Transforming Steel in the Forming Process
May 23, 2017
Humans have been bending metal ever since the first crude alloys were formed. Brute force or heating the material to make it soft were the methods of choice until the industrial revolution harnessed the power of steam and hydraulics. For centuries, punches rammed against dies to form shapes out of steel. Nothing much changed after that until we applied technology that brought the process into the 21st Century.
Bending metal had always been more of an art than a science. Skilled press operators used their skill and experience to form templates for each part by trial and error. Even the most skillful worker could go through a lot of steel before perfecting the prototype. Not only was this approach costly in terms of scrapped materials, but the people with this kind of knowledge are getting harder and harder to find as a whole generation reaches retirement age.
Technology is a Game Changer
Instead of trial and error, we now create a CAD model rendering for each part from provided engineering drawings prior to taking anything out onto the shop floor. The file we create documents the proper radius and bend angles for each part, and provides a checklist for each step our operators must take to form that part.We’ve created a library of different programs for up to 8,000 different parts. Operators on each of our nine press brakes can pull the proper program from the server and set up the press brake for the correct parameters before bending the steel. The results?
- Reduced set up time
- Better process control
- Reduction in scrapped material
- Superior, accurate and repeatable formed parts
The Thicker the Better
In addition, our press brakes can be preprogrammed for a certain speed, so that the 250 tons of pressure it generates can be applied in a slow, steady push onto the material, instead of a harsh “punch.” This provides a more accurate bend and a level of control that allows us to form parts from thicker materials, up to ½”, that most sheet metal shops won’t touch. Our years of experience with forming thicker metals make us an ideal partner.
For improved productivity with even higher levels of quality, our in-house machine shop allows us the ability to produce custom dies and punches, as well as machine parts to bring them to the correct tolerances.
Have you got a complex part you’ve been trying to form? Bring it to us; we’d love to meet the challenge head on. Just ask Production Manager, Jason Ming, “Give us the order and we’ll build it.” Contact us today.