General notes

This blog is made by PRECITOOLS SRLS and duplicates the last news, notes, stories and articles published on official website. We thank everybody for your visits and can trully say that our blog is the biggest one dedicated for press brake bending technology or in particular press brake tools. Press brake manufacturers also provide a lot of information but mainly as advertisement as details and options of their products.

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External press brake bending software

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It is interesting to discuss why you really need external press brake software and moreover to invest in it. Let’s forget about very old press brakes and to look what is possible to get on the market today. Normally most of standard press brakes of any manufacturer have the tooling library and bending simulation at least in 2D mode. It means that the customer can import the tooling through CAD format and run planning algorithms to prepare the bending cycles according to the tools that are possible in library or installed on the machine. If the CNC is more progressive the 3D bending mode is also exist so the machine makes all the bend simulation, work of backgauges, necessary opening of the machine etc. And all of these functions are main functions that external bending software can offer to the customer! There could be differences in interfaces, strong of mathematic algorithms, usability, friendly use, modes etc. so if the customer will ask – what I will get else which I do not have at the CNC of my modern and last technology machine, the correct answer – nothing. Probably some software sales engineers try to ensure the customer that it is not true but it is only the reason that they want to sell their products. Now let us try to return for the topic of our article.

If you have 30 or 50 tons conventional press brake 20 years old with simple CNC or without and you want to prepare your bending tasks in professional mode with the purchase of modern external software – you can do it. You will do not get finally the integration with the old control but you can integrate the tooling in software and prepare bending tasks for the operator to run on the machine including the machine geometry in digital. But the main key idea that you invest the money for the old equipment and provably the price of software to purchase is nearly equal to the market price of your press brake.

But the other story if you have 600 tons machine – even the very very old it is quite expensive and probably the external software could be one of the possibilities to bring it to the new life in particular with the connection of modern model formats together with the old CNC. Moreover imagine the situation – you have 2-3 more or less modern CNC machine and your old big tonnage press brake that still in action and you need to control these all and probably with one entertainment. This could be also done with external software for sure.

Now let’s imagine the real situation. When you have one CNC press brake machine and one skilled operator you just need to do the job. You just need to have this one machine to use the main functions you want. When you have several machines with different tooling and probably different tool system you start the process of management how to operate with the machines and what machine will be more capable to do specific job. Not the loading of the machine and calculation of free time but the technological process do you have everything you need. But when you have more and more machines and flow of the operators (one is fired, one is ill, third never checked the programs on other machine and it is other system) you really can have the situation that you should prepare the jobs not by the operator and store them on CNC control but outside in the engineering or R&D department and then to send to the machine and to let the operator the main functions not to prepare the job but to control the work during action. So mainly – external software is the investment and the customer should understand perfectly why he needs it. And he could need it when he see that during the standard operation and programs preparation he has the lacks and problems with the operators, press brake interchangeable tools, operators knowledge of CNC controls etc. As any other investment in the fabrication customer will be ready to purchase external software if he will see that he can do additional money with it or he can save money (delays and problems) which are impossible to save without it.

Moreover as we told before – purchase of external bending software is also the reason to save money with the machine purchase. You do not need such functions like 3D simulation because you will have it outside of CNC control. So you can save some money with CNC model but without absence of functions and options you need.

The other story could be the connection with tool management so your engineering department will have in the library only active tools which are necessary for the job and planning of new parts will immediately will come with the question to make purchasement of new press brake tools to be prepared without running every time to workshop and discuss the situation and possibilities directly with operator. Yes, this information could come from the chief of workshop or storage manager but he can just identify the tooling without the information from somebody is it will be enough to make all bends you need.

Probably as the last reason could be the main following of the world to come with digital solutions to the production. External press brake software as the tool to control machines outside and will be connected with the main factory network is a good tool as one of the steps to digital technologies and Industry 4.0 which is required today for all modern productions.

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Interesting facts about Italy

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Hi there! Normally we write about press brake tools and bending technology but sometimes we would like to make articles about other things. And what is the best subject we can write about? For sure Italy as the country of residence and the country we live in. Well, here are some general or not very common facts about Italy. Probably they could be useful if you are planning to visit Italy as tourist and like the country and want to know more about it. And what do you know about beautiful country of wine and sun?

1. Italy is the country with very different nature inside. You can travel to real mountains, seaside, hills, mountain lakes and everything you wish. For nature Italy is really brilliant part of Europe.

2. Italy has German-speaking part – South Tirol or Alto Adige.

3. Because Italy had in the past lot of independent states before still now territorial separation is very strong. Moreover sometimes there are real political talking about independence and official separation of states.

4. Italy has lot of dialects and sometimes north Italians can’t understand the language of south Italians. Meanwhile the right Italian dialect is understood as Florentine after Dante publication of Divine Comedy (La Divina Commedia).

5. All main business is concentrated on the north side of Italy.

6. Ciao (used as English “hi” and “bye”) and pizza are the most popular words in Italy.

7. There is no rule of tip in Italian restaurants. All services are inside the bill (usually service and bread) and called “coperto” with fixed amount depends of the restaurant. You do not need to pay any more.

8. August is national holiday time. Everything is closed together with supermarkets or even limited time of state offices.

9. Bureaucracy is the main part of Italy. Keep very detailed with papers and paperwork.

10. South of Italy is the place where mafia still exists and get the protection money from the business (Italian word “pizzo”). By the way nobody knows what m.a.f.i.a word means))) Google it, this is also the story of history.

11. Italy is the country with the most famous design houses and factories for sport cars. It is hard to find person in world who doesn’t know what is Ferrari.

12. There are a lot of soccer clubs in Italy but mainly the separation between fans is only one – or you are fan of Juventus soccer club from Torino or you are against it.

13. Italy has inside Vatican in Rome and San-Marino in Emiglia-Romagna region. These countries are separate officially. So Italy is unique country to have 2 separate countries inside it.

14. Italian drivers are not very polite.

15. Taxi in Italy is very expensive. If even you will try to run Uber you will find only luxory and more expensive than official taxi. The most expensive taxi is to go to and from airport so the best for the tourist is to use public transport.

16. Strikes (in Italian “scioperi”) are very common and can effect the public transportation to be completely disabled during the day.

17. Restaurants outside of touristic places closed during the day and open for the lunch time (usually 12-15.00) and for the evening (from 19.00). Lot of places including restaurants could be closed on Monday.

18. Forget about supermarkets or other shops 24/7. You can find it somewhere but they are very very rare.

19. The main plate for Italy – spaghetti or other pasta with tomatoes (pasta con pomodoro). If you do not know what to cook – make pasta. Tomato sauce is cheap and could be find in every supermarket. No ketchup it Italian kitchen, only to make hamburgers!

20. In Italy it is normal to stay inside the house or apartments with shoes. Nobody remove.

21. The meaning of Italian colors which is officially published: green as hope, white as faith, and red as charity. But we really know that it is tomato, mozzarella cheese and basil – the three colors and ingredients of famous and the most simple pizza recipe.

22. Coffee is very big part of culture. Usually Italian drink 3-4 coffee cups during the day. Tea is only for tourists. Cappuccino only for breakfast with croissant. Coffee “Americano” is historical name for coffee which was too strong for US army soldiers after World War 2 and they diluted it with the hot water. Nobody drinks Americano in Italy and lots of bars don’t know what it is. If standard espresso (caffè) is too strong, you can ask for “caffè lungo” or coffee with small part of milk (caffè macchiato). One more about coffee. There is no Starbucks in Italy.

23. Usually Italians don’t travel too much and don’t visit a lot of places even in Italy. Have met several people in north who had never been in Venice.

24. Italy for Italians is “è il paese più bello del Mondo” this means “Best country in the world”. Be quite careful with critic of Italy when you are speaking with Italian. He can say a lot of critics about his country but never permit to you to do the same.

25. Italians do not like to pay taxes which could be very big for rich people. To understand how it goes you can travel to the port where parks of big yachts like Liguria region are or Genova port and you will see that usually boats stay with offshore financial country flags. Same story in other Europe.

If you will like it we will continue! Believe us, Italy and Italian traditions probably can give much much more facts and details about this beautiful country! Stay with us.

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Trumpf-WILA press brake tools

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We can offer the good replacement for all press brake tools of Trumpf-WILA types. All main punches are manufactured with 42CrMo4 for long-time use nad high efficiency. Our tools could be replaced and equal 100% to sizes of original OW Trumpf punches and EV Trumpf dies. High tonnage radiused tools under request. As original tooling we can provide safety buttons for frontal loading. As usual for all our tools – possible of coating, modification of radius, special lengths, special horns and much more. Contact us for details.

Press brake automation

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Normally it is reasonable to say that this subject is outside our range of job. We are writing about press brake tools because we supply them but automation of bending is the subject dedicated to the manufacturers of press brakes.

Yes, mostly true and here is why we made idea for this article. There was the request where the customer want to bend steel with 25 mm thickness. Nothing special and it is possible to offer the quotation but also is necessary to justify could the machine will be able to provide the high tonnage at one area without any damage and deflection. And moreover it was standard Promecam system which is normally only for 100 t/m and the reason to change intermediates for thicker one. All of these things are not standard but not really complicated to deal with and moreover we checked the possibility to supply adapters to move to Trumpf-Wila because for this system and width 20 mm tools 200 t/m could be possible.
Ok, but what is here about automation? Will explain. Customer wants to buy press brake tools to start new production. But what is the weight of part? Mainly it was quite small width but more than 35 kg. So how you will deal with it? It is possible to make the project and to calculate everything but how to handle the part of big weight if it will be real typical production with quantities each day? And funny story that customer didn’t think about it too. And this means that all our stuff could be completely useless if the customer can’t handle the part in production. No, he can organize the handling with two workers or workshop light crane but the constant manual handling doesn’t lead to the normal production.

So the first reason is not to think about the tools but to know about automation. For several bends and new press brake it could be the following frontal support which follow the part during the bending. But to make the full handling it is necessary to think about automatic or semiautomatic system to move the part or robotic solution.
Yes, the first field of automation is not the repeatable massive job but the heavy parts where manual handling is quite hard or impossible. Moreover the market offers also the solutions for existing press brakes to equip them with automatic system.
The other story is massive production. Work of press brake operator is not the easy one. He need  all the hours to stay at the front of the machine and to make the moving of pieces one by one. If the job really repeatable, robot could be really great solutions to increase the productivity and moreover to enter the mode of 24 hours working shift. Moreover there are different developments to change the jobs, change the press brake tools, change the pallet for loading and unloading of parts etc. It is useful to know that the robot is also very flexible investment if you made the right choice – tomorrow you can move it to other applications and install welding system for example. Robotic sheet metal bending not so massive product like welding cells for example but there are a lot of reasons to run with robots. And it is also the side of the investment to new digital technologies, modern factory and the latest innovations at the field.
It is interesting also to see that some manufacturers develops also robotic innovations to change the press brake tools with second robot on fly. With one robot it is quite problematic because the necessary to change the gripper. But if you are looking for really fast production and change of working cycles there are possible to supply also special tool racks together with robot or other manipulator to prepare on the press brake new tools for the new job.

It is interesting to know that automatic solution could be also not the stand-alone bending cell but the connection to other systems, for example transfer the parts from punching or to and from other areas. There are a lot of fantasies and projects which should be true – several robots for long parts, gantry systems or rails for robots to move it out of press brake area if necessary to work by operator again, small work of punching station, fastening operations etc.

In addition automatic cell is the part for digital factory or Industry 4.0 which is today the first name to develop the modern workshop.

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Defects and break of tooling

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Ok, a lot of articles how to choose and what to keep in mind to purchase press brake tools. Now this is the time to tell how it could be easily broke or defected.

First thing to know from the customer side – normally press brake tools are investments for years. Nobody can tell you the real duration of life to use but it really could be years depends of all circumstances you have during the bending process. Normally it is also possible to provide the guarantee, why not, but it is just not typical in tooling practice because everybody knows that tooling is the subject of wear and tear. Anyway it could be really long period of use, thousand of bends and even normal condition after it if the caring about the recommended conditions will be performed.
Why important to follow all recommendations? It is very easy – damage of the tool is the reason to replace the tool completely and to purchase the new one. But even small damages and scratches are the problem because they will effect result of bending in terms of precision and quality of surface. Even small defect will be the reason to see the problem on the final part. It means – for example, operator didn’t realize the small damage of tools and continued to work several days and, finally, as the result production has hundred of defected parts. The second importance. The purchased tools, for example, were made with special geometry and the cost was twice or triple than standard. The defect for this type of tool means more expensive for production to replace.

Now, from small to big…

  • To care about the adherence if to work with aluminum or zinc plated sheets. This will effect for the fast and accelerated die wear and the real remedy is only to order the tools with special coating. The temporary solution – to have near the air blast or air gun to clean the tools during and after the work.
  • Burrs, even small mean that first you bend the burr and after – the bend you need. Burrs are the good subject for high wear of tools and the main solution – manual or automated deburring of sheet metal parts before bending. Lot of companies do not think that small burrs are really important but even small burrs are the problem for high volume production.
  • Storage as the last and simple. Keep your press brake tools clean and properly stored. Yes, you can store them as the pile, do not care about the conditions and corrosions to finally have marked and scratched scrap of metal to bend just something not precision and simple. If the customer cares about his production he should to be care about his tools as well. Unfortunately we met a lot of situations when the tools are stored as the pieces of metal.
  • Customer bends other things…
    This is really story from life when the customer several weeks after receipt of new tools started to bend bars. To bend something outside of flat sheet metal parts is the subject for additional study and for sure nobody will give you any guarantee for the process and efficiency of tooling. Moreover the customer bended bars with coining process and after several bends he damaged the bottom of die opening. You should know – the bottom of die opening is outside of working zone for standard air bending process so this area is not hardened also. Moreover during bar bending the force is provided from the top of bar and not distributed like sheet metal bending. Anyway, if such special applications are presented the main reasonable way – to ask the tool supplier and the supplier of press brake about possibilities to make without any risks. Otherwise there are different possibilities to damage. And we should say that in our example the customer was lucky just to damage the cheap die.
  • Tonnage and limitations. Usually sheet metal bending is connected with small thickness parts. For these applications 100 ton, 3 meter machines, so 33 tons per meter and no any problem with the tooling or the machine. And everything changes when the customer wants to make thick material, use the force of press brake in one area without length distribution, work with hard resistance materials or ignores the way of air bending and tries to make small radius started with coining.
    The results could be dramatically – damaged dies, bended punches with the deflection of the center line, problems with the machine. Any big force activity is subject for study – reason to change the tooling from standard ones to special with more high limits, subject to speak with the manufacturer of the machine and to think double time about all possible problems. There are lot of possibilities to reduce the tonnage like increase of V-die opening so the customer should follow the limits and moreover do not make overloading more than 80% to leave 20% for all possible risks.
    It is also very important to know. For all main tool manufacturers even high forces bending is the main theory so it is possible to review the possible tonnage to guarantee based on the thinnest area of tool and used tool material. For example for Promecam 100 t/m is the limit because tang width 13 mm only. Ok, it is possible to install heavy duty intermediates. But… there are also bolted clamps, will they be ok for 200 t/m force? Hard to say. So this is the reason to be very accurate with high tonnage applications. And if possible to leave them for big tonnage press brakes and heavy duty tooling from the begin.

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Testing of tooling

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Press brake bending is the theory for all press brake tools manufacturers. When the customer asks for tonnage, springback, tolerance, angle – all what is possible to provide is the main theory. Yes, it is based on some experience, formulas, ideas and calculations but when the tool was not tested with your steel – there are only theoretical parameters.
Moreover everybody who works in production is informed that even the same trademark of material from different batches could lead to different results in deformation.

How theory becomes practice. There is no magic – nobody of press brake tools manufacturers has in workshop press brake even for 100 tons to test all parts. So normally any test goes to the small length of part to test with compact press brake. Moreover if customer asks strict tolerances probably everybody ask for bigger gap – it is hard to take all costs for mistakes and to guarantee something extremely precise and special. And there is other black spot – even if you can test tool for 100 mm it doesn’t guarantee that results will be the same in two meters – there are longitudinal relations as well. But anyway if the tooling should be shipped and the shape is special, it is impossible to ship the theoretical shape and non-tested production result because the manufacturer should have some obligations about the tool he developed. That is why the question in-shop testing is necessary and should be solved before shipment.

How to test if possible to test? There are two main available small costs practices: laser cutting sections with welding or plastic based dimensional printing. Plastic based printing is completely new solution with incredible advantage – just necessary to have 3d printer to make the prototype. But there is also one big disadvantage – plastic is not the metal and this means strength of plastic is enough to test special tools for thin material applications. But anyway plastic prototypes have the good future for development – 3d metal printing is the nearly future. Moreover to add more strength to the tool it is made not only with plastic 3d printing but with some internal metal inserts around the working zone to prevent some big deformation. Anyway it is not the working solution but the tool for tests.

Laser cutting together with the welding – traditional testing process to make small section of special tool. Disadvantage of the process is the access to laser cutting machine but the advantage that you will have real metal not hardened tool with the necessary shape to make the test bend. Is there the future for development? Hard to say but replacing of laser cutting to waterjet can give the possibility to cut solid sections about 50 mm or more with greatest precision. It is also important that the costs for preparation of such shape are very low to make just several cuts in one sheet.
What is the final for the test? Normally the bend quality and geometry which is acceptable by the customer to start the manufacture of normal bending tool with proper material and hardening. Or the feedback that allows to make modification. The reason of testing and testing tool prototypes is very important – nobody wants to deal with the modification of prepared and hardened tooling after the sale. And any possibilities should be used to reduce to the minimum of any risks. So the test prototype is the way to control the deformation to remake the theory into the real bend.
Anyway every repeatable process has the solution to realize but based on the limits for part and the tool. It is the question of experience and the field knowledge. The main point is usually only one – customer has the real and reasonable requirements and accept the calculations of special tools. All other should be the subject of study. And there is no the black point, even with thick material is possible to make the modulation of forces and stress to have the theory realistic. It is not usual procedure but helps to terminate the black spots.

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Radius bending

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Radius bending is one of the wide used application with the press brakes and as usual requires a lot of details. So we would like to speak more about it.

Normally and the first the radius bending is the subject for consideration and precision calculation of possible springback. We already wrote it in other article so here we would like to ignore the main theory but one point still important – based on springback probably you need the tooling with the radius smaller than you want to obtain. This is very delicate question and can’t be ignored but usually nobody has the perfect solution for it – we can’t guarantee the real radius without tests and the customer can’t understand how to achieve what he want. So mainly if the application is the first one in the customer workshop i.e. he doesn’t have any practice for such bending – supply of tooling is the subject of compromises. We can supply tools for desired radius but if after bending because of springback he will get bigger value – it is his question to rebend.

Next and more interesting point is the tool limitation. All the main producers today provide the solution with standard press brake tools for radius bending up to R50. There are different reasons why it goes this way – in practice it means that there are not so many orders for other and repeated radius types so to make stock of such tools if the wasting of money. Moreover to provide the good price nobody makes the one tool and to make ten when you by two of them – manufacturer has the problem to sell other eight. Other reasons are the connection with holders (tool should be not very heavy), possible tonnage etc.
So we have the question – what is happen if you need to make R75. Or 95. Or 200.

The bending theory of radius bending has 2 solutions. One means the full radius for one bend. And if you are making the standard radius, for example R25, there is no other solution, moreover it is the most economical one. There are differences – or you will buy the holder with radius insert or you will buy better and special solid radiused punch but anyway you will work with one stroke.
Second solution called bumping and means the use of step bending to make one bigger radius with several smaller one. And there are also the different parameters, for example you can make R200 with punch R50 with 5 bends or 10 bends. To understand how many steps you need you should divide the complete length of the bend for several parts and probably make the tests according to the requirements how to obtain the smooth radius.
Normally we would like to say that if customer requests the bend from R50 to R100 there could be the ideas and we can offer the special punch (but customer should understand that it costs more than standard) but if the request if to bend more than R100 – only bumping process is possible. This is not very hard in practice and the same work like a step bending but before running automatic programs the operator should find the optimal solutions.

Radius bending is the question to the die choice as well. For example a lot of people like to use polyurethane dies specially for radius bending which also provides the mark free operation. We can’t recommend soft materials in terms of repeatability because after number of bends the return of structural possibilities of soft material could be completely changed, meanwhile if you can accept this solution why not to use it. Normally big radiuses require big dies – according to the possibilities and also for reduction of forces. As we mentioned in springback article the choosing of angle of die also is important – more sharp angle could prevent for material return. Also with big opening dies the customer need to think about the question of handling – the weight is very big so the operator should be able to have the access for lifting devices to remove and install dies on the machine.

The radius bending of big thickness material makes additional requests to the construction of tooling – if it is made as support and insert – it should be quite important that the connection side is very rigid to prevent any displacement because of high forces. For this reasons even for medium thickness materials we are offering nitrided version of radius inserts – the forces could make the wear of insert very fast and any protection should be helpful.

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