Updated: Nov 5, 2021
What Is A Press Brake?
A press brake is a machine designed to bend sheet and plate metals to a predetermined angle. The way a press brake works is through the clamping motion of a punch and die. Initiating a bend is done by placing the sheet metal on top of the die. When the punch is lowered down, the sheet metal is forced into the die, creating a bend. The degree of your bend is determined by the type of tooling used and the pressure applied to the metal.
In the animation above, the top moving piece represents the punch, the bottom stationary component is the die, and the red piece is the backstop. (Note: The blue piece being bent represents the sheet metal). The backstop allows the operator to place the sheet metal at the correct depth every time. On our CNC press breaks, the backstop is automated, allowing for the most precision, repeatability, and speed.
As stated earlier, when attempting to achieve a desired angle, the force the press applies is a factor. Our CNC press breaks automate the changing of pressures, quickening switching between desired bend degrees. This is incredibly useful when bending a part that incorporates different angles.
The press brake was first seen in the 1920s but was used as a machine for crushing and pounding. These original press breaks were mechanically driven and the industry standard until the introduction of hydraulic breaks in the 1940's. Hydralic press breaks are still used today, but the addition of CNC controls has increased accuracy and speed.
The reason the term break is used when referring to these pressing machines is because of the Middle English word 'breken'. 'Breken' means to change in direction, break, or deflect, which is essentially what a press brake does to a piece of sheet metal.
What Can A Press Brake Do?
Whenever there is a need to bend sheet metal, a press brake is essential. Turning a flat sheet metal piece into a three dimensional one allows for much more complexity. The process of bending also saves time because it requires less cutting and welding to achieve the same results. To learn if metal forming using a press break is applicable to your project or for any other questions, contact us here. We also offer laser cutting, welding and surface finishing for a one-stop-shop fabrication experience. Additionaly, engineering and controls are available.
Check out the video below for some forming and laser action!