The Art Of Bending: The Metal Bending Machine

Every year, the FABTECH® tradeshow, provides a focus on the latest machinery. It also highlights changes and such things as capital spending. As usual, certain items command more attention than others do. While often, the press brake is of singular importance, other machinery does grab attention. Among them is the lowly metal bending machine.

What Is a Bending Machine?

A bending machine is a tool for forming metal. Its purpose is to take a piece of metal on the workspace and create a bend. The machine may produce it using a linear or rotating motion. In sheet metalworking, the term “brake” is often applied to the machine that produces the bend. The actual method of bending varies in accordance to their shape or type. Among them are these two:

  • Folding: Today’s bending machines can produce both positive and negative bend angles in very complex components. Folding allows larger sheets to be easily bent with minimal risk of damage to the metal.
  • Wiping: This method is faster than folding but increases the risk to the sheet metal of scratching. This possibility increases in proportion to the sharpness of the angle of the

A metal bending machine or brake comes in different types to achieve the goal of sheet metal bending.

The Metal Bending Machine: Types

There are different types of metal bending machines or brakes. They range from the simplistic cornice brake to the more complex and commonly used press brake.

  • Cornice Brake: This machine only sanctions the operator to produce simple bends and creases
  • Box-and-Pan (Finger) Brake: This type of bending machine allows operators to produce both box and pan shapes – hence the name, as well as other similar shapes.
  • Bar Folder: This smaller, simplified brake can create the bend in a sheet metal in single motion, but cannot accomplish this at the depths tackled by finger and cornice brakes
  • Press brake: Of all variations of bending machinery, this tool offers the capability to tackle the more complex bends and can be customized to produce specific and unique shapes, forms and bends. It is also the most adaptable to power automation and to CNC controls. This is a common tool in most machine shops, and tool and die shops. It is also the most expensive

Each type of metal bending equipment has its purpose. Each functions to ensure the operator produces the right type of bending required for the metal item. Therefore, to be successful, it is always important to match the right metal bending machine to what the task demands.

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