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Sheetmetal bending machine

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article image Continuous bending of most shapes.

FINN-POWER, represented in Australia by Advanced Sheetmetal Technologies has released the Ebe Express Bender for sheetmetal bending and shaping applications.

It uses servo controllers instead of hydraulic controllers. It accurately automates complex tasks, giving better bending quality, increased flexibility, environmentally friendly operation, reduction in tedious and costly stoppages, less vibration and noise, and reduced use of electricity and oil.

The Ebe almost fully automates the bending cycle from the initial stage when a blank sheet is loaded right to the point of finalising the bent part, and the entire sequence can be achieved in a continuous lights-out automated process.

The Ebe can be positioned to operate within Finn-Power's Night Train system. In the Night Train (NT) setup, components punched and cut on Shear Genius or laser punch combo machines are sorted and stacked by stacking robots or parts sorting devices and then transferred to the NT storage system by a mobile stacker crane.

From there the Ebe is fed the cut sheets for bending and removal by stacking robots before transfer back into the store, ready for transfer to other work stations such as welding or assembly.

During operation, a blank sheet is loaded automatically by robot onto the Ebe's working table where a manipulator pushes it against positioning pins. This manipulator holds the workpiece firmly during all manipulation phases. Sheet size and part complexity can vary greatly and the machine has a 2.5mm thick material capacity.

The Ebe's bending process is based on two frames, comprising a stationary main frame and a floating internal C-frame which is controlled by CNC axis and servo motors to produce bending by either a circular or a rolling mode. The bending process also uses an upper tool with hydraulically actuated vertical movement, CNC control and a fixed lower tool hold a workpiece during bending. Upper and lower blades transfer bending force onto the sheet and fast suction cup robots load flat components. A manipulator places the components against NC positioning pins, rotates the workpiece and once all sides have been bent it transfers the component to an unloading conveyor. The entire process is automated and CNC technology operates the bending cell. CNC and PLC functions exchange information.

Access interpolation (movement of the bending blade) is configured in two ways. In circular mode the contact line of the blade and the material being bent remains constant while the contact point of the blade changes during the bending movement. This is achieved by NC interpolation of the two axes that operate blade movement (a curved movement).

Rolling mode provides optimum product quality, with a wider contact surface between the blade and the sheet created as the tool contact point is rolled along the surface of the sheet during bending. This eliminates the friction that may leave marks on the surface of the bent part.

Surface scratching of the job material is eliminated. An optional dedicated short blade is used for short bends, angles or many-sided parts. This is comprised of two NC carriages installed within the C-Frame structure for intricate jobs such as the building of small wings.

An integrated engraving unit provides grooves in the sheet for subsequent bending. Short sides are normally bent first, but a reverse bend option can change this sequence to accommodate bending of edges on larger sides. Special tools allow large-radius bends, tube profiles, wide inward bending and holding with the sheet while pressing blades. An automatic tool change option is available for fast change of upper tool dimensions.

A non-magnetic material separation option uses suction cups. Cups close to edges lift the edges for a better sheet separation, then compressed air is blown between them and additional steel brushes help separate the sheets. When required a negative last bend capability unloads a finished sheet via a carriage that pushes it out laterally.

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