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Types of Press Brake Machine – Comprehensive Guide

CNC press brake price

The press brake machine has become an indispensable equipment for workshop processing. Nowadays, there are various types of bending machines on the market. What are the differences between them? How to choose the right bending machine for yourself? What are the common types? If you have these questions, perhaps this post will help you.

A press brake machine is a tool used specifically for bending pipes or thin plates. It can achieve precise bending of pipes through servo control technology, and can complete the bending angle processing of a pipe in a few seconds. The processed products have no wrinkles, good fullness, and high efficiency.

What Does Press Brake Do

A press brake machine is a machine tool used to process metal or other materials, primarily for bending, folding, and shaping flat sheet materials. This type of machine is commonly used in the manufacturing of metal parts, pipelines, pipe fittings, enclosure structures, and various industrial products. Machines apply force to bend materials along predetermined bending lines to achieve the desired shapes and dimensions. In industries such as manufacturing, construction, aerospace, automotive, and others, Presses are extremely common and important processing equipment.

How Does Press Brake Work

The working principle of a bending machine involves using a punch and die set with predetermined angles to bend or cut metal into various shapes and forms.

The basic principle of brake forming relies on force, also known as tonnage. This determines the total pressure the punch can apply during the bending process. The higher the tonnage, the thicker the material that can be bent, and vice versa.

As tonnage increases, so does the bending length, which is the maximum length of sheet metal that can be bent. For example, if your machine has a bending length of 14 feet, any sheet metal longer than 14 feet would be too long for that machine.

Different machines with varying tonnages and bending lengths are required for proper fabrication based on application and material size/thickness. In fact, these factors are crucial as they help determine the bending machine’s load limit – calculated in tons per inch.

Understanding the load limits and press brake power of each machine is vital because using the wrong tonnage or length can potentially damage or destroy the equipment.

Types of Press Brake Machine

Fast forward to today, press brake machines have evolved into highly advanced machines driven by hydraulic systems and computer technology. These modern press brakes can effortlessly bend sheet metal and plates, providing simple and complex parts for various industries. If you have a workshop, owning a bending machine is a “must-have.” However, there are different types of presses, each with its unique application patterns. If you’re struggling to decide which press brake to choose, pls read below.

Classification

Press brakes can be divided into manual press brakes, hydraulic press brakes and CNC press brakes according to the control method. Manual press brakes are further divided into mechanical manual press brakes and electric manualpress brakes. Hydraulic press brakes can be divided into torsion axis synchronization, machine-hydraulic synchronization, and electro-hydraulic synchronization according to synchronization methods. Hydraulic press brakes can be divided into up-moving type and down-moving type according to the movement mode.

Common Press brake Types

Manual Press Brake

A manual press brake is a press brake that is manually operated by an operator. Used for bending and forming of sheet metal and other materials. Unlike automatic or semi-automatic hydraulic or CNC press brakes, manual press brakes require an operator to manually adjust and control the bending process.

While manual press brakes are simple and low-cost, they require more skill and effort from the operator to achieve accurate and consistent bends.

They are typically used by small shops, maintenance facilities or hobbyists who may not require the high throughput or precision provided by a hydraulic or CNC press brake.

Since the operator needs to manually adjust and control the bending process, which requires more physical strength and labor, it is not recommended for mass production or more complex bending tasks.

Pros

Low cost:

Manual press brakes are generally lower priced and more economical than hydraulic or electric press brakes.
Simple and easy to use:

The operation is relatively simple and does not require complex technology or training to get started.
Portability:

Since there are no hydraulic or electrical systems, manual press brakes are generally lightweight and easy to move and carry.
Suitable for small-scale production:

For small workshops or personal use, manual press brakes can meet basic bending needs.

Cons

Labor Intensive:

Due to the need for manual operations, the physical demands on the operator are high, which can lead to a labor-intensive production process.
Low production efficiency:

Compared with hydraulic or electric bending machines, manual bending machines have lower production efficiency and cannot process a large number of workpieces quickly.

Limited accuracy:

Due to manual operation, the bending accuracy of manual bending machines may be limited and cannot achieve highly precise bending angles.
Limit material thickness:

Manual press brakes may not be able to handle thicker materials due to limitations in operator strength.

Mechanical Press Brake

Mechanical press brakes are known for their high tonnage capacity. It operates with a clutch system and mechanical flywheel that stores kinetic energy and transfers it through a system of gears.

Mechanical press brakes are typically used for smaller-scale production and require less power and maintenance, but are generally less productive and have limited accuracy compared to hydraulic or CNC press brakes. Mechanical press brakes are suitable for some simple bending tasks, but are usually not suitable where high production efficiency and precision are required.

Pros

Lower cost:

Compared with hydraulic or electric press brakes, mechanical press brakes are usually lower in price and more economical.

Strong durability:

Mechanical press brakes usually have simple structures and fewer parts, so they have strong durability and reliability.
No electric or hydraulic system is required:

The mechanical bending machine only needs human power or simpler mechanical transmission to achieve the bending operation, and does not need to rely on electric or hydraulic systems, saving energy and maintenance costs.

Suitable for small-volume production:

For small-scale production tasks, mechanical press brakes can provide sufficient production efficiency, and the operation is relatively simple and does not require complex technical requirements.

Cons

Low production efficiency:

Compared with hydraulic or electric press brakes, mechanical press brakes have lower production efficiency and cannot handle large quantities of workpieces.

Limited accuracy:

Due to the use of mechanical force to operate, the bending accuracy of a mechanical press brake may be limited and cannot achieve highly precise bending angles.

Highly labor-intensive:

Mechanical press brakes often require manual operation by the operator and therefore place high physical demands on the operator, which can result in a labor-intensive production process.

Limit material thickness:

Mechanical press brakes can typically only handle thinner materials and may be limited for thicker materials.

Hydraulic Press Brake

The hydraulic control system of the hydraulic press brake is like a central brain for the bending machine itself. It is driven by two hydraulic cylinders. The hydraulic brake can fold sheets up to 8 meters long and can act both downward and upward. Additionally, hydraulic press brakes are equipped with independent cylinders, this means that workpieces can be folded and bent at different angles in one operation.

Applicable Materials

  • Furniture manufacturing: Bends metal parts used in furniture frames, structures, and decorative elements
  • Agricultural equipment: Fabricates tractor components, farm machinery parts, and agricultural implements
  • Electrical: Enclosures, machine tool machine enclosures and doors, coolant, lubrication, or hydraulic tanks
  • Building and construction: Cabinets, ductwork, grilles
  • Automotive and aerospace: Large panel fabrication
  • Marine engineering: Metal containers
  • Metal artwork: Metal containers
  • HVAC systems: Shells for air conditioning, air handling units, parts for making ventilation systems, sheet metal ductwor

Pros

Easy to operate:

The hydraulic system is user-friendly, it comes with intuitive controls that are easy to program and allow the operator to set bending parameters, saving manpower.

High precision:

The hydraulic press brake has large bending force and high precision, which can achieve highly precise bending and ensure the quality and dimensional accuracy of the finished product.

Strong adaptability:

The hydraulic press brake can achieve bending of different shapes and sizes by replacing different molds and tools. It has strong production flexibility and adaptability and can meet the needs of large tonnage.

Cons

Large energy consumption:

The hydraulic system of a hydraulic press brake requires a large amount of energy to drive, so it consumes more energy than some manual or mechanical press brakes. And the machine works continuously, which means it consumes electricity and electricity even when idle. However, most modern hydraulic press brake systems already come with built-in energy saving time and pump mechanisms.

Large floor space:

Because hydraulic press brakes are typically larger and equipped with hydraulic systems, they require a larger workspace to house and operate.

CNC Press Brake

CNC press brake is a popular type of brake machine in recent years. Due to the integrated computer calculation, it is the most accurate among all bending machines, but the price is also relatively high.

This kind of press brakes does not use a hydraulic system and does not require much human intervention. It uses a servo motor to generate the pressure required for bending operations. It is favored by consumers for its intelligent operation and modern appearance.

With a CNC press brake machine, the operator only needs to enter raw data such as number of pieces, bending angle, sheet size, etc. After everything is set up, the computer and machine can complete all the work and easily achieve the purpose of the operation, so it is not difficult to understand why the CNC press brake is so efficient compared to other types. When using a CNC press brake, one operator can handle multiple machines and do other things after the initial setup. When one operator is paired with multiple machines, the efficiency and output can be astonishing.

Applicable Materials

  • Stainless steel
  • aluminum
  • Rare metals and alloys
  • mild steel

Common Application

Electrical industry: CNC press brake machines are mainly used for manufacturing metal sheet components and enclosures of electrical equipment.

Decoration and manufacturing industry: They are widely used in the decoration and manufacturing industry to manufacture various decorative elements.

Automotive Components: In the automotive industry, CNC press brakes are utilized for bending sheet metal parts such as body panels, brackets, chassis components, and structural elements. 

Aerospace Parts: CNC press brakes play a crucial role in manufacturing aerospace components, including aircraft fuselage sections, wing ribs, engine mounts, and other structural parts. 

Pros

Easy to operate

Operators can operate multiple machines at once. These machines can be operated simply by the operator’s touch, feel and sound. The powerful control system is very user friendly.

Modern design

CNC press brakes feature modern designs that allow operators to easily sequence bends. Operators can also preview parts to be manufactured in 2D or 3D finished versions. And, once the first part is programmed on the machine or via an offline PC, even less skilled operators can easily and quickly produce subsequent parts.

Multitasking

It can meet multi-tasking needs at the same time, one operator inspects the first part and can handle the procedures related to the second part at the same time; and another operator can program other parts at the same time.

High return on investment

Additionally, it contains top-quality components that minimize waste and allow for greater repeatability and traceability. The equipment also helps save about 45% of machine setup costs; material handling of about 35%; inspection rate of about 35%; work-in-progress ratio of about 25%; part cycle time shortened by about 50%, with a high return on investment.

Cons

Initial Cost: CNC press brakes typically have a higher initial cost compared to manual or non-CNC models. The investment in CNC technology, including the control system and software, can be significant, especially for small or medium-sized businesses.

Maintenance and Repairs: CNC press brakes contain sophisticated electronic and mechanical components that may require regular maintenance and occasional repairs.

Electric Press Brake

Recently, manufacturers have increasingly relied on electric press brakes. These presses feature electric motors that convert high-powered rotary motion into linear motion to press the workpiece into place. The motor only starts when the brake is pressed against the workpiece. Otherwise, the motor automatically shuts down, allowing for safer operation and reduced energy consumption.

Electric press brakes also use roller or ball screw systems to optimize production. Recirculating balls replace lubricant, reducing friction when the ram is driven downward and increasing the overall load capacity of the machine.

After entering the 21st century, significant progress has been made in the field of electric press brakes. In order to reduce energy consumption and lower maintenance costs, companies and the concept of sustainable manufacturing have led to the adoption of more and more electric press brakes. This pursuit of innovation and environmental protection has laid the foundation for the rapid development of electric press brakes.

Common Application

Precision Metal Fabrication: Electric press brakes are well-suited for precision metal fabrication applications where accuracy and repeatability are essential.

Small Batch Production: Electric press brakes are ideal for small batch production runs where quick setup and changeover times are important.

Complex Geometries: Electric press brakes can handle complex bending geometries and multiple bend sequences with ease.

 

Pros

Accuracy:

These press brakes always ensure that sheet metal workpieces meet the necessary specifications for the final design. This is critical when producing precision parts that fit into larger assemblies or when using expensive materials.

Speed:

The electronic bending machine is fast and does not affect the quality. As a result, operators can quickly complete production cycles to meet large customer demands.
Energy Efficiency: Electronic press brakes automatically power off the motor when not in use, saving energy throughout the production cycle.

0 Noise:

Electric press brakes operate more quietly because they do not have hydraulic pumps and the fluid movement associated with hydraulic systems.

Cleaner operation:

Electric press brakes do not use hydraulic oil, which means they pose no risk of hydraulic leaks or spills.

Cons

Dependence on electricity:

Electric bending machines run entirely on electricity. A power outage or electrical failure can interrupt production and cause downtime.
Limited Capacity for Heavy Duty Applications:

Electric press brakes may have limitations in their ability to bend heavy or thick materials.

The above are some common types of press brake machines. Of course, the relationship between them is not exclusive, but criss-cross. For example, hydraulic pressure can be combined with CNC, which is a hydraulic CNC press brake.

Pneumatic vs Hydraulic Press Brake: Differences Explained

Press brake machines are the workhorses of metal processing shops. There are many types to choose from. Pneumatic press brake and hydraulic press brakes operate according to different force transmission principles, resulting in different performance, cost and application. They are often compared. Understanding the differences between the two can help you make smart choices and be more productive.

Pneumatic Press Brake

Pneumatic press brakes use compressed air to create the force needed to bend sheet metal. They consist of a system of cylinders and valves that pressurize air or other gases, which then power the movement of the press brake punch. Pneumatic press brakes are typically used in light-duty applications with lower tonnage requirements.

Hydraulic Press Brake

Hydraulic press brakes, on the other hand, use a hydraulic fluid system to generate the force that bends metal sheets. They feature a series of hydraulic cylinders that convert fluid pressure into mechanical force, which is then applied to the punch. This enables higher tonnage capabilities compared to pneumatic press brakes, making them the perfect choice for heavy-duty applications.

Comparison of Them

Working principle:

Pneumatic press brake uses compressed air to generate bending force. Air pressure is applied by the cylinder, which exerts force on the bending beam to perform the bending operation;

Hydraulic press brakes use hydraulic fluid (usually oil) to generate force. A hydraulic pump applies pressure to a hydraulic cylinder, which then transfers the force to the bending beam to perform the bending.

Speed:

Pneumatic press brakes are superior to hydraulic press brakes in terms of speed because the movement of compressed air is relatively fast. In fast-paced production environments, faster operations are an advantage. However, this speed can sometimes result in a loss of accuracy.

Tonnage:

In terms of tonnage, the hydraulic press brake is the undisputed winner. Their capacity is up to several thousand tons. This makes them more suitable for heavy-duty and demanding applications, including bending thicker metals. In contrast, pneumatic press brakes are suitable for light jobs with lower tonnage requirements.

Accuracy:

Hydraulic press brakes with CNC control have higher accuracy. A hydraulic fluid system allows for more precise control of the ram’s movement. Pneumatic press brakes, while faster, can sometimes sacrifice accuracy for speed.

Make the Right Choice for Your Shop

Ultimately, your shop’s specific needs and priorities determine your choice of press brake. Pneumatic press brakes are generally suitable for smaller shops that handle lighter materials that need to be operated quickly. Hydraulic press brakes, meanwhile, are the first choice for larger shops processing heavier materials where precision is paramount.

4 Aspects You Should Consider When Choose Press Brake Machine Type

Material type and thickness:

Consider the type of material (e.g. steel, aluminum, stainless steel) and its thickness that will be bent using a press brake. Different materials and thicknesses may require different bending forces and mold configurations.

Bending Capacity:

Evaluate the maximum bending force and length required for the intended bending operation. Make sure the press brake you choose can handle the size and thickness of the workpiece to be machined.

Bending Accuracy and Accuracy:

Evaluate the level of accuracy and accuracy required for bending operations. Choose a press brake with an appropriate control system (such as a CNC) and features that allow precise adjustment of bending parameters such as angle, depth, and position.

Throughput:

Determine the expected throughput and frequency of the bending process. Select a press brake that can effectively meet your production requirements, taking into account factors such as speed, setup time and automation capabilities.

Conclusion

Different types of press brake machines have different characteristics. They all play an important role in the production and processing of sheet metal. With the development of the times and the advancement of science and technology, intelligence and automation have been achieved, and they have matured and developed. They are playing an important role in sheet metal production and processing. While it has important economic value, it is also more environmentally friendly and continues to lead profound changes in the sheet metal field. 

As a leading Press Brake manufacturer and brand, KRRASS® is proud to present and supply our various types of high quality Press Brake Machine to customers worldwide, if you have any questions about press brakes, you can contact our experts, we Will reply as soon as possible.

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  • Press brake

    • 1 month ago

    Muy buena dobladora, somos de Argentina,

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