It’s no secret that this industry involves manipulating large pieces of heavy metal to complete projects, but -- thanks to a few bright minds -- these processes have become a lot easier.Automation is a tech update that’s ongoing, especially in complicated process like sheet metal bending via press brake. Kaempf & Harris is excited to share a few of our favorite breakthroughs in this area of expertise:
Bystronic’s Automated Press Brake
Bystronic, a global manufacturer in Illinois, created a new integrated tool changer system that allows the Xpert press brake to swap tools automatically. This system is of particular interest for users who want to save time and increase quality but don’t want to forgo flexibility.
As the demand for sheet metal increases, the products and projects require a greater variety of shapes, smaller batch sizes, and shorter product lifecycles. For companies offering sheet metal bending and cutting like Kaempf & Harris, this shift in demand means extra work, especially during the setup and takedown of bending machines.
According to Canadian Metalworking, the Xpert press brake and integrated tool changer allows users to automatically “bend parts quickly and with a consistently high level of quality. It also enables “a wide variety of parts to be bent with maximum repetition accuracy.”
“The tool changer sets up the brake with the upper and lower tools that are required for the job. During manual operation, this step costs the user up to 70 percent of the entire bending time.”
The entire automation system, including the 6-axis robotic arm, is located within the press brake, which accesses the tool magazine and protects “the machine from dirt and ambient influences.”
In combination with the tool changer, the press brake has a bending length of almost ten feet with a capacity ranging from 150 to 320 tons. As standard, the machine comes standard with an intelligent bending process control and fully automatic crowning.
Automatic Bending Machine
While many fabrication shops offer an automatic bending machine, Okwudili Ngene of the Technical Workers Division Coal Camp in Enugu, Nigeria, had to create one from scratch -- without education, materials, or funds.
“I decided to find a way to reduce the stress and make the work smoother,” Ngene told The Guardian.
Prior to his invention, many artisans were using chisel and hammer fabrication techniques to make designs. It took him three years to gather all of the metals to fabricate the machine and another six years to construct it.
“When I finished [in 2006], I connected it to electric and operated it,” he said. “People gathered here watching me operate the machine. In fact, I couldn’t believe I was the one that constructed it.”
Today, his colleagues who once doubted his idea are using the automatic machine to fabricate motor parts and chassis for their businesses. Ngene is still working on manual machines, including the cutter, bending, and punching machines, and earning a formal education in the trade.
LVD Strippit’s Synchro-Form
LVD Strippit, a sheet metal working machinery and software company in New York, introduced the Synchro-Form system, “an advancement in adaptive pressbrake-bending technology,” according to Metalforming Magazine. It’s an integrated feature of the manufacturer’s series of press brakes in models from 320 tons by 13 feet to 3,000 tons by 46 feet.
The system uses a laser scanner and synchro modules to manipulate, position, and measure each bend. It then “relays the digital information to an LCD Touch-B control, which triggers adjustments to part and ram position to achieve the correct profile.”
It “automatically maintains angular consistency and the required geometric profile when handling, positioning, and bending large parts with multiple bends.”
Synchro-Form overcomes accumulative error and trial-and-error bending during large construction projects to ensure precise, efficient bending; eliminate manual operations; and increase throughput.
From North America to overseas, this industry is booming with innovation and invention. If you’re interested in learning about other tech updates, download our Overview Of The Newest Sheet Metal Technologies by clicking below: