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Down-Acting Versus Up-Acting Press Brakes: How do they differ? - Modern press brakes fall into two categories: down-acting and up-acting machines. A down-acting machine has an upper beam that moves downward to bring the tooling together. An up-acting machine has a lower beam that moves upward to do the same. Each machine has its own positive and negative points. Understanding the differences, strengths and limitations of each will help to make the best use of either style.