An introduction to special tools for press brakes
A special bending tool is highly relevant in the context of recurring manufacturing or large batches of parts. In these cases, it allows to reduce the number of operations and manipulations on the press brake, while minimising the number of stops and cycles. With a special tool, the repeatability of the production of a part is increased by reducing the number of different operations.
Alain Rechagneux, manager of AJ CONCEPT – specialists in the design and manufacturing of special tools for press brakes – shares two significant examples of what can be produced.
Context and issues
Producing a complex sheet metal part on a press brake with no intermediate removal, in order to limit any actions that generate extra costs, such as disassembling the tool, or the intermediate handling and storage of parts.
When using standard equipment, the press brake would be equipped with a three-point bending tool and also a 90° bending tool requiring:
- intermediate storage of semi-finished parts,
- then a change of tools to complete the second series of bends.
Solution: a special tool combining several operations
For this project, the creation of a special tool allows to combine 2 bending operations into one. In other words, the part is produced on the press brake with just one descent of the ram: flat metal sheet-> complete bending operation -> finished part.
The rotary tool set in place allows to have 2 lower die models that are activated by a cylinder system; and following the same principle, 2 top punches.
Significant bending operation gains
The special tool used for this project therefore resolved the issues of production cost constraints and the technical complexity due to the part’s design. The gains were significant in the cost of manufacturing the part, as the manufacturer saved on:
- the disassembly-assembly of tools,
- the handling of the parts reduced by half,
- no more intermediate storage,
- bending cycle time reduced by half.
Door hinge: 2-station bending tools
The aim of this project was to perform multiple bends on a sheet metal part in one go on a press brake, in order to produce door hinges.
The production of the special bending tool was designed on a double station. A flat part is placed to be bent by station 1, before being transferred to the tool’s station 2. Finally, the final part is finished at station exit 2.
The special folding tool is particularly relevant for the manufacturing of this product. Indeed, it allows to reduce the number of operations and manipulations on the press brake. The number of cycles on the press brake is minimised in order to improve overall productivity (one press cycle per finished part). Performing all 5 bends in a single operation makes the process more reliable and makes production highly repeatable.
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