If you’ve worked in a metal fabricating shop or industrial production floor, there’s a good chance you’ve heard, seen, or worked with a Press Brake. They’re used to create precise bends in metal and other materials. Press Brakes have been around a long time. In ancient times, metal was folded using a sledgehammer and chisel; not the most accurate method but it got the job done. A few thousand years later and we still use metal to bend metal, but we do it with much better technology.
What is a Press Brake?
The reality is, almost everything around you, objects of all different shapes and sizes, have been made with a Press Brake. It’s almost like folding a piece of paper to make a paper airplane – it takes precise and sharp folds to make the airplane so it’s suitable to fly. When sheet metal needs to be folded, bent, or curved in a perfect manner, a Press Brake is used to make the bend. By adding hydraulic pressure, a press point is pushed against the metal forming a bend or “Brake” in the metal surface. The brake can be formed at a single point or as a complete fold in the sheet metal piece.
Not the break time you might be thinking. This is referring to the time it takes to put a bend into a piece of metal. Some Sheet Metal Brakes work with a screw assembly that forces the metal against the braking surface by turning an armature, while other Press Brakes work with hydraulic cylinders that apply the pressure needed to correctly form the bend. By adding electrical controls to operate the Press Brake, the process of bending metal becomes faster. In high-production environments such as here at Epic Tool Inc, Computer Numeric Control (CNC) is also applied to the machinery to increase the speed of production.
A CNC Press Brake is the highest level of automated production for bending sheet metal. CNC Brakes can apply anywhere from 40 lbs to 3,000 tons of pressure to metal making it versatile for all kinds of metals needed for any type of product. Machine shops use Press Brakes in one form or another depending on the type of materials they encounter. A brand new CNC Press Brake can cost from $10k to $200k and more. Specialized training to go along with plenty of experience makes machine operators extremely valuable for high-output production environments. Sophisticated bends and turns can be accomplished using just one CNC Press Brake rather than implementing an entire series of press brakes to accomplish the same result.
Big or Small, Press Brakes Do it All
From your garage to massive industrial production plants and everything in-between, there’s not a machinist or metal worker who isn’t familiar with a Press Brake. The versatility, efficiency and quality of results makes Press Brakes a must-have for anyone interested in metal work. To learn how we use CNC Press Brakes to perfect your product, please contact us.