A press brake is no small investment for a sheet metal shop. It makes sense, therefore – to make sure it is operated correctly. Let me put it this way: The number of advantages to owning a press brake is perhaps only equaled by the number of things that can go wrong, if you don’t know how it should be operated properly. Make a mental note of some of the following tips on how to get the most from your brake.
A chicken-and-egg situation
The press brake is nothing without an operator, and vice-versa. Not even the finest, most up to date machine in the known universe will produce quality work without a well-trained operator. On the other hand; not the most experienced and resourceful operator you have, can work wonders with poorly spec’ed or maintained equipment. If you invest in a machine with a lot of potential, you should put some money and effort into assuring you have an operator that matches your new equipment perfectly in terms of experience and knowledge. Even if you do wind up with a press brake that isn’t all you had hoped for,or which is simply what you could afford – not what you really wanted – then put your most valued and experienced employee on it. The less potential a machine has, the more you want that potential to be exploited fully shenchong press brake.
Setup time makes no money
One thing an experienced press brake operator knows how to do, is to perform the setup of the machine as quickly as possible. A press brake that is undergoing setup, is a press brake that does not make you any money. It follows that setup time must be reduced to a minimum, but also that setup should be considered as early as in the drawing process – before a single bend has been made.
This is where the experienced engineer should try to incorporate the input of the experienced operator, in order to determine the most feasible production method for the part. It matters how long the setup time is when compared to the number of parts to be produced during a production run. Short runs dont generally make up for lengthy setup times, so what on paper looks like a short run of complicated parts could – and should – be thought over before commencing production.
Cnc press brakes have alleviated that problem somewhat though. With cnc, short and automated setup is possible, making it feasible to do shorter runs, sometimes even one-offs. Then of course, operators of cnc-machines need even more training than before, since the addition of computer control is also an addition of a whole new level of potential and complexity to sheet metal bending.
High levels of technology requires high levels of expertise to function correctly. If you want maximum return on your investment in a new press brake, make sure the person operating it knows the job inside and out. Simple – isn’t it?