Additive manufacturing's potential in low-tonnage bending

3D-printed tools could make the low-tonnage press brake even more flexible


Small, light-tonnage press brakes, often electric or a hydraulic-electric hybrid, are undergoing a resurgence of popularity. Years ago shops might have strayed from them, considering their low tonnage and short bed lengths. After all, in a job shop, why invest in a machine that can process only small parts, while longer-bed machines can form just about whatever you throw at them?

Fiber lasers have taken cutting capacity to another level, and now shops need to do the same for forming. Offline programming and simulation can create a complicated stage-bend program in minutes, meaning an intricate part can be formed with tools spanning across the bed. Because programming is essentially automatic, these bed-spanning setups make sense even for short runs.

Read the full article in The Fabricator.

January 10, 2020