Forming on a press brake used to be pretty simple. Take a V-Die in the angle you desire and run the punch into the material forcing it all the way down to the bottom of the die and go just a little more, 10% of the material thickness or so. This overstroke effect was called “coining” and eliminated the need for material thickness adjustments, springback, etc. It was an accurate way to form 1 bend in 1 part, and even though it took an enormous amount of force/tonnage to do that the mechanical press brakes of the day delivered. However the limitations of 1 bend in 1 part per setup presented enormous limitations on production to valuable time AND samples to get the forming just right.  Fast forward to today….

With the introduction  of CNC Controls and much more accurate forms of controlling the ram depth. As the CNC controller technology developed, manufacturers begin to incorporate more and more “logic” into them thus simplifying the layout and setup process. Today's Press Brake bending is inherently more accurate, faster and much more reliable. Controllers are packed with information on bending variables and sequences and perform much of the fabricators layout and design for them simply by their input of the desired formed shape results.

But these press brakes still are only as good as the material and tooling you're put into the machine. Here are some basic steps you can perform to ensure successful bending on any press brake.

Material Type: Make sure you have defined the correct material type in your machines controller.  It means a lot to the controller as it calculates tensile strength, yield strength, springback and a myriad of other factors based off of the material type.  For example if you're bending A36 (a recycled combination of steels and very common) yet are programming your controller with “Mild Steel” you're likely be getting poor results and having to overly compensate accordingly. The correct material type you're forming is paramount to a successful brake bending application

Material Thickness: Just as important as material type, material thickness is equally important to your press brake forming success. Sheet Metals are known by “GAUGE” thickness and the gauges can vary in thickness from suppliers by as much as 5% and still be acceptable and “within range.”  However 5% in bending +/- 1/2° over 10’ can have a massive impact on your press brake bending success. Measure your material and input the decimal of the materials actual thickness to ensure you're getting the right results from your press brake, the first time.

Tool It Right: Many Press brake bending issues can be directly related to inaccuracies in tooling. Often we find that customer complaints of bending issues are directly related to worn, broken or simply inaccurate press brake tooling. If you want the best results from your press brake put the most accurate tooling you can buy into it. Premium tooling is more expensive BUT it last far longer, is extremely repeatable when removed/replaced into the press brake and is very flexible as it is segmented allowing for any side flange forming possibility. You’ll invest in premium press brake tooling 1 time and it will last you 3-5X longer than the cheap stuff while providing you years of reliable bending.

Crowning: If you're still shimming your dies, it’s time to stop and quit wasting your valuable time and money. Press brake crowning devices compensate for the inherent “flex” of the bed downard in the middle against the tonnage forces the ram is applying. Whether you have a manual or CNC Crowning device you will enjoy the capability to quickly and accurately adjust for  

Whether you choose a new press brake with the latest technology and features or choose a well equipped value priced used system Southern Fabricating Machinery Sales can help you make the right choice. Call us today at 813-444-4555 or visit us on the web at

Press Brakes