Within many metal types, including steel, ductility is an important quality that’s desired. Ductility is a quality that allows metals to bend before their breaking point, which in turn allows them to be formed and machined to various shapes and sizes for a given practical use.
At Wasatch Steel, we’re happy to provide tips and expertise on ductile steel products you might be requiring, plus various steel services like shearing, punching, bending and sawing. For the bending process, one of the most common required within this realm, one of the single most popular pieces of equipment is known as the press brake. This two-part blog will dig into precisely what a press brake is and how it works, plus a few different press brake types and considerations to keep in mind if you’ll be utilizing this process for your steel products.
Simply put, a press brake is an equipment piece used for bending various forms of sheet metal, including steel in many cases. Most press brakes are long, narrow pieces of equipment that allow even larger pieces of sheet metal to be inserted into them.
In broad terms, a press brake works by lowering a punch onto sheet metal that’s been placed on top of a die. Press brakes may bend metal several times depending on the final desired form.
Press brakes come with four primary components: Mechanical parts, electrical parts, hydraulic parts and the NC/CNC controller. These parts are within a frame that’s meant to support them plus fuel tanks as needed.
As noted above, the press brake will contain a punch, or top punch, that is lowered onto a bottom die which holds the sheet metal in question. A great amount of force is required for bending here, and the press brake will use the relative motion of the worktable (powered by the hydraulic transmission), plus the punch and die shapes, to create this force and achieve the desired piece.
There are a few different types of press brakes out there, which we’ll dig into in subsequent sections.
The simplest and most common press brake format is the manual press brake, also known as a sheet metal brake. As the name indicates, these types require manual adjustment of bending dimensions, angles and other factors in the process, with items like clamping plates and various supporters on-hand in addition to the worktable frame. A base and a pressure plate will also be present to allow for the proper bending to take place.
For more on the different kinds of metal press brakes out there, or to learn about any of our steel tube, steel bar or other steel products, speak to the staff at Wasatch Steel today.