If you’re using a hydraulic press brake in your machine shop, you may be wondering if it’s worth investing in a new model. Press brakes are not cheap, and can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars – especially if you have an older model that lacks modern features.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the biggest innovations in the world of hydraulic press brakes. If you’re thinking about buying a new press brake, you may want to get one that includes these advanced features!
1. Automatic Tool Changes
Automatic tool changes are probably the biggest innovation in the world of hydraulic press brakes. Some hydraulic press brakes on the market today are able to handle tool swapping automatically, without any operator input.
A robotic arm and system can be used to swap different tools into the press brake without any operator intervention. This allows for much higher efficiency.
Automatic tools changes are especially useful when you are working with multiple types of material, bends, and fabrication techniques. Because the operator does not have to interrupt equipment operations just to load new tools, turnaround time can be reduced significantly – even for the most complex and difficult projects.
This also makes it more economical to take on shorter-term, low-volume projects. In the past, you may have had to turn away a customer because they only needed a few bent parts, and you couldn’t justify the lead time or the setup time.
But with automated tool loading, operators do not have to spend the same amount of time on these smaller-batch projects – which allows you to take on more customers, and provide better results.
2. CNC Back Gauges
Back gauges have been around since the 1970s, so they aren’t exactly the newest innovations. But today’s back gauges are more high-tech than ever – and many of them are fully automatic, and they support CNC inputs from the operator. This means that, with the right back gauge and press brake, you can streamline the entire manufacturing process, and reduce the amount of input required from the equipment operator.
Best of all, CNC back gauges can be retrofitted onto most existing hydraulic press brakes. Back gauges are significantly cheaper than new press brakes – so if you want to boost efficiency and productivity without purchasing a brand-new press brake, this is an ideal option.
3. 3-Axis Bending And Fabrication
Press brakes have advanced quite a bit since the introduction of the first back gauge systems in the 1970s. Today, modern hydraulic press brakes can handle 3-axis bending and fabrication automatically, with the aid of advanced back gauge systems. Modern systems like the Hurco Autobend allow for truly multi-axis CNC machining and production.
Because 3-axis bending reduces the amount of movement of the operator, it allows for increased efficiency. Estimates from Hurco indicate that using a 3-axis CNC hydraulic press brake is usually 40% more efficient than a single-axis system when it comes to setup and production lead times. In turn, this means faster projects, and enhanced profitability.
Increase Efficiency And Profitability With A Modern Press Brake Or Back Gauge!
If you have been doing a lot of press brake work, investing in a new press brake, or a retrofit of your existing press brake may be a good idea. While hydraulic press brakes and their back gauges are not cheap, they can provide you with quite a few benefits.
If you are willing to invest some capital into a new press brake, or a back gauge, you will be able to offer more services to your clients, perform more small-batch jobs, and increase the overall productivity of your shop. So start thinking about whether or not you’re ready to invest in a new piece of machinery, and make the right decision for your shop, and the needs of your business.