Brake Press

A brake press (or press brake) is a machine used to perform repeatable, precise, and reliable sheet metal bending. Brakes are classified according to tonnage and bed length. They can be equipped with various types of punches and dies to control sheet bending. Most are now equipped with an automatic back gauge to aid in positioning and holding the sheet, greatly increasing repeatability. A press brake is a production machine that is usually used for metal blanks instead of bars. As such, it is most commonly found in factories. While the folding machine is used for light, thin plates, press brakes can exert hundreds or even thousands of tons of force, making them used for large steel plates and other heavy-duty bending applications. Press brakes can produce both small parts and very long components with minimal tooling. They are useful both in small and medium production series.

How does a Brake Press work?

Brake press forming is one of the earliest forms of mechanical metal deformation. A piece of sheet metal is shaped along a straight axis during this process. This can be done with a V-shaped, U-shaped, or channel-shaped die. While press brakes tend to be a simple idea, retaining accuracy can also be very difficult. Precision bending is a feature of both printing, tooling, and workpiece material. Material properties such as yield strength, ductility, hardness, and the material state shall affect the amount of spring-back of the material. The most popular industrial press brake method is called air bending.

Air bending is a 3-point bending. The bent angle is determined by the degree to which the punch tip penetrates the "V" cavity. The greater the penetration of the tip of the punch, the greater the angle obtained. The key advantage of air bending is that it requires significantly less force than other approaches to accomplish a 90 degree bending due to the torque effect. Characteristic for the press brake formation process is its ability to manufacture ductile materials as well as its ability to be used in low and medium production applications, particularly for smaller parts. Other benefits are that you only require limited tooling and that it is really good for long parts using "V," "U," channel, or other special punch and dies.

Important Tips for operating a Brake Press

Press brake is a machine tool used to bend sheets into different sizes and shapes. Many operators are developing their skills through trial and error. Others are formally qualified and accredited in their trade. However, no matter how the operator practices the trade, precision bending requires the operator to have a clear knowledge of four key areas: the position of the operator, drawings, brake presses, and tooling.

The function of the operator

An outstanding press brake operator can still develop his craft by increased preparation and the introduction of emerging innovations in the industry. These operators should also have a clear grasp of the whole manufacturing chain from start to finish. This covers the layout of the press brake, the manufacturing time required to fulfill the work requirements, and the machine capacity.

The press brake itself

There are many different types of press brakes on the market today, each with its features and drawbacks to be considered and maintenance needs. These types of brakes include electric, hydraulic, CNC-upgraded, and full CNC brakes. Each type of computer has its features, drawbacks, and set-up times. Press brake operators need to thoroughly understand the variations between each machine, the pacing of each machine, and the concentrated load limitations associated with each unit. In certain instances, only one type of computer and not another are professionally qualified by operators. Operators that surpass the load limits will do significant harm to the system and distort the goods made. Press brake operators need to know the machine's math!


High-quality pieces with bad tooling are nearly difficult to produce. Different forms of bending (i.e., air bending, bottom bending, punching) require different kinds of instruments. Experienced press brake operators must have complete knowledge of the different tool tolerances for each punch and die used.


All the essential details required to produce parts with a press brake must be included in the sketches. This includes the bend angles, the component lengths, the inside bend radius, and the respective tolerances for each element. The requirements displayed in the drawings must take into account the capability of the brake presses and equipment used in the project.

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