With highly productive CNC press brakes gaining more accepting and application in the sheetmetal fabrication market, many buyers have to make several important decisions to position their new technology.
One of these decisions involves determining which tooling system will be used in the new machine, according to Advanced Sheetmetal Technologies.
While it may seem logical to have the new machine equipped to utilise the style of tooling that was traditionally used by the business, making the decision to go with an older, outdated tooling system could prove to be very costly and might place severe limitations on the machines capabilities.
Due to its accuracy and speed of set-up, the European or Promecam style tooling system formerly represented the state of the art.
However, usage of this tooling system is now in a fairly severe state of decline worldwide due to the fact that most of the punches are fairly short in working height, thus limiting their versatility. In addition, the working surfaces of the punches and dies are often hardened to HRC-43 to 48, which provide an inferior level of wear resistance when compared to the more advances heat treatment processes that are currently available.
Other problems are encountered by way of it requiring a variety of costly die holders and die rails to utilise various die styles that are common to this tooling system.
These die holders and rails must also be removed from the press brake when using dies with large V-openings and hemming dies.
North American style press brake tooling has long been the commonly utilised tooling in North America. While versatile and easy to use, it too has its limitations. This includes the fact that the end user is limited to a narrow range of punches and die heights which limits versatility when forming deep parts and parts with long down flanges, as well as the capability of press brakes with large amounts of open height.
Most North American style tooling in use today is of the non-precision type and is produced on planer milling machines to a tolerance that is several times that of the press brake itself. Consequently, this compromises the machine’s accuracy, repeatability and overall productivity.
It also makes it difficult to take advantage of the flexibility and low tonnage requirements provided with precision air bending.
Due to its lack of precision, planer made press brake tooling cannot be reordered with any assurance that it will match the original tooling that was purchased.
North American style tooling is offered with a variety of working surface treatments. Much of it is soft and subsequently does not last very long. As punch tip radii and die shoulder radii break down, accuracy suffers and is often overcome by shimming the dies.
This leads to reduced productivity, lower part quality, and longer set-up times.
Options available to combat tooling wear include flame hardening of the working surfaces, which will provide longer tool life but can be highly inconsistent, coatings, which are only approximately 0.5mm deep and laser hardening which is approximately 1.0mm deep.
These processes work very well for so long as the treated area remains intact. However, any breach of the coated or laser hardened area will lead to rapid deterioration of the working surface in that area of the tool.
Today, the state of the art in press brake tooling technology is defined by the Wila new standard tooling system. This system is precision ground to a tolerance of +/- 0.01mm, making it the accurate press brake tooling system available.
Many punches are available in four different heights with tall being 200mm, enabling the operator to take maximum advantage of the machines open height and stroke length. Many new standard dies are available in heights of 55mm and 100mm.
Like all Wila press brake tooling the new standard tooling is CNC deep-hardened on the working surfaces to HRC-60 to a depth of 3.0mm making it the durable line of press brake tooling available.
When used with new standard clamping and crowning systems with hydraulic clamping, all Wila new standard tooling is clamped, seated, centred and aligned with the push of a single button and the need for die shimming is totally eliminated. This results in a drastic reduction in set-up time and eliminates the need for cumbersome, time consuming wrenches and levers.
All Wila punches are available with patented safety clicks making it possible to load and unload them vertically, eliminating the need to slide them in and out the end of the machine.
Finally, taller more versatile tooling profiles are flexible making it possible for the end user to use less tooling to produce a much wider variety of parts.