Many factors contribute to good part formation on a press brake. But every operator must understand four simple but crucial elements of the process for that to happen:
- The operator
- The brake
- The tooling
- The drawings
Foremost are the operators, who need to be well-trained and offered regular training updates on the proper use of the press brakes.
Operators also should know the importance of the other three factors listed previously and be able to use those elements to the fullest to produce the most accurate parts possible in the shortest amount of time. The goal of operators is not only to make good parts but also to keep setup time to a minimum within the confines of a given press brake.
Remember, time spent in setup is time not spent making parts, so reducing setup time is very important. Only the operator’s expertise can reduce setup time on a given machine.
Operators also should remember the correlation between setup time and the number of parts made so that they can factor setup time into the time per part produced.
For short runs the setup time must be minimized as compared to longer runs of complicated parts. It follows, then, that simple parts requiring little setup time can and should be made in small quantities economically, while complicated parts with longer setup times should be made in larger quantities. Press brake operators are responsible for helping to make that decision, and they need the expertise to make the right decision.
Operators must become intimately familiar with their machines and know those machines’ physical limitations.
Limits. Every press brake has a concentrated load limit calculated in tons per inch in the center of the machine. Exceeding the tons-per-inch limit can damage the machine, the tooling, or the formed part.
The press brakes witch KARMET produces are CNC machines designed in a fashion that makes operator’s work easy. The load applied is calculated automatically according to the tools, thickness and length of material.
Sometimes it is better to form a part off-center if your press brake can do this. Check with the manufacturer of your machine before attempting this, though. If a machine is not designed for off-center loading, you can damage it severely if you try it.
Maintenance. In addition, operators should know all of their machine’s maintenance requirements. This includes periodic oil and filter changes (for hydraulic machines), regular lubrication, and proper machine level. Even if maintaining the machine isn’t the operator’s responsibility, he should at least be familiar with the procedures.
The formed inside radius in air bending is related to the die opening. Angle tolerance of the part is determined by the accuracy of the machine and the accuracy of the tooling.
Operators must be familiar with all available tooling. In addition, they really should check tooling tolerances each time a punch and die is pulled from storage. It is the responsibility of the operator to make sure that the tooling always is within the manufacturer’s specifications; if it is not, the tooling must be remachined or replaced. It is almost impossible to make good parts with bad tooling.
All pertinent information for making the part should be on the drawing.
This includes the dimensions of the part, bend angle, inside radius, and the blank size, complete with acceptable tolerances for each. The drawing should be based on the capability of the press brake and tooling that are available for the job.
Operators need training in all aspects of a drawing’s information and how this information is related to the tooling and the machine.
It is the knowledge and experience of press brake operators that help to guarantee part accuracy and economy; it is management’s responsibility to provide the training necessary to give that expertise to the operators in the first place.
KARMET Bulgaria offers training to operators of every KARMET press brake. Our qualified technical specialists shall conduct the training on client’s site using KARMET press brake in order to secure responsible and productive operators.