10 Important Steps for Metal Press Brake Setup

Press brake is a piece of equipment used to bend metal sheets into predetermined shapes. However, press break setup is considered one of the costliest operations. Remember, the longer the setup takes, the higher the cost of operation.

Metal Press Brake

Here are 10 important steps for metal press brake setup:

1. Review the drawing

Firstly, operators need to familiarize themselves with the parts. Reviewing the drawings is vital for accuracy and producing high-quality products. When an operator reviews the drawing, it is easier to know key details such as the type of material, dimensions, blank size, flange tolerance, and inside radius of angles.

2. Select the tooling

There are several types of tooling, and your selection is primarily based on the drawing.

Remember, to produce accurate parts; you must select the right tooling. Your tool selection options include coining, special application, air bending, or bottom bending. Always select the tooling that’s accurate to the manufacturer’s specifications because worn tooling produces faulty parts.

3. Determine tonnage

It is essential to estimate the tonnage requirements as an operator, especially in air bending. Usually, there are tonnage charts you can refer to for air bending. In bottom bending, operators are advised to use x4 the air bending tonnage while x8 the air bending tonnage is ideal when coining. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations if you want to use the special application tooling.

4. Press brake selection

There are several types of press brakes. You can skip this step if your shop does not have more than one press brake. However, if you have several press brakes machines to choose from, choosing the right press can determine the quality of the final product.

Operators must understand how different press brakes work and factors to consider, for example, the type of metal to bend.

5. Determine the tooling position on the worktable

The operator should check and confirm whether the press brake manufacturer allows off-center loading or not. When working off the center, always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines at all times.

6. Install the tools

After determining the tooling position on the bed, the next step entails installing the tools and aligning them to make the bend. It is considered the most time-consuming, tiring, and costly step in press brake setup.

7. Program the press brake machine

Programming the brake machine is the second most time-consuming step in the setup process because most operators have limited programming skills. Programming manual press brake machines are quite tiring, time-consuming, and daunting. In fact, programming a manual press brake requires trial and error to ensure everything is accurate.

However, if you have a CNC press brake, programming is straightforward. As a press brake operator, take your time to research and learn how to program to avoid wasting time during setup. Alternatively, you can seek help from an expert to understand programming fast and easily.

8. Test run

Now that everything is set up, you can make a test bend. A test run is crucial to ensure the machine is running smoothly. Also, a test run is essential to ensure the setup is successful and accurate. You can use scrap metal for a test run.

9. Correct the program

Sometimes you can make a mistake and incorrectly program the brake press machine. After carrying out the test run, check if the part is acceptable. Making a test band and correcting the program should be done concurrently. However, you shouldn’t correct the program if you have a good test bend.

10. Run parts

With the setup complete, you can start operating the machine. Although everything is working fine, keep an eye on the parts now and then and make necessary corrections if need be.

Press brake machines are used in numerous industries and come in various types and sizes for specific jobs. The accuracy of a bend primarily depends on the tool’s setup. Therefore, operators must be careful when setting up the machine. As a rule of thumb, the operator should not start production until he is confident about the setup of the press brake machine. Luckily, the setup time decreases substantially with research, practice, and patience.

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