Technological advancements are making today’s metal forming machines like press brakes faster and more efficient than ever. In most shops, these newer machines will be working hand-in-hand with older ones, making concerns about maximizing efficiencies and reducing bottlenecks ever-present in the minds of operators.

Canadian Fabricating & Welding recently put together an article outlining four steps you can take to better manage your press brakes (new and old) and ensure they perform their best. We’ve summarised their thoughts here for you:

1. Measure Average Setup and Bending Times

In order to maximize efficiency, operators need to have a precise understanding of what’s happening before and throughout the bending process.

Pay attention to what’s going on at each step. Do you find, for example, that you’re spending too much time searching for tools stored in long racks? If so, it might be time to switch to cabinets that can be located close to the press brake and house only the tooling for that specific machine. Using cabinets also allows operators to find what they need with less hassle, monitor inventory more vigilantly, and respond quickly when worn or damaged tooling needs to be replaced.

2. Adopt Lean Manufacturing Practices

Canadian Fabricating & Welding focuses specifically on 5S, a workplace organization methodology that helps you to identify and remove unnecessary items, keep areas clean and coordinated, and establish guidelines to standardize procedures.

In order, the principles of 5S are:

  • Sort
  • Set in Order
  • Shine
  • Standardise
  • Sustain

To boost efficiency even further for recurring jobs, consider establishing a set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) that encourage consistency, reduce setup time, and cut down on the amount of scrap you produce.

3. Organise Your Tooling

The two most common ways by which shops group their tools are:

  • Material thickness
  • Job type

Regardless of the route you choose, it’s important to stay consistent across the board. This will help you track tooling usage, and it will make it easier for operators to transition between jobs and machines.

4. Program Offline

Having offline programming capabilities will enable operators to program sequences without needing to be at the machine.

By simulating bending processes remotely, shops can:

  • Limit the number of tryout bends, since offline programming tools will be able to intuitively take into account the capabilities of your available tooling as well as make bend deductions.
  • Produce better quality blanks, which will mean easier and quicker setups.

By taking simple steps like these—analyzing setup and bending times, following lean manufacturing principles, properly organizing your tools, and exploring the benefits of offline programming—your shop can streamline the usage and management of its press brakes.

Westway Machinery is the Canadian leader in press brakes, distributing SafanDarley electronic press brakes and Baykal hydraulic press brakes to customers from coast to coast. Contact us to discuss your press brake needs

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