom Metal Fabrication? Check out this article.