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Pressing ahead

Based on the new offerings seen at Fabtech 2019, press brake operators have a lot to look forward to in the New Year

According to the Trade Show News Network, Fabtech is consistently among the biggest trade shows in the nation year after year, especially when it’s in Chicago. In fact, Fabtech 2019 in the Windy City was the biggest show yet – with 1,700 exhibitors and attendance totaling more than 48,000. Inevitably, thousands of products were on display, including the more than 500 products that made their market debut at the show.

Cutting, bending and welding dominate the product categories at Fabtech, and each year, various trends emerge that will dictate the way in which fabricators and manufacturers carry out those processes in the years to come. As the show closed on Nov. 18, the three primary trends that dominated press brake conversations were automation, ergonomics and compact models. These trends address the ongoing issue of the skills gap and are intended to increase productivity and, in turn, profitability. The following press brakes, which were on display at the show, exemplify these trends.

Press brake with ATC

Amada America Inc. features the latest in press brake technology and automation with the HRB 1003 ATC press brake with automatic tool changer. The press brake enables even the most complex tool setups in less than 4 min. The new HRB Series of press brakes leverage Amada’s latest bending technology and a variety of production-enhancing features to provide an outstanding price/performance ratio. The new HRB ATC press brakes will be produced at the Carolina Mfg. Center in High Point, N.C.

Another major selling point for the HRB is that it is customizable, giving fabricators more flexibility as their needs grow or change. Customizable features include the company’s Bi-S Bend indicator sensors, AGrip-A punch holders, custom sheet followers, automatic foot pedals, double-clamp 6-axis backgauge and natural crowning design. Each feature is designed to increase user productivity and can be implemented as the user dictates.

The double-clamp backgauge delivers stable processing of complex material shapes and the natural crowning design helps ensure a consistent angle across the entire bend length. The bend indicator sensor helps ensure accuracy for stable processing without a trial bend. AGrip-A punch holders lock via the AMNC3i control to reduce setup time by 60 percent. In addition, the custom sheet followers help prevent distortion on heavy workloads and support the material throughout the bending process. The automatic foot pedal slides to the next bending position to help improve efficiency.

Robotic bending

LVD Strippit offers automation through its Dyna-Cell robotic bending cell featuring a high-speed electric press brake. The press brake and robot function as a compact, integrated unit to automate the bending of small to medium-sized parts in varying batch sizes at bending speeds up to 1 in. per sec. Dyna-Cell is built on LVD’s Dyna-Press electric-driven platform. The cell combines the Dyna-Press Pro 40-ton press brake with 59-in. working length and 5-axis backgauge with a Kuka industrial robot to offer bending productivity in a small footprint of 16 ft. by 16 ft.

Dyna-Cell incorporates a stacking area with space to load and unload several pallets. Finished parts are offloaded by the robot on to the appropriate pallet. When bending a large volume of small parts, no operator intervention is required for up to eight hours of automated production. Because the Dyna-Cell allows for unmanned or manned operation, it is well suited for any batch size – small, medium and large.

The robot features a gripper designed and patented by LVD that handles part sizes from 1.25 in. by 3.9 in. up to 13.7 in. by 19.6 in. Its compact size allows it to easily handle small parts and go between tool stations. Users can make bends on three different sides of a part without regripping. Gripper suction cups are controlled via offline software and activated according to part size. Because one gripper fits all applications, production is continuous and uninterrupted.

Dyna-Cell offers fast programming: 10 min. for CAM generation of the bending and robot program and 10 min. for setup and first part generation. When batch sizes are too small to benefit from robot automation, the robot can be placed in “park” position and the press brake can be used in standalone mode.

Modular press brake

With the Xpert Pro line of press brakes, Bystronic Inc. presents a high-end press brake that sheet metal processing companies can adapt to their requirements on a modular basis. Building on idea of modularity, three models are available, and customers can customize them with optional accessories.

The three models of the Xpert Pro appeal to a variety of users: The Classic model is well suited for job shops with small batch sizes or for prototype builders. With the Performance model, medium-sized companies can produce larger series quickly and reliably. The Dynamic model, with bending speeds of up to 3/4 in. per sec., was designed for companies that need even more speed to efficiently handle batch sizes of 1,000 pieces and more.

Press capacity ranges from 110 tons to 350 tons for the Xpert Pro press brake and can be adapted to a wide range of requirements. This enables materials up to 5/8 in. thick to be bent with ease. Bending lengths can either be 10 ft. or 13 ft.

Thanks to the modular concept, the configuration can be changed if requirements change. The exchange of individual modules, for example of the backgauge, is straightforward and all optional equipment can be easily retrofitted at any time.

Furthermore, the Xpert Pro eliminates common compatibility problems. Bystronic designed the tool clamping system to be so open that, in addition to the large selection of Bystronic equipment, tools from other suppliers can also be used.

Bystronic’s Dynamic Crowning delivers precise and consistent bending, automatically adjusts the curvature of the lower beam during the bending process and reacts to part bend length, material characteristics and part position on the table. For even higher process flexibility, the LAMS angle measuring system is available as an option, which compensates for varying material characteristics and rolling grain direction variations.

Next-gen models

Part of the new generation of TruBend Series 7000 machines, Trumpf Inc. released the TruBend 7050 press brake with a press force of 55 tons and a bending length of 60 in. The ergonomic high-speed machine is built for users who work with thicker sheets or manufacture larger parts.

A 6-axis backgauge helps the operator position components with remarkable precision. The gauge fingers travel at 1,500 mm per sec. along the X axis and 2,200 mm per sec. along the Z axis. A bending line laser helps to properly align parts.

This new generation of machines comes with the ACB Wireless angle measuring system. Small metal contact plates at the bottom of the sensor tools send a signal to the machine when they touch the sheet metal, which is then used to calculate the bending angle.

For simplified programming, a new control panel features a streamlined view of just the essentials so users can quickly find the right screen for entering data. The control panel’s touchpad can be used even with work gloves on. The machine may be fitted with another screen alongside this panel on the press beam, for example, to display part diagrams. Additionally, the MobileControl module sends simple commands to the machine. The control unit can be mounted on a rail above the tools.

Further ease of use comes from an LED strip on the upper tool clamp that indicates where the operator has to set up tools and where the next bend will be. The TruBend 7050 comes with a right-hand cabinet to store tools; tools slide out on telescopic rails. The cabinet can hold up to 15.1 m of bending tools, and contains a shelf that users can pull out to hold boxes, finished parts or other items.

A sit-stand stool, a table to support the arms, a shelf for documents and a footrest keeps the operator comfortable and minimizes fatigue.

TruBend Series 7000 models are small and compact. As an example, the TruBend 7050 is 3,553 by 1,756 mm. A roller gate is another space-saving feature.

Eco-conscious bending

The Hyform from Cincinnati Inc. (CI) is an energy-efficient, environmentally conscious and operator friendly hybrid press brake that runs quietly in high-production environments. The Hyform press brake is an energy saving system that offers versatile productivity options while maintaining ruggedness. A new servo-motor pump runs quiet and reduces operating cost with lower energy consumption and simplified maintenance; the pump only runs during the working portion of the stroke, saving considerable energy while the ram is stationary. In addition to energy savings, the Hyform is environmentally friendly using only 22 gallons of fire resistant, readily biodegradable hydraulic fluid.

The brake includes a 22-in. touchscreen control, bend simulation software with 3-D part views, interlocked frame members, Dynamic Thickness Compensation, programmable ram tilt and CI’s exclusive 6-axis linear motor backgauge. Dynamic Thickness Compensation provides accurate bending across a variety of materials.

Additional features include an ergonomic sliding overhead control arm, built-in storage cabinets, LED lighting, protective cylinder covers, and side and rear guards. CI’s CIberLink generates daily log files of machine production and provides the ability to monitor machine status on a remote dashboard.

Job setups are assisted with a graphical display of tool locations, photo and video attachments, hydraulic tool clamping and programmable crowning. Ram speed of 550 ipm and precision ram repeatability of ±0.0002 in. assure fast and consistent production. The 14-in. stroke and 21-in. open height tackle challenging part shapes and tool heights.

Compact press brake

MC Machinery Systems Inc. recently introduced its new ball-screw press brake, the BB306. This fully electric press brake is designed with a smaller footprint to fit any facility and form smaller parts. The new machines come with standard features, including an integrated all-axis pulse handle, thickness detection, multi-axis backgauge, front and back LED lighting, and the largest user-friendly control on the market.

Additionally, the BB306 comes with the new MOS control found on all BB and BH series and features all Mitsubishi electronics, motors and servo drives, featuring an AC servo motor and ball-screw drive mechanism for high-speed productivity and repeatability. The machine’s design includes a folding front table, a 5-axis backgauge and a tilting controller that can be adjusted by the operator, designed to support workers ergonomically in a standing or sitting position.

The press brake’s upper beam drive system enables high-speed movement and incredible ram repeat-stop accuracy. The high-speed, high-precision backgauge has a 4-micron positioning accuracy thanks to Mitsubishi motor technology. A 22-in. color multi-touch screen running Windows makes programming simple and quick. It is also engineered to be environmentally clean and quiet.

The BH13530 press brake also features an all-new automatic tool changer as well as the Diamond BH “Dual Drive” system, which controls high-speed up and down movement with a ball screw and bending movement by the servo-hydraulic piston. The new automatic tool changer provides quicker and more precise tool setup for maximum machine uptime.

Amada America Inc.

Bystronic Inc.

Cincinnati Inc.

LVD Strippit

MC Machinery

Trumpf Inc.